Your 7 1/4-year-old: Alone time

Your 7 1/4-year-old: Alone time

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Your 7-year-old now

If your child shows an increasing interest in being alone, don't be alarmed. A tendency toward introversion and privacy are normal parts of a 7-year-old's social development. Your child has a lot on his mind and spends much of his day in company with others. Having a little time to process and dream all by himself helps him stay on an even keel.

Having quiet time in the day gives your child the opportunity to read or draw or play alone, as well as think. Some kids can spend hours in this kind of solo play. It rarely means they're socially awkward. Balancing alone time with social time is actually a useful skill.

Your life now

Are you "there" when you're there? Listen closely if your child says he misses you. Perception is reality for sevens.

If you're spending a lot of time around your child but he senses that your mind is somewhere else, he's picking up on the disconnect. This is a real risk in our technology-addicted culture. Consciously step away from your laptop after a certain hour. Put your cell phone away when you're playing a board game.

In addition to creating "poor quality" quality time, you're setting an example that your child will naturally want to follow. Before long the whole family will be sitting together in the same room night after night, each person absorbed in his or her own screen. Sound far-fetched? It's happening all over the country right now — and the impressionable, curious, and lively age of 7 is too soon to get sucked down that road.

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