Family meals are important for your child. Letting your child help prepare meals is a good idea. Be a good example; your child will follow your lead in developing healthy eating habits. If you haven’t already, switch to skim milk. Your child should be offered foods from all food groups (fruits, vegetables, grains, and dairy products). Don’t force your child to “clean the plate,” but also don’t allow your child to dictate what’s served. If she doesn’t like what’s served and refuses to eat it, wrap up the plate and serve it later when the child is hungry. Your child will not go hungry if there is food available. Choose healthy snacks, and limit fast food.
Vitamins and Fluoride/Teeth
Vitamin D supplement is necessary if your child does not drink at least 32 ounces of vitamin D-fortified milk/day. Give your child a multi-vitamin that contains 400 IU of vitamin D per day. If your water supply does not have fluoride, fluoride supplement is needed until the age of 12 years. Teeth should be brushed in the morning and at bedtime with fluoride toothpaste. Flossing is recommended at bedtime. If your child has not been seeing a dentist, schedule his first appointment now.
Development and Discipline
Make sure your child understands what the rules are, and the consequences for bad behavior. Making your child stand in a corner for a 6 minute “time out” is often an effective punishment. disciplineSome children respond more to removal of privileges as punishment. Read with your child frequently; this will help your child learn more quickly. Make reading with your child part of every day. Set rules for TV watching. Limit total “screen” time (TV, computer, video games) to 1-2 hours/day, and watch TV with your child to monitor and discuss the topics that arise. Children should not watch shows or play games with violence or adult themes. Turning the TV off will allow your child to pursue physical activity and creative play. These are very important for your child’s development and maintaining a healthy weight.
Children can start to develop lifelong interests in sports, art and crafts, reading, and music. Encourage participation in activities and trying new things. Remember the goal is to have fun and develop oneself to the greatest capacity. Don’t over-schedule your child. Children are just discovering what their interests are, and they still need unscheduled time to be creative. Have patience as they learn new things and become more independent. Allow extra time for getting ready because dawdling is normal at this age, and it allows them to think and plan their steps.
Children at this age often like to take risks. They have gained some confidence and think they cannot get hurt. It’s very important to recognize this, and be vigilant.
1. Do not allow your children to be near knives, power tools or mowers.
2. Firearms should be unloaded and locked up. The location of keys and bullets need to be completely unknown and inaccessible to any child.
3. Trampolines are not advised.
1. Continuously supervise your child around any water, even a shallow creek.
2. Children should wear an approved flotation device while boating.
3. Consider swimming lessons.
1. Never leave a child alone in a car, even for a minute.
2. Use an approved booster seat.
3. Supervise all street crossings.
4. You and your child should wear a helmet while biking.
5. Make sure the size of the bicycle your child rides is appropriate. Children on bikes that are too big for them are more likely to get in accidents. Both of your child’s feet should touch the ground when your child is on the bike.
6. Supervise your child closely if riding a bike in the driveway or around traffic.
7. Four-wheelers or other motorized vehicles are dangerous and inappropriate.
8. Teach your child the first and last names of family members, his address, and phone number.
9. Teach your child about safety around strangers, and instruct him on appropriate vs. inappropriate touching.
1. Teach your child to never take medicines without supervision and to not eat unknown substances.
2. Keep the poison center number on all phones: 1-800-222-1222.
It’s never too early to discuss avoiding activities like smoking, drinking, and drugs. As your child grows, discuss these things with him or her when seen or heard on TV or elsewhere. Teach your child the harmful consequences and make it clear that these things are unacceptable for your child.
Call Your Child’s Physician If:
* You are concerned about a fever or if your child is listless
* Your child does not want to drink fluids or vomits multiple times in a day
* Your child does not urinate for 8 hours
* Your child exhibits difficulty breathing
Your child will only need shots at this age if some were not given previously at the recommended ages. A vision and hearing test may be done again. Your child should have a well check every 2 years.