When practiced regularly, these are life enhancing:
- Supervise activities with friends.
- Get plenty of rest; make sure there is opportunity to sleep at night, typically 9 to 12 hours.
- Encourage exercise, good personal hygiene.
- Limit television, computer and video games.
- Observe reading, television and computer choices for appropriate content.
- Counsel about drugs, alcohol and tobacco.
Good nutrition is essential to a growing body. Tips include:
- Make meal time a good family time whether at home or on the go.
- Provide healthy choices for meals and snacks.
- Offer children a variety of healthy foods.
- Eat breakfast daily.
- Maintain appropriate weight through frequent exercise and sensible eating, not dieting.
- Provide calcium rich foods three to four times a day such as dairy products or calcium-enriched foods.
- Consider a vitamin supplement especially for Vitamin D.
Injury prevention is proactive. Consider the following:
- Use The 5 Step Test to determine whether your child is big enough to use only the seat belt (in the back seat). If you answer "No" to any of these, your child must be in a booster seat:
1. Does the child sit all the way back against the auto seat?
2. Do the child's knees bend comfortably at the edge of the auto seat?
3. Is the lap belt touching the top of the thighs, not the tummy?
4. Is the shoulder belt centered on the shoulder and chest?
5. Can the child stay seated like this for the whole trip?
- Wear appropriate helmets and safety gear while biking, skating and rollerblading.
- Trampoline use should be discouraged unless supervised by a trained professional.
- Review neighborhood, water and bike safety; ensure that safety is a priority in team sports.
- Use sunscreen and limit sun exposure.
- Test smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors; review your escape plan.
- Keep matches, poisons, ammunition and guns locked up.
- Review rules for being at home alone.
- Provide a safe after-school environment.
- Check smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.
These are some behaviors that promote healthy interactions:
- Encourage discussions and expression of feelings.
- Praise your child.
- Give individual attention.
- Create opportunities for family activities.
- Encourage positive interactions with teachers and other adults.
- Allow for personal space.
- Reinforce conflict resolution and how to handle anger.
These activities provide good examples for modeling important skills and encourage your child to grow in a healthy and happy way:
- Promote independence and responsibility.
- Assign chores.
- Serve as a role model for ethical behavior and healthy habits.
- Show respect and listen; provide and maintain active communication.
- Show affection and pride.
- Spend time with your child.
- Set reasonable expectations.
- Reinforce limits, provide consequences and follow through on them.
- Know your child's friends and their families.
The onset of pre-adolescence will bring questions and concerns:
- Answer questions.
- Read age-appropriate books together.
- Discuss your school's family life education.
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.
The following items may be useful:
- American Academy of Pediatrics. Caring for Your School-Age Child, Ages 5 to 12. Bantam Books, 1999.
- Dobson, James. Preparing for Adolescence: How to Survive the Coming Years of Change. Gospel Light Publications, 2005.
- Dreikurs, Rudolf. Children: The Challenge. Plume, 1991.
- Faber, Adele. Siblings Without Rivalry. Piccadilly Press, 1999.