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Turning 6: How to Transition Your Little One into Becoming a Big Kid

It’s time to put on your big boy pants! I’m sure you have heard this at some point in your life during a time of great challenge. You might have heard it from a coach or from a friend offering some tough love. We all go through phases where the road gets tough and it is easier to whine about the problem than face it. Those are the times when we are harshly advised to put on our big boy pants.

Of course, that expression comes from the very real world event of a child coming of an age where more is expected. There are a few milestones that come around age six that make it a good time for your child to start putting on their big boy pants. That doesn’t mean it is time for them to start driving a car or running the family business. But it does mean that they are not a baby any more. They no longer get a pass for doing baby things. There are various maturation moments that converge around that time. Here are a few that will require guidance from you:

Stop Thumb Sucking

You very likely started your training at around 3. That is a good age to start the process of stopping your child’s thumb sucking habit. Those efforts need to be successful no later than 6 because there are some nasty consequences such as oral deformities when thumb sucking is allowed to go unchecked. Correcting those deformities can be invasive and expensive.

If you are still having trouble making progress, search for the most effective thumb sucking device prevention method and give it a try. These devices work surprisingly well for many people. While there is no one size fits all solution, start with the ones that are highly reviewed. It is important enough to get involved. If you are still having trouble after age 6, consult your pediatric dentist.

First Bicycle

You were probably around 6 when you got your first bicycle. Your child will likely be coordinated enough to learn to ride when she is 6. But there are a few things to know before buying a kids bicycle:

  • What size bicycle to buy and how adjustable is it
  • Does it come with training wheels
  • Does your child have a safe place to practice and ride
  • Is your child responsible enough to take care of a bike

Part of responsibility is not dashing out into traffic and staying where it is safe. Another part of responsibility is basic maintenance. Teach them what to do if the chain slips or if a tire gets too soft. See to it they park the bike in the garage and not abandon it in the middle of the sidewalk.

Of course, the biggest part of responsibility is safety. Your child needs to put on a helmet before touching the bicycle. For less experienced riders, that safety gear should also include knee pads and elbow pads. At first, you will be there and watching at all times. Eventually, you start letting them ride their bike to a friend’s house nearby, then school. Locks and backpacks enter the equation. Your child will grow with their first bike. And with the right adjustability, their first bike will grow with your child. Take it in stages. A first bike is a big deal.

School

From the first bike to the first grade is a big step that often happens in the same year. Your kid will be enrolled into a proper public school and spend the day in an environment away from home. It can feel a little like sending your kid off to college. It is a very emotional and challenging moment for both of you. Thankfully, that only lasts a day or two. After that, it’s just school. That said, this is where your child will hone their social skills. They will learn to fit in and mix with children who look and act differently from them. They will learn about time management and conflict resolution. At this stage, they take a huge step toward becoming the person they are going to be.

At 6, your kid is still a kid. But she is also growing up very fast. Help her through the process, by training her to abandon baby habits, acclimate her to her first bicycle, and transitioning to 1st grade.

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