Best of Both Worlds podcast: Elementary-Aged Kids, and the Ups, Downs, Wonders & Challenges

Between the two of us, Sarah and I have four kids in elementary school — which corresponds roughly to ages 6-10. In some ways, this is a golden age of childhood and parenting. The kids are old enough to be reasonably independent, but they haven’t yet hit the moody adolescent stage. However, like all ages and stages, this one has its challenges. In this week’s episode of Best of Both Worlds, we talk about the elementary years, including the topics of hobbies and interests, sibling rivalry, getting one-on-one time, homework, friend issues, screens, and more.

In this episode we also talk about a few of the Tranquility by Tuesday rules, and then in the Q&A section, a listener writes in with a frequent BOBW question. She is pondering having a third kid, but wonders if this will make life a lot more difficult. We discuss how to know if you’re “done” having kids. Bigger families can be more complex, though one of the reasons we started BOBW was to share the stories of women who do have big(ger) families and careers. It may not be easy, but it is possible.

Please give the episode a listen, and as always we appreciate your sharing the episode with friends!

10 thoughts on “Best of Both Worlds podcast: Elementary-Aged Kids, and the Ups, Downs, Wonders & Challenges

  1. You mentioned on the podcast YouTubers playing Minecraft and how suitable the language is for kids. I have found that watching 5 – 10 mins of a YouTuber you can tell if they are kid friendly language or not. We have a list of allowed YouTubers and they know that they have to ask permission to watch anyone not on the list and either mammy or daddy has to check them out with them. We also have kids YouTube accounts for both of them which means no adult themed ads! Minecraft YouTubers we have found to be particularly good for this age group are grian, mumbo jumbo, and logdotzip. But definitely check out each YouTuber before letting them go on the list.

    1. @Kirsty- thanks for the YouTuber recommendations. I’ve also just generally been trying to encourage my 7-year-old to watch more scripted TV shows. Some of them are inane, but at least there’s a story and character development!

    2. It’s the auto play that’s problematic, and the commercials. We let ours watch Mark Rober and Backyard Scientist (which we’ve all watched together multiple times), but then some other guy comes up and there’s subtly racist or sexist language or there’s a semi-violent promo for a TV show.

  2. Re: the question about family size, I can say that I feel 100% certain that 2 kids is the right amount for us, and my husband feels the same way. So it is possible to feel VERY sure about your family size. Our youngest is only 18m but it’s hard to imagine my feelings changing. I knew pretty early on after having my first that I wanted a 2nd. And we had planned/hoped for 2 kids. I did have kids later in life though – #1 at age 37, #2 at almost 40. Maybe if I started younger I would have felt differently but I kind of doubt it! Before we had our 2nd, I would see pregnant women and think “awww, how exciting!” Now I see pregnant women and think THANK GOD THAT IS NOT ME. But I had really really hard and complicated pregnancies so that is another factor in our decision to stop at 2.

    1. @Lisa – I started young, but I ended old. I guess that’s the reality of 5 kids! My last pregnancy was pretty rough though so I see how that can change the calculation.

  3. Re: question on family size, we debated having a third and now with three feel absolutely complete, no thoughts of any more kids and so happy. My “light bulb” moment was when a coworker told me they were expecting their third and had about same age as my family and I felt jealous and wanted to be the person telling people we were having a third. We had thought about it a while and logistics seemed challenging but if thinking about it a lot, you will always wonder. I didn’t want to look at families of five forever and be wistful but once baby #3 was on the way, I knew it would be the last time for everything which is a very sweet feeling that helps you really enjoy more of the moments.

  4. I think the harder question – as Laura mentioned – is what to do when one partner wants another child and one doesn’t! You can’t compromise and have half a kid =) I wanted a third, but my husband was very clearly done at two. It was really hard for me about a year but I’ve slowly made my peace with it. I really didn’t want him to resent me or #3 every time something was hard, and I wanted to respect the fact that he was able to articulate how overwhelmed he sometimes feels with two and his desire NOT to exacerbate that by adding to the madness. But…I still think about it. I think I am one of those people who will always be a little sad at never being pregnant or having a newborn again. (Babies are the best!)

    1. @KGC – this would be rough and it is true that there is no real compromise. I know that marriages have ended over one party wanting zero and the other wanting at least one, but once you have more than one kid, you have to reach an agreement together and someone will not get what they want.

  5. I appreciated your story about their grown up vocabulary and little kid emotions. Same here!
    We really struggle with getting him to be more independent. We only have one kid, six years old. When you only have 1, it’s a little harder to force the independence issue – I’m not juggling a toddler on my hip, so I can fill up his juice instead of insisting he do it himself – and in fact, he’s not great at pouring juice, so I’m probably saving myself a mess. And when I do insist, for instance that he get out the peanut butter and bread, there’s resistance at every turn.

    And it’s really hard to draw boundaries; without siblings, parents are the playmates, and while we try to schedule play dates, it’s tough being in a new town and coming out of the pandemic. It’s hard for me to say, No, I need some quiet alone time now. (He loves hanging out with me – how can I deny that cute face?) There’s all these articles out there about how to draw boundaries and taking time for yourself, but they are written as if parents are logical robots. Setting boundaries and saying no is painful and hard and exhausting and you have to do it everyday and listen to the whining every day, and I feel guilty because all he wants to do is play with me and how many years left do I have of him wanting to play with me, etc. etc. (But then I’m spent and I blow up because he won’t stop doing something weird like liking my hair after the third time I asked him to stop…) And the advice articles out there just make me feel like it’s all my own fault and that if you’re just clear and consistent enough and say the right things, kids will naturally fall in line.

    And the third challenge for us is the sass. I know they do it just to be funny and they are trying on different hats and it’s developmentally appropriate, etc., but I keep thinking of my third grade teacher who made a boy eat a bar of soap…
    It’s been a long week 🙂

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