When practiced regularly, these are life enhancing:
- Get plenty of sleep at night, try to get about 9 to 12 hours each night.
- Exercise three to five times a week for at least 20 to 30 minutes.
- Review personal hygiene habits.
- Limit "screen time" such as television viewing, computer and handheld video games.
- Talk about alcohol, drugs and tobacco use.
Good nutrition is essential to a growing body. Tips include:
- Eat 3 nutritious meals a day, breakfast is especially important.
- Whether you eat at home or out, eat as a family as often as possible.
- Limit high fat, high sugar foods and choose appropriate alternatives.
- Drink milk or water instead of pop or juice.
- Eat a variety of dairy, grains, fruits, vegetables and lean protein.
- Consider vitamin supplementation especially for Vitamin D.
Injury prevention is proactive. Consider the following:
- Wear appropriate helmets and safety gear while biking, skating and rollerblading.
- Use seatbelts and sit in the back seat, it's the safest.
- Take precautions to avoid sunburn and use at least SPF 15 sun block.
- Provide safe after-school environment.
- Review rules for being home alone.
- Review swimming skills.
- Check smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.
These are some behaviors that promote healthy interactions:
- Encourage discussions and expression of feelings.
- Create opportunities for family activities.
- Reinforce limits and provide consequences; encourage self-discipline.
- Teach respect for authority.
- Reinforce conflict resolution and how to handle anger.
- Participate in social activities, community groups and team sports.
- Learn to say "no" to peer requests you feel are inappropriate.
These activities provide good examples for modeling important skills and encourage your child to grow in a healthy and happy way:
- Serve as a role model for ethical behavior and healthy habits.
- Clearly communicate rules and expectations
- Show respect and listen, make time every day to talk.
- Observe reading, television and computer choices for appropriate content.
- Know your child's friends and encourage good decisions about choosing their friends.
- Discuss expectations for dress, friends, media, and activities and provide appropriate supervision.
Consider the following to encourage success at school:
- Emphasize the importance of school.
- Offer praise for positive efforts.
- Provide guidance and allow more responsibility for school work.
- Help with organization and setting priorities.
- Encourage reading and help find books or magazines that are interesting.
The onset of adolescence will bring questions and concerns:
- Youth go through the physical changes of puberty at different times, encourage discussions about puberty and sexuality.
- Read age-appropriate books together.
- Share expectations and beliefs about sex and relationships.
Health maintenance is essential to a child's well-being:
- Brush teeth twice a day.
- Make sure fluoride intake is adequate.
- See the dentist regularly, every 6 months.
The following items may be useful:
- American Academy of Pediatrics. Caring for Your School-Age Child, Ages 5 to 12. Bantam Books, 1999.
- Clarke, Jean. Self-Esteem: A Family Affair. Hazelden, 1998.
- Davis, Martha. Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook, 5th Edition, MJF Books, 2003.
- Faber, Adele. How to Talk So Kids Will Listen, and Listen So Kids Will Talk. Piccadilly Press, 2001.