J.J. asks from Sun Valley, CA on July 02, 2008
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?
So What Happened?™
Thanks Autumn! Yes, tee-ball just finished. Maybe we'll find another sport! You all had such great responses, THANK YOU!!
B.M. answers from Los Angeles on July 05, 2008
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 . . .
H.I. answers from Los Angeles on July 04, 2008
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!
S.C. answers from Los Angeles on July 04, 2008
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!
T.F. answers from Los Angeles on July 04, 2008
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.
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.
S.C. answers from Las Vegas on July 04, 2008
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.
J.P. answers from Los Angeles on July 04, 2008
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.
G.F. answers from Los Angeles on July 04, 2008
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.
S.T. answers from Los Angeles on July 04, 2008
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!
T.M. answers from Los Angeles on July 04, 2008
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 !!!
J.C. answers from Los Angeles on July 03, 2008
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.