Your 8 1/2-year-old: Quitting

Your 8 1/2-year-old: Quitting

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Your 8-year-old now

"I quit!" What's a parent to do when her little dancer or athlete or scout decides he's had enough and doesn't want to do an extracurricular activity any longer?

On the one hand, you may have a financial investment in an activity. You may be certain that eventually your child will be glad he stuck with it. Or you may be concerned that your child "owes" it to teammates or a teacher to finish a commitment.

But your child is young enough that his emotions are more important. If he really is unhappy, there's little to be gained from persisting.

There are a few things you can try before you give in. First, try to understand exactly what your child dislikes. Is it the activity itself, a problem with some of the other children, or perhaps fatigue from a too-busy schedule?

Then look to see if there's something about the situation that can be modified. Maybe soccer practice isn't at a good time in his day. Perhaps individual dance lessons would be better than a group setting, or vice versa. Or maybe he likes music but it's the wrong instrument.

Rather than letting your child quit at the drop of a hat, talk it over. Make sure it isn't a one-time complaint (a bad game, the teacher spoke too sharply). Agree to give it a certain amount of time to re-evaluate before deciding whether to quit.

Your life now

Teach your child to turn his head and sneeze into his armpit if he doesn't have a tissue ready. This prevents germy spray from going on his hands or into the air around him. Paper tissues are the ideal way to catch a sneeze. But let your child know he'll still need to wash his hands with soap and water after using them.

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