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Well Child Visit at 5 to 6 Years
A well child visit
is when your child sees a healthcare provider to prevent health problems. Well child visits are used to track your child's growth and development. It is also a time for you to ask questions and to get information on how to keep your child safe. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them. Your child should have regular well child visits from birth to 17 years.
Development milestones your child may reach between 5 and 6 years:
Each child develops at his or her own pace. Your child might have already reached the following milestones, or he or she may reach them later:
- Balance on one foot, hop, and skip
- Tie a knot
- Hold a pencil correctly
- Draw a person with at least 6 body parts
- Print some letters and numbers, copy squares and triangles
- Tell simple stories using full sentences, and use appropriate tenses and pronouns
- Count to 10, and name at least 4 colors
- Listen and follow simple directions
- Dress and undress with minimal help
- Say his or her address and phone number
- Print his or her first name
- Start to lose baby teeth
- Ride a bicycle with training wheels or other help
Help prepare your child for school:
- Talk to your child about going to school. Talk about meeting new friends and having new activities at school. Take time to tour the school with your child and meet the teacher.
- Begin to establish routines. Have your child go to bed at the same time every night.
- Read with your child. Read books to your child. Point to the words as you read so your child begins to recognize words.
Ways to help your child who is already in school:
- Engage with your child if he or she watches TV. Do not let your child watch TV alone, if possible. You or another adult should watch with your child. Talk with your child about what he or she is watching. When TV time is done, try to apply what you and your child saw. For example, if your child saw someone print words, have your child print those same words. TV time should never replace active playtime. Turn the TV off when your child plays. Do not let your child watch TV during meals or within 1 hour of bedtime.
- Limit your child's screen time. Screen time is the amount of television, computer, smart phone, and video game time your child has each day. It is important to limit screen time. This helps your child get enough sleep, physical activity, and social interaction each day. Your child's pediatrician can help you create a screen time plan. The daily limit is usually 1 hour for children 2 to 5 years. The daily limit is usually 2 hours for children 6 years or older. You can also set limits on the kinds of devices your child can use, and where he or she can use them. Keep the plan where your child and anyone who takes care of him or her can see it. Create a plan for each child in your family. You can also go to https://www.healthychildren.org/English/media/Pages/default.aspx#planview for more help creating a plan.
- Read with your child. Read books to your child, or have him or her read to you. Also read words outside of your home, such as street signs.
- Encourage your child to talk about school every day. Talk to your child about the good and bad things that happened during the school day. Encourage your child to tell you or a teacher if someone is being mean to him or her.
What else you can do to support your child:
- Teach your child behaviors that are acceptable. This is the goal of discipline. Set clear limits that your child cannot ignore. Be consistent, and make sure everyone who cares for your child disciplines him or her the same way.
- Help your child to be responsible. Give your child routine chores to do. Expect your child to do them.
- Talk to your child about anger. Help manage anger without hitting, biting, or other violence. Show him or her positive ways you handle anger. Praise your child for self-control.
- Encourage your child to have friendships. Meet your child's friends and their parents. Remember to set limits to encourage safety.
Help your child stay healthy:
- Teach your child to care for his or her teeth and gums. Have your child brush his or her teeth at least 2 times every day, and floss 1 time every day. Have your child see the dentist 2 times each year.
- Make sure your child has a healthy breakfast every day. Breakfast can help your child learn and behave better in school.
- Teach your child how to make healthy food choices at school. A healthy lunch may include a sandwich with lean meat, cheese, or peanut butter. It could also include a fruit, vegetable, and milk. Pack healthy foods if your child takes his or her own lunch. Pack baby carrots or pretzels instead of potato chips in your child's lunch box. You can also add fruit or low-fat yogurt instead of cookies. Keep his or her lunch cold with an ice pack so that it does not spoil.
- Encourage physical activity. Your child needs 60 minutes of physical activity every day. The 60 minutes of physical activity does not need to be done all at once. It can be done in shorter blocks of time. Find family activities that encourage physical activity, such as walking the dog.
Help your child get the right nutrition:
Offer your child a variety of foods from all the food groups. The number and size of servings that your child needs from each food group depends on his or her age and activity level. Ask your dietitian how much your child should eat from each food group.
- Half of your child's plate should contain fruits and vegetables. Offer fresh, canned, or dried fruit instead of fruit juice as often as possible. Limit juice to 4 to 6 ounces each day. Offer more dark green, red, and orange vegetables. Dark green vegetables include broccoli, spinach, romaine lettuce, and collard greens. Examples of orange and red vegetables are carrots, sweet potatoes, winter squash, and red peppers.
- Offer whole grains to your child each day. Half of the grains your child eats each day should be whole grains. Whole grains include brown rice, whole-wheat pasta, and whole-grain cereals and breads.
- Make sure your child gets enough calcium. Calcium is needed to build strong bones and teeth. Children need about 2 to 3 servings of dairy each day to get enough calcium. Good sources of calcium are low-fat dairy foods (milk, cheese, and yogurt). A serving of dairy is 8 ounces of milk or yogurt, or 1½ ounces of cheese. Other foods that contain calcium include tofu, kale, spinach, broccoli, almonds, and calcium-fortified orange juice. Ask your child's healthcare provider for more information about the serving sizes of these foods.
- Offer lean meats, poultry, fish, and other protein foods. Other sources of protein include legumes (such as beans), soy foods (such as tofu), and peanut butter. Bake, broil, and grill meat instead of frying it to reduce the amount of fat.
- Offer healthy fats in place of unhealthy fats. A healthy fat is unsaturated fat. It is found in foods such as soybean, canola, olive, and sunflower oils. It is also found in soft tub margarine that is made with liquid vegetable oil. Limit unhealthy fats such as saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol. These are found in shortening, butter, stick margarine, and animal fat.
- Limit foods that contain sugar and are low in nutrition. Limit candy, soda, and fruit juice. Do not give your child fruit drinks. Limit fast food and salty snacks.
- Let your child decide how much to eat. Give your child small portions. Let your child have another serving if he or she asks for one. Your child will be very hungry on some days and want to eat more. For example, your child may want to eat more on days when he or she is more active. Your child may also eat more if he or she is going through a growth spurt. There may be days when your child eats less than usual.
Keep your child safe:
- Always have your child ride in a booster car seat, and make sure everyone in your car wears a seatbelt.
- Children aged 4 to 8 years should ride in a booster car seat in the back seat.
- Booster seats come with and without a seat back. Your child will be secured in the booster seat with the regular seatbelt in your car.
- Your child must stay in the booster car seat until he or she is between 8 and 12 years old and 4 foot 9 inches (57 inches) tall. This is when a regular seatbelt should fit your child properly without the booster seat.
- Your child should remain in a forward-facing car seat if you only have a lap belt seatbelt in your car. Some forward-facing car seats hold children who weigh more than 40 pounds. The harness on the forward-facing car seat will keep your child safer and more secure than a lap belt and booster seat.
- Teach your child how to cross the street safely. Teach your child to stop at the curb, look left, then look right, and left again. Tell your child never to cross the street without an adult. Teach your child where the school bus will pick him or her up and drop him or her off. Always have adult supervision at your child's bus stop.
- Teach your child to wear safety equipment. Make sure your child has on proper safety equipment when he or she plays sports and rides his or her bicycle. Your child should wear a helmet when he or she rides his or her bicycle. The helmet should fit properly. Never let your child ride his or her bicycle in the street.
- Teach your child how to swim if he or she does not know how. Even if your child knows how to swim, do not let him or her play around water alone. An adult needs to be present and watching at all times. Make sure your child wears a safety vest when he or she is on a boat.
- Put sunscreen on your child before he or she goes outside to play or swim. Use sunscreen with a SPF 15 or higher. Use as directed. Apply sunscreen at least 15 minutes before your child goes outside. Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours when outside.
- Talk to your child about personal safety without making him or her anxious. Explain to him or her that no one has the right to touch his or her private parts. Also explain that no one should ask your child to touch their private parts. Let your child know that he or she should tell you even if he or she is told not to.
- Teach your child fire safety. Do not leave matches or lighters within reach of your child. Make a family escape plan. Practice what to do in case of a fire.
- Keep guns locked safely out of your child's reach. Guns in your home can be dangerous to your family. If you must keep a gun in your home, unload it and lock it up. Keep the ammunition in a separate locked place from the gun. Keep the keys out of your child's reach. Never keep a gun in an area where your child plays.
What you need to know about your child's next well child visit:
Your child's healthcare provider will tell you when to bring him or her in again. The next well child visit is usually at 7 to 8 years. Contact your child's healthcare provider if you have questions or concerns about his or her health or care before the next visit. All children aged 3 to 5 years should have at least one vision screening. Your child may need vaccines at the next well child visit. Your provider will tell you which vaccines your child needs and when your child should get them.
Follow up with your child's doctor as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your child's visits.
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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.
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