Welcome to the wonderful year of second grade! You’re in the phase that is the very essence of childhood.

I’ve been working with children for over forty years now, and I’ve been a parent for more than thirty. In my experience, this is the age that brings a smile to my heart more than any other. This up-for-anything, sounds-like-fun bunch is always ready to go.

Want to go camping? “Sounds like fun!”

Want to dance? “Sounds like fun!”

Want to help wash the car with Daddy? “Sounds like fun!”

Want to go to a rodeo? “Sounds like fun!”

Want to make a building out of sugar cubes? “Sounds like fun!”

Want to take guitar lessons? “Sounds like fun!”

Now’s the time to rekindle your adventurous side and experience things with your child you’ve always wanted to try yourself.

Looking back on this phase with my daughters, I remember the temptation my wife and I had to disengage. Our kids were finally reaching a comfortable level of independence. They could ride their bikes to a friend’s house. They could make their own snacks in the kitchen. They could read and play on their own with very little help from us.

Let’s face it—we wanted to raise independent young women, and we were happy to celebrate their first steps in that direction by enjoying adult conversation for the first time in almost a decade.

While the increased freedom is definitely part of what makes this a sweet season of parenting, don’t disengage too much. While you catch your breath, remember there’s a lot happening in their second-grade world. And you don’t want to miss it. For example, one of the things that I admire about second graders is their understanding of right and wrong. They’re eager to know what’s right, and they still believe that what you say is true. That means there’s a great opportunity for you to instill values that are important to your family and to your child’s future.

And here’s the great news—all the fun and adventure and memory-making that will make this year fantastic goes hand-in-hand with some of the most important truths you want your kid to learn in this phase. As you play games together, talk about winning and losing. As you wash the car together, 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 the many things that “sound like fun.”

The sunny second-grade phase won’t last forever. Savor and enjoy every crazy adventure it brings. And, don’t forget. You’re building your child’s history. You’re making memories together that you both can draw from in the years ahead. Let this phase be the one you tell family stories about for decades to come.

– Jim Wideman
Children Ministry Pioneer, Pastor, & Author

Parenting Your Second Grader

This concise and interactive guide simplifies what you need to know about second graders in general and gives you a place to discover more about your second grader—so you can make the most of this phase.

Your kid thinks every game is fun—as long as they win, and you might be in one of the best phases of your child’s life. THIS IS THE PHASE WHEN FAIRNESS MATTERS MOST, DIFFERENCES GET NOTICED, AND YOUR ENTHUSIASTIC KID THINKS ANYTHING “SOUNDS LIKE FUN!”

Don’t have an second grader? We’ve got a book for every age at phaseguides.com.