I first wrote this in 2007, and in 2009 and they still get a few hits and I thought it was a good one to re-run. Hope some of you find it helpful!
1. Little boys are supposed to be active! They're wired that way. If school didn't exist, and they were supposed to depend on their own skills to survive, they would have to be quite physically active! Years of civilization hasn't changed how God has programmed them! So don't fight it... work with it! Don't bog them down with workbooks and sitting work. Find what they are interested in and try to use that to your advantage - and that may be messy!!
2. That said, sometimes little boys do have to settle down to learn something. The best little boy tamer I know of is swimming. Put them in swim classes or let them play in the pool at the Y as often as possible. They're just more malleable after they have been fighting that water for a couple of hours!
3. Moms were little girls once. We don't have the experience of being little boys. So tap into the wealth of information from your husband, father, brother, uncles, etc. Find out what they were interested in as kids, how they felt, and what worked the best for them when they were trying to learn something.
4. Don't be afraid to have a movie day. I have tried to have boy movies around to break up the monotany of daily school work. I remember the first time I brought home Rocky from the library and my boys had never seen it before. As I sat in the room with them, you could practically feel the testosterone oozing off of the walls. They were into it and they were excited. That really did give me the opportunity to discuss values, morals, virtues and even a unit study on boxing and physical fitness.
5. Remember the stories you read should appeal to boys as well! Use your husband as a guide here as to what would be appealing to boys. My little boys liked Captain Underpants and Horrible Harry . They also liked the The Boxcar Children, Hardy Boys and Harry Potter (Books 1-6) and the Lord of the Rings. Books with strong father figures in them and a lot of adventure always appeal to young boys. When Calvin was Jr. high aged I had him listen to Lord of the Flies on tape. I read it in high school, but I just sensed that he was ready for it and he was. In that sense he was much more mature than I was at that age.
6. Science needs to be active. Do the experiments, visit planetariums, grow a garden. Little girls like these things too, but they really capture the attention of little boys and makes it possible for you to teach them something.
7. Be very careful how to talk to these little guys (and even our teenagers!) We want to build them up not tear them down. One harsh word from a mom can scar deeply and for a long time.
8. That said, as they get older, boys need more supervision not less - although it's not the hovering kind of supervision they had as babies. Moms need to be more creative and covert in how they supervise from a distance. Trust, but verify.
8. Boys need hugs and cuddles from their moms too. They need that all of their lives. I can remember visiting my great-grandma when she was in her 90s and my grandfather was in his 60s. She was still his mother and he was still her little boy. They talked to each other and teased each other in that special mother/son way. But he also held her hand and she kept patting his arm and they hugged each other many times. There was genuine affection there. Noah still liked to sit on my lap to read his lessons when he was 8 and 9. Gabe made sure that he sat next to me when we watch t.v. up into the high schoolyears. They all give me a kiss goodnight before bedtime, even my 17-year-old! A hug and a cuddle just reassures them. It's a touchstone of sorts that makes it okay to move forward. I think it also sets up the stage to have successful loving relationship with their future wives and children too!