Normal Growth And Development Of School Age Children
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
- School-age children are those 5 to 12 years of age. This time period is a stage of continuing growth and development for your young child. Your child's motor (movement) skills improve and he has better control of his hands and fingers. His body changes as he enters puberty. Puberty is a period wherein the body develops and matures sexually. Bones, muscles, fat, and skin grow very rapidly with increases in height and weight.
- During the school-age years, your child's mental ability also develops. He learns to read better and can understand what is happening around him. He can remember things more clearly and follow complex directions. Family, friends, and the school community all share a role in your child's development. Having peers and being accepted become very important. As your child spends more time with his friends, the influence of family is not as strong as it used to be.
Ask for more information about where and when to take your child for follow-up visits:
For continuing care, treatments, or home services for your child, ask for information.
Helping your child:
- Help your child get enough sleep: Make sure your child gets enough sleep (about 10 to 11 hours) every night. Schedule his night sleep with the same bed time and wake time. Bedtime routines are also helpful for your child. Keep the room cool and quiet. Avoid giving your child food or drinks with caffeine which may delay his sleep. Caffeine may be found in cola and energy drinks.
- Know your child: Get involved in your child's activities. Spend time with him, and be there when he needs you. Talk to him, allow him to ask questions, and teach him accordingly. Stay in contact with your child's teachers to find and deal with problems early. Get to know his friends.
- Set clear rules that do not change: Time out may be used as a way to discipline your child. This lets him quiet down and think about what he did. It also gives you time to calm down and stay in control. Set limits for your child. Praise and reward your child when it is suitable. Do not criticize or show disapproval when he has done something wrong. Explain what you would like him to do instead, and tell him why.
- Have your child eat a balanced and nutritious diet each meal. Make sure this includes carbohydrates, such as breads, breakfast cereals, potatoes, pasta, and rice. This should also include fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and protein (such as chicken, fish, and beans). Limit the amount of sweets and fats. Try to offer your child a new food or dish every week.
- Have your child eat a good, healthy breakfast everyday. Eating breakfast at the start of the day gives your child energy.
- Have your child sit with the family at mealtime even if he does not like to eat.
- Ask your child's caregiver if your child should be on a special diet.
Exercise and physical activity:
Encourage your child to exercise regularly for at least one hour everyday. Exercise may be through active play, brisk walking, dance, and school PE activities. Additional activities may be done two times a week to help improve strength and muscle flexibility. These include climbing, skipping, jumping, gymnastics, and sports. Talk to your child's caregiver before your child starts exercising. Together you can plan the best exercise or activity program for your child. It is best to start slowly and do more as your child gets stronger. Being physically active makes the heart stronger, lowers blood pressure, and can help your child keep a healthy weight.
CONTACT A CAREGIVER IF:
- Your child has trouble sleeping.
- Your child has a high number of fears.
- Your child has poor school behavior that is causing concern to his teachers. This may include having a short attention span or trouble concentrating, being too active, and not obeying rules.
- You have questions or concerns about your child's growth and development, such as the following:
- Your child cannot recognize words that rhyme.
- Your child has problems understanding, reading, and spelling words.
- By the end of kindergarten, your child still cannot recognize letters of the alphabet, and know their sounds.
- Your child cannot recognize words that rhyme.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.