The time you spend with your nine-year-old little brother can have a lasting effect on him and on your relationship with him in the future. Older elementary school-age children, like your little brother, are looking more to peers and role models and less to their parents as they become more and more independent in their thinking and their actions, so your interactions with your brother really do matter. Your little brother observes the things you do and how you do them. When your little brother learns that he can successfully interact with you, his self-esteem is bolstered and he develops confidence in himself, while the bond between you is strengthened.
All kids like to play games, and physical activities are both fun and important for elementary-school kids like your brother. They help your brother learn to enjoy movement, give him a chance to improve his motor skills and they even help him increase his ability to focus and problem solve. Chasing or hitting a ball figures prominently in the things many nine-year-old boys like to do. If the two of you want to spend time together outside, try shooting basketballs, pitching balls so your brother can practice his batting skills or kicking a soccer ball around. If it's raining or you'd rather be inside, good indoor games include board games or computer games. Elementary school-aged children are learning to plan and think ahead, so play strategy games with your brother. Computer, video, board or paper-and-pen games that require planning and thinking ahead help your brother develop his reflective thinking skills while you both have a good time.
Chores can be daunting for you, much less your nine-year-old brother. Score some brownie points with your parents and set a good example for your brother at the same time by working cooperatively. Give your little brother a hand with cleaning his room, putting away his laundry or picking up behind himself. Help your brother develop responsibility and feel grown up by letting him take charge. Name the obvious chores and ask him to decide who does what. Negotiate, if it seems appropriate. By working together with your brother, he will learn many of the social aspects of work and you'll both be done with your chores faster.
Your little brother's homework is probably very different from the homework your parents did when they were your brother's age, especially when it comes to math. Methods of teaching math have changed over the years, leaving many parents feeling inadequate when helping their children with homework. Helping your nine-year-old brother with his homework is a way to bond and develop your relationship with him, while giving your parents a break at the same time. If your brother doesn't need help but could use moral support, stay nearby and do your homework, or read a book or other similar activity, while your brother does his homework. As an older sibling, you are a role model and can be a good influence on your brother.
Share Your Worlds
Introduce your brother to some of the things that interest you, keeping your brother's age in mind, of course. School children are learning to understand more advanced media and to make choices about their likes and dislikes. As your brother learns more about your world, his scope of choices becomes broader. Keep these activities brief, in case your brother doesn't enjoy them. If your brother does likes your music or choice of movies, for instance, the two of you will have more in common to talk about, making spending time together even more fun. Spend time with your brother indulging him in his favorite activities, too. Visit a toy train or similar show in town or take your brother to a museum or theme park. Show him that you're interested in him and what he finds important. As you learn more about each other, you each expand your own worlds while finding common ground.
- Child Development Institute Parenting Today: Stages of Social-Emotional Development -- Erik Erickson
- Public Broadcasting System: Parents: Talking with Kids
- National Association for Sport and Physical Education: Recess for Elementary School Students
- Provider-Parent Partnerships: Sibling Influences
- University of Missouri Extension: Teaching Children Responsibility
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