The best thing about teens and tweens is that they know everything and are unafraid to share their wisdom. My son doesn’t have a lot of thoughts on babies, but if you are struggling with a toddler at home, he has All The Answers. Just ask him.
At age 10, my oldest child had lots of ideas about how I should be running things at home. I once told him that I talked to a woman whose three sons do their own laundry from start to finish and the youngest of them was five. He replied, “You know what I wish? That you were less social.”
I thought it would be fun to get his take on all matters of parenting, and it was.
Luckily, he wrote down his sage advice so that we can benefit from it long after he forgets. He provides a year-by-year guide for parents raising children up to (but not including!) his own age, with my notes in the parentheses.
One-year old: I have no idea.
Two- to three-year olds: They need to have attention but incentives do not work on them. Tone of voice is good, but don’t yell. (When explaining this tip to me, he went through a chorus of silly voices that make good motivation for a toddler such as the sing-songy “Time to get our shoes on”)
Four-year olds: This is the kid graduation! He or she is now a kid. He/she can now have gum and play video games. One hour of video games is good. (At this age, we limited gaming to 20 minutes at a time, only on the weekends. Ha!)
Five-year olds: This is when you can get your kid to read by offering ten minutes of video games for every twenty minutes of reading. Math is incredibly important.
Six- and seven-year olds: Teach your kid some humor; go on a buying spree of joke books. 8:15 to 8:45 is a good range of bedtimes depending on how your kid gets up in the morning. (Um, that would be a full hour later than his own bedtime at this age!) Also set the stakes high by increasing video game time, but if they do something wrong, take away video games and desserts.
Eight- to nine-year olds: Get your kids active; build lots of dexterity and play board games and role-playing games. (I was wondering about physical activity and fitness, but he’s only ten, he can’t think of everything).
Overall: Make sure your children are humble and polite and love humor. That part was a joke, but I do love humor.
(I wish he were serious when he suggested humble and polite, then again I am a bit of a control freak and my big boy follows closely in those footsteps. Look out, little brothers!)