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.
Kids usually have a lot of energy at this age. Make sure your child has plenty of chances to run and play outdoors.
Physical skills vary widely at this age. Find activities that fit your child's skills. Ask your healthcare provider for more information about choosing a sport that fits your child's interests and body type. Fine motor skills, like writing, improve a lot at this age. Let your child know that you see how she is improving.
Keep reading together each evening. 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.
Finding friends is very important. Your child will be very concerned about what other kids think about her. Talk with your child about both the enjoyable and hard aspects of friendships. Teach your child about helping people "save face" when they are angry or embarrassed. Group activities give your child the chance to learn leadership skills.
Accidents are the number one cause of deaths in children. Kids like to take risks at this age but are not well prepared to judge the dangers. Your child still needs close supervision at this age. You should model safe choices.
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.