24 answers

My Seven Year Old Boy Is Typical?

I'm trying to figure out how to handle my seven year old boy and get more positive results! We're home for summer and it's a struggle to find things we both like to do. He'd be happy if we did something physical every minute of the day, ride bikes, swim, build something, roller skate, etc. I have a baby and a six year old too, so I'm tired! I love my boy, he's a wonderful mix of quiet, imaginative kid and busy busy body, tormenting his sister. How can I make our days fun without overscheduling, and how can I stop yelling all the time for him to stop bugging his sister? I'm hoping there are other moms who have a full house who might have some great tips for helping me understand and love my boy better. Do I need to wrestle with him more? He loves that. Any advice would be great. Help! Is this typical?

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So What Happened?™

Thanks Autumn! Yes, tee-ball just finished. Maybe we'll find another sport! You all had such great responses, THANK YOU!!

Featured Answers

Dear J.,

When you find the answers, let me know!!!! My son is 19 and broke my heart when he moved out last fall to live on campus . . . but he moved back home in May, and we're still learning how to live together again! When he's bored, he has to start bugging the rest of us (me and sisters, 17 and 15) for excitement . . . He's going to live at home this year, but maybe it'll get better when school starts and his time and mind are occupied more . . .

GOOD LUCK!!!
B.

I also have a very active 7 year old and a 20 month old. We got some work books from walmart and teaching supply stores like lakeshore learning. He does at least 1 page from each book, every day, except for weekends. I got math, writing, and things like that. He also has to do 2 chores around the house before he gets any tv time. He usually runs the sweeper vac and unloads the dishwasher. It really calms him down believe it or not! And then I do have more time to spend with the kids! Good luck!

More Answers

Well, he sounds like an active boy, and imo, that's a good thing! Can you plan playdates for him with boys he really likes? Maybe an afternoon here and there at your home, and hopefully reciprocated w/a few afternoons at friend's homes. What about sports camps? Parks and Recs usually offer half day camps for kids his age, and he'd probably thrive in one of those, if not an all day camp. Scooter's Jungle and places like that usually have a free play one day a week where for a nominal fee you can take your kids to play. Can you join a community pool in your area? If not, can you take them to a public pool for a few hrs. of swimming at least once a week? Your son sounds like he needs structure---why not try to plan a schedule (with lots of room for variance) for your day, incorporating free play on their own, with each other and with you, along with one outing every day?? Keep in mind the library offers many, many free programs, and it certainly wouldn't hurt to have your son sit down and read for 20 minutes, and afterwards, you can read to them for 20 minutes! Use your imagination and schedule in playdates, fun outings, etc., to forestall that boredom!

Your son is completely normal. Sounds like some play dates w/ other boys his age who like to do rough and tumble stuff would help. Let everyone know your general area and maybe there are other moms out there who'd like you meet you and your kids with the idea of trading off kids swap boys vs girls. Another idea is to try and find physical activities he can do while you watch from the sideline (so you and the baby can relax a bit.
I have to 2 girls 9, 6 and despite being same sex they are polar opposites. Since I work during the summer, the active one goes to day camp and the sedentary one sits at work with me and reads books (I teach high school summer school and can bring her along luckily). We meet back up around 3 and all go to swim lessons (I sit on the side and read).

Sounds exactly like my 8 yr old son. I have a 4 yr old daughter who is not like that, but his hyperness (and he does not have ADHD) sometimes winds HER up. Cute, but not cute when they start pummeling each other (in fun) and someone gets hurt.

First, there is a wonderful book by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka called SPIRITED CHILD: A GUIDE FOR PARENTS WHOSE CHILD IS MORE INTENSE, SENSITIVE, PERCEPTIVE, PERSISTENT & ENERGETIC.
http://www.parentchildhelp.com/

She has a chapter in there that was eye-opening about Introverts and Extroverts and their needs. It really helped me understand and accept (that wasn't so hard for me) my son. It was so helpful!!!!

Since he was 4, I signed in up in a variety of summer day camps, thinking he would flourish, would love it... I was wrong. They were so-so for a number a reasons. I thought he would easily make friends. Not. This year was the first time he (months ago informed me) he would NOT be trying any more camps. Damn. Not even the great, affordable, parks & Rec 3 hours, 1 week LEGO camp (I already did it mom).

Sooo, I'm setting up playdates with kids on the block (thank goodness they are around) and trying to mix it up with other outtings. THursday is our weekly BEACH DAY where we meet friends (annual tradition I started 3 yrs ago). All of us parents LOVE it. It's a WONDERFUL activity if the parent is TIRED b/c all you have to do is sit on your tush all afternoon while you watch them play in the sand and surf. Easy as pie. Setting up the picnic and packing the car is the only hard part (and dealing with the interruptions as they fight) but if you are organized, you can do it fast and quick. Just give it some thought. Tuesday is usually a field trip (Hollywood Summer Sounds or a water park). Wed pm a sitter. Etc... So I'm trying to mix it up.

He also has been telling me that he "misses me" all year he was in elementary school. So I'm trying to find things all of us can do we enjoy.

Hi J., have you considered a fun summer camp. That way he can be as physcial as he needs to be. I know it sounds scary to send your child off but, the camps are filled with people who are either parents or poeple who are kid friendly. They are trained to deal with over active kids. Good luck. S.

Give him jobs to do and reward him with more things to do - like a special movie out with mom or dad if he does X,Y,Z.

Our 5 year old son is so use to being stimulated at school, that this summer has been hard. He's not use to any down-time, which actually bothers me. When I need to change a diaper, I ask him to grab a diaper and wipes. He helps with the laundry, sorting it, emptying the dishwasher, vacuuming. These are all life skills that he needs. I don't want my son to be a lazy husband someday, expecting women to do everything. He's bugging his sister because he's bored and wants attention...so give him important jobs for the family and give him reward time with mom alone and dad alone. My son earns enough gold coins we reward him with and he can chose how to "spend" them. Very frequently, he uses them to spend 4 hours go-karting alone with his dad.

I went to Staples and grabbed workbooks for him. He loves mazes and is entering 1st grade, but is doing 2nd grade workbooks. He's also doing summer school from 8-11am 4 days a week, TaeKwonDo 3 days a week and swimmming 1 day each week.

I can't say whether he is normal, but your description of him would probably have fit me at that age. Best advice: use your physical size and weight superiority to wear him out. Take him down, sit on him and tickle him till he can hardly breath. Horse around with him in ways that don't wear you out but gives him the attention he craves.

I have a busy 7yo son and a high-maintenance 4yo daughter. The relationship you described with your children sound very familiar, except my daughter taunts my son to increase the conflicts. I manage it with a schedule and setting expectations. It includes structured playtime, free play time, chores, and quiet time (reading, writing in journal, etc.). Sometimes, if their behavior is way out of hand, I have to increase quiet time in separate rooms. The schedule takes time to get off the ground and behaviors don't change right away. But, as long as I stick to privileges after chores, etc. then they learn to meet my expectations. If they know what to expect, they respond appropriately.

To manage the behavior your son has toward you daughter may be to configure some sort of reward system. You can give him a star for each time you see him treating his sister as you expect, but you can also take them away if he's treating her poorly. After he earns a certain number of stars he gets extra playtime with you or a special outing or some other reward.

One other suggestion may be to get your son into outside activities. I live in Long Beach and there are a lot of FREE opportunities for drop off activities/programs. They are excellent for providing lots of fun and games for children ages 6 and older. Or, there are ample opportunities for local summer camps...for sports (and not just the traditional ones like soccer and baseball), science, art, writing, etc. etc. etc. Some of them even offer scholarships.

Regardless of what you choose to do, I wish you good luck and patience this summer. Hang in there!

First off mom he is old enough to have some chores to do around the house, of coarse this way he earns his outings, and gains responsabilites. Choose the days for home play and outings, if he can not behave at home then he loses time on his outings, he is doing it on purpose to drive you nuts, smart boy he is, knows how to push the button to drive mom nuts. Set time aside for you , when the other kids go down for a nap, he should be in his room coloring quietly, or laying on his bed, won't hurt him, although mom, if you dont set strick rules on your quiet time, then you won't get it.

I love playdough kids can paly with it for ever. if you have out of state relatives have him make a picture to send to them . Only one per day or week. Have him practice doing math or spelling give him homework, tell him that by doing this he will be smarter than all the other kids, write down on a paper 20 words, he has to write each one three time, hide things in the house have him search for it, while you rest on the couch, freezing his own popcycles are fun to do with koolaid or juice, I used to let my daughter play with this junk drawer of mine I just gather a bunch of stuff she hadn't seen , she sat there for hours playing with it.

Good Luck !!!

What about a day camp? Check with your local rec. department. I went to an overnight camp one week a summer and then got too old to go so I got a job there! Worked there for 5 summers, learned a ton and one of the best things my parents did for me. In fact when mine are old enough I plan on sending them to the same camp in Monterey (my folks are still in Monterey). If you think he is ready for overnight camp look into that too. But 7 might not be ready for that so look into day camps.

I know that the YMCA has day camp that is reall fun for kids, at least it was when I was a kid (my brother and I went to y-camp in Burbank for many summers.) It sounds like he's bored, you need to enroll him in some classes, swimming, karate, whatever you can find that is in your area and is affordable. It might be beneficial for your daughter too. His behavior sounds well within the range of normal.
Good luck!

Hi J.,

I have a seven year old daughter who is very active, so I really relate.......I do schedule lots of playdates for her over the summer, but I also explain to her (over & over again) that my job is to help her become the best grown up she can be...and part of that is letting her figure out on her own how to spend her time when she says she is bored.

I do play with her, of course, but do not see it as my job to entertain her.......and, when she asks me for stuff, I play our theme song "You don't always get what you want" by the rolling stones.

wow, i can really relate! my boy has been a go-getter from the second he was born. didn't REALLY talk until he was almost 3, but he could hit a ball that was thrown to him at 1 1/2! very physically oriented. here's what i did... 1. walks : preferably @ the zoo or the park where he could run around & play w/other kids (this would be good for you, the 6yr old AND the baby, too!) 2. an age appropriate basketball hoop (u can find one for a reasonable price @ a yard sale or in the penny saver) 3. crafts (sidewalk chalk and/or a painting easel work wonders!) 4. exercise (i would challenge my boy to see how many jumping jacks, jumping rope he could do) 5. pogo stick (the squeaking of the coils can get on your nerves, but it's worth it if you can just sit & feed the baby, or read a book to your 6yr old) 6. organized sports (i've had my boy in baseball since he was 5yrs old since that's what he had shown aptitude for. be aware, though that you have to do a lot of shuttling him to practices/games) 7. other boys in the neighborhood (any friends that he can hang out with once in a while? you can always return the favor to the other parents - somehow it's actually easier to have a friend over, since they occupy each other)..... even if you only implement a few of these suggestions, i think it would relieve you a bit. also, maybe post a chart with a reasonable time table (family time, 7yr old time, 6yr old time, baby time, mommy time *does 'mommy time' REALLY exist?! haha* anyway, i hope this helps you - good luck to ya!

You are such a lucky LADY to have those wonderful kids! I too worked from home as an animation artist and had the same problem many times. I liked what Janette wrote in her advice to you (Keep the kids busy, etc - and the great website she recommended looks great for activities). Another thing that might be fun too is to keep track of their good behaviors and activities by a sticker chart. I have a website with some ideas you just print out so it's easier for you. It's called gomommygo.com (help with behavior issues, etc):
http://www.gomommygo.com/
My 7 kids are all grown now, so I can truly say, "Take my advice, I'm not using it!"
I wish you the best!
R.

He sounds like a boy who needs a lot of physical activity & is excited by it, which is great! Do you have him in sports? It sounds like he would love working on a team with other boys his age who can run & jump and get their energy out all together!!

Whether you want to accept it or not, your 7 and 6 year olds need structure. They have become accustom to the structured activity of the school day and it is a disservice to them to get them out of the routine. There are many 1/2 and full day "summer camp" programs available through the YMCA which my daughter loved every summer. She not only met new friends and honed her social skills, she also learned how to swim and was exposed to music, dancing, and crafts that she would never been exposed to during regular school as well as kept up with ther reading and math. I didn't put her in a day camp program until she was 8 and I really truly regret it... I highly encourage you to check it out for both the 7 and 6 year olds. You won't be sorry.

I also have a very active 7 year old and a 20 month old. We got some work books from walmart and teaching supply stores like lakeshore learning. He does at least 1 page from each book, every day, except for weekends. I got math, writing, and things like that. He also has to do 2 chores around the house before he gets any tv time. He usually runs the sweeper vac and unloads the dishwasher. It really calms him down believe it or not! And then I do have more time to spend with the kids! Good luck!

It sounds to me like he needs less structure and a little old fashion running around.
In our world of "playdates" and "day camps" we forget that children need unstructured time to be creative and just have fun. My son is 8 and in his younger years we had plenty of children running around and they did-house to house and doing whatever they fancied at the moment-we all couldn't have been happier. As he got older other moms wanted scheduled dates and events-it was a scheduling nightmare and so much work. This summer he has a best friend and three other boys in the neighborhood. They ride bikes, climb trees, roller skate and play cars and trains roaming between houses and having a blast. None of us is stuck with 5 boys all day and the boys get to be boys and don't wear any of us out.
Beware it took some convincing to get the other moms on board with dropping the schedule, but we all agree it is so much better now. And we are better friends because we are constantly in touch keeping track of where they are going now and we have to help each other. It has created a community instead of a day planner.
If all else fails give it a try.

I have 6 & 3 yr old boys and 2 month old twin boys still in the hospital because they were premature. I work from home doing accounting. The 1st week after school ended they drove me crazy because they were constantly bickering over everything. So I finally put them on a schedule. In the morning before it gets too hot, I take them outside to play basketball or ride their scooters. Then, I print activities from a website www.enchantedlearning.com. My boys are hyper and prefer to jump and run around, but they like to do the mazes, connect the dots and fun worksheets for math and writing. "I Spy" books also keep them occupied. Then we have lunch. After lunch we watch a movie. I rent them from the library which is free so they have something different to watch every couple of days. After the movie they get a snack and then they can play inside with their toys or play a little outside before dinner. And twice a week I give them an art project to work on. This schedule gives me time to do my work and also have fun with them. Hopefully we can stick to this schedule once the twins are home, but I know things will be much more hectic. Good Luck!

Sounds just like my grandson. Can a dog figure in anywhere? The team sports idea is great! We walked a lot!!! Maybe room for a trampoline? Can friends come over? My grandson started playing team sports and he is very good. It can take up a lot of time also, you have to go to the games and practices!!

Dear J.,

When you find the answers, let me know!!!! My son is 19 and broke my heart when he moved out last fall to live on campus . . . but he moved back home in May, and we're still learning how to live together again! When he's bored, he has to start bugging the rest of us (me and sisters, 17 and 15) for excitement . . . He's going to live at home this year, but maybe it'll get better when school starts and his time and mind are occupied more . . .

GOOD LUCK!!!
B.

How about a day camp? They have camps for swimming, cooking, basketball. Maybe it's worth the investment. good luck:)

I know you have already gotten a lot of advice and are probably quite happy with what you have. I'd like to offer a few small ideas. Have a skating party in your kitchen. (Put socks in warm soapy water then have them skate around the floor.) Do a relay race. (Put one arm full of laundry into the washer then run back and do it again until you have loaded the washer. You could also have them sort by color for you.) Let them fly kites. (One sheet of construction paper, holes punched around the edge and yarn threaded through.) Of course wather play is also a great way to tire them out. Even just a few water bottles will work.

I wish you the best of luck. It is hard to manage with so many responsibilities.

Hi J.,

I would look into sports, and how about play dates? Get him together with other boys his age, either at your house or theirs. I have a daughter that's now 15, and she had been very needy with having to be entertained all the time. She has 2 big sisters, and a little brother, and drove my son crazy. I found that when she was with her friends on play dates, it worked out wonderful! Hope this helps!

Take Care,
S.

Yes, he is typical. I had three sons. I found taking them to the park or beach/pool in the afternoon...they knew we would go would help them behave in the morning. My sons also had swim lessons which helped wear them out. You can do this with another mom who has children about your children's agae. As I had a relatively small back yard, we did this a lot. My youngest was also 5 years younger than the middle one.

Have a friend over for him. I know it makes an extra child, but if the weather is nice, they will play outside together. They do need this unstructured time. When it was rainy sons liked to play with army men...they would put them all over the family/living room and then shoot them with pellet guns that didn't hurt the furniture (depends how you feel about guns, but I found my sons made them of sticks so I gave up on the no guns since everyone in the neighborhood had them) Need to be checked on, but you can give your daughter some playdough or coloring paper while you work so she is not in their way.

Go to the library and pick out books for them. Read to them...it is not as tiring as chasing them, slows them down for a bit and Lilly should play on the floor or a play pen while you do this.

Have the older children play in bathing suits in the backyard with various strainers, squirt bottles, etc. or paint. Sidewalk chalk is fun.

Enjoy them...I know it is a rather busy time, but I miss it now:) Whatever you do, don't resort to the TV or computer. All children need active activities and time for being creative.

A few chores in the morning so they can help you be ready to get out in the afternoon also helps. Load/unload dishwasher, sort socks and underpants, fold towels, empty waste baskets,help you prepare a supper that just will need to be microwaved when you get home (I did this because we like to stay at the beach late and then I didn't have to cook afterwards)..a few things my sons helped with.

Enjoy this time even though it is very busy...my mom told me this when I complained to her one time...and she was right:) I miss doing things with them now that they are older. Time goes by too fast.
H.

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