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So your kid is starting second grade — here’s what to know

As a second grader, your child will be right in the middle of their elementary school years. Moving up in the ranks can give kids a confidence boost. But a new teacher, classroom, and curriculum might be intimidating.

To help you and your child prepare for what’s ahead, this guide will go over what to expect from the school year and offer tips for making it as smooth as possible.

Here’s what to know when your kid is starting second grade.

What your child will learn in second grade

In second grade, teachers start discussing current events at an age-appropriate level. They also teach students about plants and animals, climates and seasons, historical figures, and different cultures.

Spelling, writing, and reading independently

Second graders build on the spelling, writing, and reading skills from the year before. They’ll explore letter sequences, practice sounding out more complex words, and learn how word roots and suffixes can help them figure out a word’s meaning.

Students will use their developing vocabulary to practice writing sentences and maybe even short stories. Independent reading is a big part of second grade as well. You can help your child at home by encouraging them to read books aloud at least a few times per week.

Developing basic math skills

As a second grader, your child will gain a better understanding of number sequences and digits through the hundreds. They’ll also be taught how to add and subtract one- and two-digit numbers and may explore simple word problems.

Developmental milestones for 7- and 8-year-olds

Second-grade schooling aligns with the developmental milestones for 7– and 8-year-olds. This includes:

  • Sitting still and paying attention for longer periods
  • Working quietly and independently for 30 to 60 minutes
  • Problem-solving and logical thinking
  • Following more detailed sets of instructions
  • Telling more detailed stories
  • Better understanding expectations at school and home
  • Improved physical stamina and fine motor skills

Keep in mind every kid is unique. Some will meet all milestones by the end of second grade, while others may still be working on them the following year.

Schedules, challenges, and changes

Here’s what you can expect from your child’s second-grade experience and how to prepare.

Friendships and emotions

Second grade can be a social roller coaster. While kids often start making close friends, it’s also common for friendships to change quickly. And many children begin to feel pressure to “fit in” at school.

Second graders learn about relationship management at school, and teachers and other staff can help kids work out conflicts. But when emotions run high at home, you can help your child talk through the issue and figure out a positive solution. If they’re being bullied, be sure to let the teacher or school administrator know.

Homework for second graders

It varies among schools and teachers, but second graders usually have about 20 minutes of nightly homework. It’ll typically be a reading assignment or a simple worksheet.

Ask your child if they have homework each day, and don’t hesitate to contact their teacher if the expectations are unclear. Also, make sure they know where and how to turn in their homework.

Getting-ready routine

A getting-reading routine can help your child feel more confident and prepared for school days. You can help them write a nighttime and morning checklist on a dry-erase board or draw pictures and paste magazine cutouts to a poster board. To-do items might include finishing homework, packing their backpack, laying out an outfit, and brushing their teeth.

Reviewed by the Ovia Health Clinical Team

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