Help them develop the habit of responsibility
520 weeks remaining…
Third grade is a year of beautiful discovery and soul-shaping challenges. Third graders often have a naturally optimistic outlook, which is helpful in a year when they face educational challenges.
One of the best things about third graders is their understanding of right and wrong. Fairness matters. Your third grader is still very much a concrete thinker, seeing rules and infractions as black and white. They are eager to know what is right, yet they typically still believe what you say is true. These are great opportunities to instill important family values.
You have a great opportunity to cultivate a sense of responsibility in your child. One of the best ways to make a kid responsible is to give them something significant to own themselves.
Your third grader gets to begin developing their work ethic as they make a difference in this world. As you do chores and schoolwork, you can talk about the value of hard work and how good it feels to see what you’ve done. Look for ways to shape their character as you go about doing things that make a difference.
HOW YOUR CHILD IS DEVELOPING IN THIS PHASE
- Physically: Physical development (height and weight) continues, as does their hand/eye coordination. They play hard, tire quickly, benefit from short breaks, and need 10-11 hours of sleep.
- Mentally: They can concentrate on one activity (typically up to 30 minutes). They are increasingly aware of the feelings of others. They begin to recognize patterns and symbolism. They are reading to learn or for enjoyment. They have a highly definitive perspective (they think things are either right or wrong). They use tangible objects to help them think and solve problems.
- Emotionally: They tend to be enthusiastic, energetic, and impatient. Overall, they feel more independent and confident. They develop their sense of humor with riddles, magic tricks, and jokes. They need to experience moderate challenges and success.
- Socially: They enjoy cooperative group activities and place a high value on fairness and consistency. They start to gather in larger friend groups and respond to peer pressure.
THE PRIMARY QUESTION YOUR CHILD IS ASKING IN THIS PHASE
“Do my actions affect others?”
As your third grader shifts their self-focus toward becoming more socially aware, they begin recognizing the consequences of actions and decisions and how that impacts other people.
YOUR BEST NEXT STEP DURING THIS PHASE
Give your child increased responsibility in the following areas:
- Daily responsibilities and household chores. Here’s an example of a Responsibility Daily Checklist that you can print out and customize for your child.
- Money management. Label 3 jars as “spend, save, and give” to help kids learn what to do with their money.
- Community. Being thoughtful and kind to neighbors.
- Education. Empower your child to manage their own backpack and homework. Encourage them to solve their own problems at school instead of facilitating for them (e.g. not rescuing them when they forget their lunch, get a bad grade, or forget their books at school).
- Spiritual. Give your child ownership in how they personally connect with God. Give them the tools and education they need to initiate their own spiritual development.
- Taking care of your things. Encourage your child to be mindful in how to track and care for the belongings that have been given to them. When traveling, empower your child to carry and manage their own personal items.