Ages 8 - 10

Big Kids

Best. Age. Ever.

We won’t tell the other ages if you won’t. But seriously: They’re still young enough to want to hang out with us, but old enough to get their own snacks. They’re becoming more independent thinkers and coming into their own. It’s an exciting time to watch them grow.

Here’s What’s Going On

Your big kid is probably ready to start keeping themselves organized, have a little more independence (safely, of course), build their study skills, and use technology, too.

In third grade, they’ll move out of the “learning-to-read” phase of school and fully into the “reading-to-learn” phase. That means they’re going to be expected to get information from texts across subjects, and hopefully they’ll be reading for pleasure, too. It’s a big transition—but exciting, too!

What to Focus On

How to Help Your Big Kid

3 Ways to Support Your Child’s Development at Home


Encourage the development of their interests. They’re starting to figure out who they are and what they’re passionate about—and that passion for dinosaurs or soccer or painting might be fleeting, or it might be long lasting. Give them plenty of space to explore different activities, and look for opportunities to expose them to new things when you can, too. It’s still a great time to test drive sports or other activities they haven’t tried before. By the time they get to middle school, it can become intimidating to try new activities, because more advanced skills might be required to participate.


Keep reading together. It might seem like reading aloud to your kid is only for the early years, but there’s no reason to stop now. Choose books you both enjoy. Take turns reading. Rameisha Johnson, one of our veteran Navigators and mom to a high schooler, recommends reading the books they’re assigned at school, too, so you can talk about them together. Consider reading in different contexts, too—if you used to read before bed, try reading a family book over dinner, listening to an audiobook in the car, or having family reading time where everyone reads independently.


Give them a study space. Their space doesn’t have to be large or fancy. But ideally it should meet a few criteria: It’s quiet (or can be, at least some of the time), and free from distractions like TV. It should have a desk or table, a chair, and a lamp. It should have a spot for some containers and other organizational tools so they can create a system that works for them. And if possible, let them add something cozy or inspiring—whatever helps them get their work done! For more ideas, check out our learning space checklist.

It's time to

Start Planning for Summer

Yes, now. While it's still cold out. Whether you plan to send your kid to summer camp, have them hang out with a sitter or family member, or do something else, now is the time to start thinking about it all—because if you do want to register for any kind of activities or childcare, sign-ups often happen well in advance of summer. Here's our easy-peasy guide to summer planning to get you started. As a first step, check your school year calendar so you know exactly when school lets out (and when it starts again in the fall). Once you know which weeks you need to fill with something, you can start the fun (?) part of actually figuring out what to do with your child.

What’s Next For Your Child's School Journey


(Ages 11-13)

Middle School Ahoy!

The middle school years are right around the corner. That might mean a looming school transition, and even if it doesn’t, it still means more independence and responsibility, more challenging school work, and more intense out-of-school activities. You’re also about to watch your kid become even more of their own person. Raising a human is many things, but it’s never boring.

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