North Dakota State University
NDSU Extension Service

Parenting Pipeline


A newsletter for parents of fourth-grade children from the North Dakota State University Extension Service

Welcome to Parenting Pipeline.

Parents want to help their children build self-esteem, develop creativity and reach physical, social, emotional and intellectual potential. This newsletter will help you better understand your fourth-grader. It will be distributed each month of the school year.

Responsibility and independence are the major differences between primary and intermediate grades. It becomes the child's responsibility to complete daily assignments and homework on time. Homework helps your child learn to work and think independently, a major development for children this age.

In the primary grades, your child was learning to read. In the intermediate grades, your child is reading to learn. Reading is a tool through which children will learn about subjects. Continue to encourage reading for enjoyment by reading to and with children at home.

Settling into a structured school day may be difficult for children after a carefree summer. Help make this transition easier by making sure your fourth-grader is getting plenty of rest, a nutritious diet and a little extra nurturing.

Supporting Your Child

Parents play a crucial role in providing their children with the values and skills essential for success in school and in later life. To motivate children to do their best, parents need to:

Families and schools working together provide the best possible environment for the schooling of children.

Understanding Your Fourth-Grader

Your fourth-grader is a unique individual but has specific characteristics common to this age.

Nine-Year-Old Traits

Helping Children Solve Their Problems

Children of all ages experience problems that require the guidance of an adult. Parents can give children the ability to recognize, solve and cope with their problems.

A fourth-grader may have experienced problems in previous grades, such as friendship problems, and now has new concerns, such as managing homework. Together you can work toward solutions.

Problem solving is a process that takes time and effort. Teach your child that no problem is so great that it cannot be handled by working together.

Problem-Solving Steps

The adult's job is to help the child remain focused on the problem-solving process.

1. Gather Data

Collect information about events and feelings. Avoid blaming. Ask: What happened? How did you feel? What happened next?

2. State the Problem Clearly

It's easier to solve a problem if your child has a clear understanding of it.

Example: You want to __________________ and your friend wants to __________________. What can you do so you both will be happy?

3. Generate Ideas

Go for quantity. List as many as possible. Encourage all ideas, silly and practical. Avoid criticizing ideas. Review the problem often to generate thought.

4. Evaluate Ideas

Consider all ideas. Help your child learn to distinguish between good and poor ideas. Examine consequences of each by using, "What might happen if you __________________?" or "How will Mary feel if you __________________?"

5. Ask for a Decision and Help the Child Plan

Look at the list of alternatives and ask for a decision. Help implement the idea by asking, "What do you need to do first?" Plan time to evaluate. If the solution is not working, try again. Congratulate your child for his efforts and for working toward a solution. Avoid fixing things for your child.

This newsletter is published for North Dakota families with fourth-graders by the NDSU Extension Service and distributed through your county extension office. See your extension agent for more parenting information and other home economics programs.

NDSU Extension Service, North Dakota State University of Agriculture and Applied Science, and U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Sharon D. Anderson, Director, Fargo, North Dakota. Distributed in furtherance of the Acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914. We offer our programs and facilities to all persons regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, age, Vietnam era veterans status, or sexual orientation; and are an equal opportunity employer.

This publication will be made available in alternative format upon request to people with disabilities (701) 231-7881.

North Dakota State University
NDSU Extension Service