When you have a lot of kids, even when they are close in age, a time comes when they are suddenly all at very different stages of life. This year especially feels like one of those times.
This September I have 6 kiddos going in 6 very different directions. I have two living away from home at University, I have two in high school, and I still have two in elementary school.
With six different personalities and styles, back-to-school season comes with a wide range and emotions and attitudes. My breakdown is like this:
The oldest, my 19-year-old son, is starting his second-year in University. Because of his learning profile, I will have to inject myself into his academic life. As a person living with autism, he has difficulty with organization and executive functioning. As such, this very NON-helicopter parent still needs to be involved.
My 18-year-old daughter is all moved and ready to start her first year in University. No child has been more ready to leave home than this one. I remember joking that when she started kindergarten, she was ready for Frosh Week. When we dropped her off at residence and I started making her bed, she reminded me that she knows how to make a bed and it was time for us to all hit the road. We set time records with that drop-off!
My 16-year-old kiddo is starting her final year of high school. This girl is academically strong but is my procrastinator. We are currently setting up organizational tools and strategies to help her keep her top grades and manage her full extra-curricular schedule.
The 14-year-old is starting high school! She’s a smart kid but is quite social, so I do worry about her getting overly distracted by the fun of a social life! Managing her phone is necessary, so I have a docking station set up in the family room, and the phone will retire there each evening an hour before bedtime. She has an old school alarm clock to wake her up every morning, so no excuses for her phone being in her bedroom.
My 12-year-old son is heading into Grade 8. This guy missed a LOT of school last year due to stomach issues and food intolerances. Luckily, he was able to pull it off academically and I’m excited for him to get back to a regular routine. Fingers crossed his sensitive little tummy behaves!
The “baby” is 10-years-old and starting Grade 5. This little sweetheart has a unique learning profile including ADD, ADHD, LD (Learning Disabilities) with a side of Giftedness. Staying on top of this little smarty-pants is a full-time job. With a kid like this, parents have to advocate, organize extra support and constantly check in. He’s been worth the extra effort.
So that is my roll call for this Back to School season: six kids, six personalities and six different learning profiles. And they're attending FIVE different schools! What challenges do you face with your different kiddos personalities and learning styles? I always say, if all my kids were exactly the same, parenting would be easy, but it sure would be boring!