Affirm their effort and encourage their pursuit of trying new things

572 weeks remaining…

In this enthusiastic phase, everything likely sounds fun to your second grader. Second graders are often an “up-for-anything bunch” that is always ready to go. Your kid is finally getting comfortable with their level of independence, but don’t take that as an invitation to disengage. There’s a lot happening in this phase that you don’t want to miss as your second grader is growing up faster than you ever dreamed.

Your second grader is starting to notice that “not everyone is like me.” They notice that kids look and act different from one another in distinct ways. Their peers are wired differently and may pursue different types of interests. Your second grader may be recognizing that they aren’t the “best” at everything. It’s important to emphasize that it’s okay for people to be different.

In this unique phase, your child is a beautiful blend of capable and dependent. Kids aren’t especially needy, yet they are still kids. Your second grader is still impressionable, enthusiastic, eager, and excited about what you are excited about. If you can convince them that something is fun, they’ll jump into it wholeheartedly.


  • Physically: They continue losing baby teeth. They grow approximately 3 inches and gain 7 lbs. in spurts, have improved hand/eye coordination, and need 10-11 hours of sleep a night.
  • Mentally: They can concentrate on one activity for up to 30 minutes. They can logically interpret cause and effect. They have a better understanding of time, learn through hand-on activities and problem solving, and begin to notice that others have different perspectives than they do.
  • Emotionally: They are better able to control their emotions and tend to be perfectionistic and embarrassed of failure. They thrive on routine and clear boundaries and are sensitive to harsh criticism/tone/body language.
  • Socially: They may struggle in competitive situations. They likely prefer independent work and alone time. They place high value on fairness and consistency. They may prefer to only play with friends of the same sex.


"Do I have what it takes?"

Your second grader wants to know they have what it takes to make the team, to get the grade, and to measure up to their own (and your) standards.


Participate with your child in a “stretch assignment” that requires grit, failure, and the building of resilience. The best option for your child is something that takes practice, aligns with their interests, and won’t be accomplished perfectly the first time.

  • Because you want the best for your kids, it can be difficult to know the difference between healthy protection and over-protection. It’s natural to want to keep your child from experiencing pain, sadness, and failure. When kids learn to fear failure, then their clearest and surest way to success has been blocked. It’s an unintended consequence of a loving motivation to care for your child.
  • The most important lessons in childhood come from setbacks, mistakes, and failures, which are exactly what teach kids resourcefulness, persistence, creativity, and resiliency.

Here are some ideas:

  • Do something difficult (e.g. run a 5k or obstacle race, go on a mission trip)
  • Learn a new skill (e.g. music, cooking, art, athletics)
  • Complete a challenge (e.g. do 100 sit ups, memorize a chapter of the Bible, raise $100 for charity)