The crazy thing about kids is that they grow up. And sometimes it feels like their little lives just whizz on by. Of course those days are offset by the long, terrible stretches of sleepless nights, nursing strikes, picking eating marathons and never-ending cries of “Mommy!!!”
Related: It’s Okay Not To Love The Baby Stage
I am now at the stage where both my girls are comfortably in school. They are old enough to do most things on their own, and we can have real conversations. I LOVE this stage. I posted previously about how I feel like I know very little about raising daughters, despite being a daughter myself. Pop over and read that post to hear my struggles from then: Raising Girls – There’s So Much I Don’t Know!
Of course raising girls through the primary school years has it’s own set of challenges:
- Being at school means they are developing habits and routines I don’t necessarily know anything about. Yes, teachers are there to chat with, but I never see them. The girls take the bus to school in the morning, and then go to after school care at the end of the day. That means I rarely interact with any teachers to know what goes on during the day. And frankly that’s how it should be. My girls need independence from me (and their dad) to help them blossom and flourish into well-rounded people.
- Giving them freedom like I had as a young child is not as easy today. So many people feel that kids alone means immediate, and imminent, danger. I don’t subscribe to that philosophy, but I have to be careful – Children’s Aid has been called on people for simply allowing their young children to do the same things today that they did as a child. I REALLY don’t want to be labelled an “unsafe parent.”
- School lunches – they were the bane of my existence for a long time. Now we’re on fairly settled ground, but my girls don’t eat as well as I’d like them to at school.
- Bullying. The threat is real, and not being with them means I only ever get one side of the story. While I worry about them getting bullied, I also worry about them being bullies. I’m pretty sure neither is happening with my girls, but the day may come…
- Academics – learning seems to be different now. Emma brings home math that I don’t understand. Plus my added challenge is my girls are in French Immersion, so I get a little lost with the language! But I still try to support and help them as much as I can (without doing the homework for them, of course!)
Related: Is It Harder Now To Keep Kids Safe?
In my previous Raising Girls post I talked about a few things that were a struggle for me. The number one thing being HAIR. I’m happy to report that our hair brushing (and washing) struggles have settled down. We still only wash hair about once a week (for hair health, but also for lice deterrent!) but we can get hair brushed once or twice a day. And for both girls. Emma has learned to do her own hair, brushing and ponytails, so that is a HUGE help in the mornings.
Related: Head Lice – Every Parent’s Nightmare!
The other amazing change is bedtimes. Where we used to struggle so much as babies and toddlers, things have really settled down. Sure sometimes the girls fight the idea of going to bed, but it’s never so bad that we have to throw around real discipline. And now they “read” to themselves before going to sleep. I still read bedtime stories most nights (unless extra tv was bargained in place of a story from Mom) but it’s usually fairly short and they’re now happy for me to leave them with a goodnight kiss and a book to look at. If you asked me 2 years ago I would NEVER have guessed that this was coming so soon for me!
Related: Bedtime Routines In Our House
Do you have kids in the primary school years? Are they easier to deal with now – or harder? I know the homework business can get quite annoying, but I still am loving this stage of my daughters’ childhoods. I know full well we are quickly heading into the tween and teen years – which bring their own joys and struggles. Leave me some words of wisdom if you’re already there – or share with me what’s happening at whichever stage your children are in. I love connecting with my readers – the more you share, the better I can tailor my posts for you!
PS – Don’t forget to join me on this journey called life. You can jump onto my email list here and stay current with me, my daughters, and our busy life!
Your attitude is so positive – I love that. I’m older than you but many of my childhood routines are almost illegal now. Some things that are given up weren’t good but others were based in a time of more innocence. I like the idea of giving children independence when you can. #MMBC
Thanks for the kind words Carol! I hope I am raising my girls to be thoughtful, respectful and independent. It’s so hard to know if what you’re doing now will really make an impact for their future!
It’s lovely to see I’m not the only one dealing with primary aged girls. Luckily I have just the one daughter and two sons. My daughter like your daughters, gets the bus to school and theres bullying going on, but not sure what’s what, as like you I only get one side of the story!
I love to give my daughter independence but at the same time, I wish I could have her to myself all the time lol.
Great post by the way and I look forward to catching up next week! Linking by via #MMBC and a new blogger
Thanks Nikki! It’s a really tough balance, getting the independence and proper level of parenting in there. And I’m sorry to hear your daughter is seeing (or experiencing) bullying. It’s hard to let them go and experience these things sometimes, isn’t it?
I have left the primary school years behind — our kids are both in secondary school here outside Dublin, Ireland. I love the freedom of being able to write while they are in school, but there are plenty of worries dealing with this stage too. #GlobalBlogging
I’m sure the teenaged years bring lots of new challenges. I enjoy staying connected to people who are a bit ahead of me in life – gives me places to turn when new things crop up! I also love the “quiet” time when the girls are at school and I get to be at home. It’s rare, but it does happen!
I too try to let my kids have the same freedoms I had as a child and it’s so hard. I even took my boys on a driving tour of our town to show them the route I used to walk home from school… when kids were allowed to walk home from school. I was in Kindergarten walking with my 8 year old sister and we were fine because almost EVERYONE walked home from school. I think it’s kind of sad that we rarely see kids outside and never unattended or with an adult close at hand.
Forgot to add #FamilyFunLinky
I’m with you! Walking home from school was the norm when I was growing up. Now it seems that unless you live 3 houses from the school there’s a bus you can take. I don’t like that! I live in hope that I will inspire other parents to let go of their kids and send them outside to play (when they are ready and responsible enough) without parents hovering about. I’m doing it – you can too!
I’m in between these stages right now, an 18 year old leaving the nest and a 6 year old with no idea of the challenges that are up ahead. Its not easy #familyfun
Wow – I don’t envy you Jeremy. But you’ve been through it once already, so maybe you’ve learned a few things? I know every kid is different. That’s certainly the case in my house. I wish you luck with all your parenting stages!
I only have one daughter (and three sons) but I can relate to so much of your post, especially the hair brushing battles (she has it down to her waist at this stage!). I also enjoy their primary school years, but homework remains a major chore in our household.
Wow, that’s some long hair! And yes, homework…
I have read the book “Raising Girls” by Steve Biddulph – a very interesting read. As I am a mom of two girls – it has really opened my eyes in what happens at each stage of a girls life and how we as parents can help them develop in strong, confident and independent women.
I have not heard of that book Noleen – I’ll have to check it out! Thanks. 🙂
Forgot to add #globalblogging
I grew up with a lot of bullies in my life too, bullies at home, bullies at school, and bullies at work.. and after a while I noticed something about them. Bullies are really just weaklings trying to hide their own weaknesses by aggression. Bullies don”t understand their own emotions and so they bully because they are weak and feel threatened by anyone who seem to have it together and they want to bring anyone who seem stronger than them down to their level. Be proud you”re not weak like they are, it takes a lot of strength and courage to be kind and this world is so full of ignorant weaklings. If you can and as long as they don”t touch you, ignore and avoid them like the pests they are because their words have no meaning, they don”t know you, they just want to hurt you. Concentrate on improving yourself and don”t waste your attentions on them because that”s what they want. Bullies want attention and they want your reactions, once you stop giving that to them, they lose interest. I stopped wasting my attention and energy on negative people like bullies, they are energy vampires and they will exhaust you if you let them get to you. When you know your priorities, you can stop giving a sh*t and mentally block anyone who isn”t your friend off and anything they say is as good as your neighbor”s barking dog. Prioritize yourself and everything else is irrelevant.
I’m sorry to hear you were bullied. You have some great points in your comment. Thanks for sharing. 🙂
Sounds like you are doing a great job Jess! Your girls seem grounded and very independent. I have a 3 yr old and a 7 yr old so we are at different stages here. They need to stop growing up so fast, I know that much!
Thanks for sharing with #MMBC 🙂
They do grow fast, don’t they Jayne? Thanks for the kind words!
My son is 8 now and everything with him is so much easier now he’s more independent. He also loves going to bed with a book to read himself.
Thank you for joining the #FamilyFunLinky x
I feel it does get easier – though soon enough we’ll be moving into Tween and Teen years which have their own struggles! I love letting my kids read before bed It’s always something I’ve enjoyed doing!
I am always concerned by the lack of alone time kids have in this generation. People call the police when kids walk home from school alone! The thing is though, so many life lessons are learned through independence and it seems like the world wants to forget that fact. I admire all the parents who have the difficulty of raising kids in a very watchful world. #GlobalBlogging
I agree Heather. I’m hopeful we can shift the tides of parenting and childhood and let our kids get back to the more free and unfettered childhoods we had growing up. I think it’s ridiculous that people thinks kids can’t be alone outside, or go to the (close to home) park by themselves. How else do they grow, learn, and become independent, functioning adults?