Your child’s height increases at about 2" per year. Weight increases at about 5 pounds a years before puberty so appetite may vary quite a bit and seem less than when younger. We like to limit fats, sugars and salt in the diet, to some degree. Most children drink far too much juice and soda, and often drink too much milk. Encourage them to drink low-fat milk, less than a quart a day, and emphasize water for thirst, not other, sweetened drinks. It takes approximately 3,000 calories to put on a pound of fat so an extra 100 calories per day equals 3,000 per month or TWELVE POUNDS A YEAR. The habits that develop in this age will often carry on to adulthood. Encourage good eating habits and exercise. Set a good example. Calcium needs may be met by dairy products in your child’s diet. Use 1%, 1/2% or skim milk. You may want to use a multivitamin. If your well water tests negative for fluoride, we may prescribe it if your child doesn’t get fluoride from other sources.
Development and Behavior
Children outgrow bed-wetting at older ages if there are relatives who were late bedwetters. We can help. Teachers may voice concerns about your child’s behavior, schoolwork or attention. We may be able to help you understand their comments, special tests or counseling. Natural curiosity will lead to questions concerning sex. It’s not necessary to provide any more explanation than the question asks. Be truthful and use simple terms. There are many good books with drawings and simple text to help you if you feel uncomfortable discussing these topics. Puberty changes can occur over a wide range of ages and occur younger in girls than boys. Read to your children often. Encourage them to read. Have books available all the time. Get her or him a library card. Make good use of the rating systems for video games, movies and TV. Discuss them after watching them with your kids. Limit screen time to 2 hours/day or less. Encourage participation in a variety of activities and hobbies. Allow them the opportunity to enjoy the successes and handle the failures to strengthen their self-esteem. Show interest in school work. Establish fair rules for discipline and try to be consistent.
Be a good role model, and wear a seat belt yourself. Remember the AAP recommends a booster seat for all children until 8 years old, 80 pounds AND 4 feet 9 inches tall. Never allow your child to ride in a seat with an airbag. Supervise all outside play and closely observe water play. Drowning is still too common an occurrence for you to be casual about teaching swimming and boating safety.
When your children help around the house, restrict access to power tools and lawn mowers. Teach them to wear safety glasses when helping adults using power tools. BB guns and pellet guns are not toys but are often treated as such. They should only be used with adult supervision and with proper eye protection. Your children will spend more time exploring the yard and neighborhood independently. Warn them to stay away from stray pets and wild animals. Rabies is a threat we don’t often think of. Smokeless tobacco is mistakenly thought to be safer than smoking tobacco. That is not true. They both contribute to terrible health problems and should be avoided. Passive smoke IS a danger, so keep your home and car smoke free.
Bike helmets are always a necessity. Wear one yourself when you bike to set a good example. Don’t let your child cross streets without you. When skating/rollerblading, a helmet, wrist guards, knee and elbow pads are all needed. Trampolines should not be backyard toys. Children abuse them by crowding-on, pushing and doing flips--there is a great risk of serious injury including broken bones, paralysis and death. Trampolines should only be used for coached-gymnastics. 4-wheelers and motor bikes should be avoided until driving age, when more mature decision-making may prevent injury and death.
Health Maintenance and Shots
No immunizations or laboratory studies are scheduled if your child is up-to-date. We recommend seeing a dentist for routine checkups. Fluoride supplements are given if you have none in your water supply. We recommend a checkup every year for healthy children. Call the office before that time if you have any questions or concerns.