Eating meals together as a family has many benefits. Mealtime is a great time to let your child tell you about her interests, concerns, and worries. Encourage your child to talk and to listen to others as they share stories and experiences. This helps keep your family feeling close and connected. Children who have meals with their families are less likely to smoke, drink, and abuse drugs, and more likely to do well in school.
You can model healthy eating by what you eat and how much you eat. Balance good nutrition with what your child wants to eat. Major battles over what your child wants to eat are not worth the emotional cost. Bring only healthy foods home from the grocery store. Choose snacks wisely. Children should drink soda pop only rarely. Low-fat or skim milk is a healthier choice.
Good table manners take a long time to develop. Model table manners for your child.
Your child may start to develop interests in sports, arts and crafts, reading, and music. Encourage your child’s interests in these activities. At this age, having fun is more important than winning or losing. Physical skills vary widely in this age group. Find activities that best fit your child's skills, such as running for kids with lots of energy, swimming for children with lots of strength, or baseball or softball for kids who like being on a team.
Get involved in your child's school and stay aware of how your child is doing. If your child is struggling, meet with the teacher, counselor, or principal.
Read to your child every day. Make reading a part of the evening ritual.
Set rules about media use. Know what kinds of apps and games your child uses, and what they are doing online. Limit how much time your child spends using computers, tablets, TV, videos, and other electronics. Don’t let your child watch shows with violence or sex. Play video games, read, or watch TV with your child and communicate with your child while you do. Children need physical play and face-to-face conversation to stay healthy and learn language and social skills. Having a TV, computer, or video game in your child's bedroom increases your child's risk for obesity, sleep disorders, and attention problems. Your child needs time to unplug and recharge. Participate in active play with your child, and be a role model by limiting your own use of technology.
Permanent teeth may soon come in or may have already started coming in. You can help care for your child’s teeth by following these tips:
Kids at this age may start taking risks, thinking they will not get hurt in dangerous situations. Watch your child closely, especially when he is near roadways, open water, or a fire, or electricity.
Traffic and Bicycle Safety
Fires and Burns
Immunizations protect your child against several serious, life-threatening diseases. Your child should get a flu shot every year. Your child’s healthcare provider will let you know if your child is up to date on all recommended vaccinations. Be sure to bring your child's shot record to all visits with your provider.
A routine checkup every year is recommended.