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Help, My Child Is a Schleen!

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I currently have an 8-year-old daughter who is going through some behavioral changes. She is a second-grader who is starting to exert her authority, question adult comments and ignore adults when asked to do something. On the positive side, she is taking more responsibility for herself and others around her. Sounds like pre-teen behavior to me, but she is not.

According to Wikipedia, a pre-teen starts at age 11 or 12 and classifies kids close to becoming teenagers. The next category down is called school-aged kids which is classified from ages five to 10. This seems like a wide range to me so I have classified a new group, “schleen.” (Or a cross of school-aged and pre-teen age) in the age range of seven to 10. I have found a good description of traits for this in-between schleen age on WebMd.com If you too are seeing a shift in your older school-aged children out of the elementary school stage and into the beginning of a pre-teen stage, read below. I have added my own observations after these traits:

Opinionated: These children are getting a sense of their own place in the world and are developing stronger interests and opinions of their own. I have noticed this lately with our own child. While I welcome her to have her own personality, I have reminded her lately that we still need to be respectful to others with a different viewpoint and parents. On the flipside, I have been letting her pick out for own clothes (see photo) within reason and make decisions that I feel are age-appropriate.

Think They Are A Parent: Your child will start using more sophisticated language to describe things and experiences and will be able to hold a more mature conversation. For my child this statement rings true for sure. She thinks sometimes she is the parent since she knows more than her younger sisters. I have to remind her while she is older, she is still not the parent. I have instead given her chores and other tasks that the younger siblings do not get to do to match her sophistication level, but want her to understand that she is still the child.

Empathize With Others: Children at this age begin to understand how someone else feels in a situation and may emphasize with them. This was an interesting point. I have noticed our daughter start to console her younger siblings and help them if they are hurt. While I appreciate this new caregiver attitude, I have also reminded her to come to me or her dad if someone needs assistance first. Again, I want her to understand that she is growing up, but not the parent.

Physical Development: You will probably notice that your child has lost much of their childhood clumsiness and their movements become more graceful and controlled. Your child can now do things like changing direction while running, throw more accurately and jump or climb better. At this age children revel in rough-and-tumble play such as chasing, wrestling and mock fights. They can better participate in organized sports. This is an interesting point. I’m sure every child is different, but mine is still fairly clumsy, but the part about organized sports is very true. I have enrolled her in more sports lately since she has the interest and the skill level to match, which is a win-win situation for both of us.

Hygiene and More: This age group can dress, brush their teeth and do their hair without help. Children at this age often love to help with cooking, and children’s tool kits may be popular toys. This was an interesting point as well since without saying anything, she has started to do her own hair and put her earrings in herself.

Speech: Language is becoming more fluid using all speech sounds including consonant blends (like the sounds in ‘thistle’), complex sentences with few grammatical errors and good control of rate, pitch, and volume. Language is generally polite and includes phrases like ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ when appropriate, but may be increasingly influenced by peers. I'm not sure if other readers can relate, " but I think she gets into a "school-mode" sometimes and I have to remind her after she comes home of using manners and watching her tone of voice.

Do you have a child in this age range going through a shift in attitude or ability to perform certain tasks? What have been your experiences? Please comment below. I would love to hear your perspective.

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