Your 8 1/2-year-old: Collecting

Your 8 1/2-year-old: Collecting

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Your 8-year-old now

At 8, kids collect with the same fervor they did in their younger days, but what they collect changes. Rather than rocks, sticks, and shells found on the ground, the preferred object now is a bit more sophisticated, and often a lot more expensive.

The collection may be related to a favorite toy. Some kids like to collect a particular kind of doll (such as historically themed dolls or those from foreign countries). Others enjoy toys that come in sets with a built-in collect-'em-all appeal: trading cards, cars, building sets, or other toys whose advertisements display the many variations available.

Building a collection helps your child gain experience with categorizing and often teaches about a particular topic. Resist buying everything you can to fill the collection. Not only will your child be overly indulged, she may (despite being excited at first) lose interest in the collection faster because the thrill of the hunt has been removed.

Better to let her seek out the objects on her own, and save up for them or receive them as gifts. Use topics related to her collection (for example, the culture of an era represented by a historical doll, or different styles of architecture shown in building sets) as springboards for learning more about these things through books and Internet searches.

Your life now

Does your child share a bedroom? Siblings who share space may complain, but rest assured they're getting plenty of benefits from the arrangement. Sharing a room helps kids learn to negotiate, share, and respect others' property.

Siblings who bunk together tend to get along with others well. And you're likely sowing seeds of camaraderie and closeness that – despite the occasional noisy spat – will endure for years.

Kids close in age tend to be better roommates than, say, an 8-year-old and a baby, or a teen and an 8-year-old, because different sleep schedules can be disruptive to both kids.

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