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Even if your child is healthy, keep bringing him or her in for yearly checkups. These visits make sure that your child’s health is protected with scheduled vaccines and health screenings. Your child's healthcare provider will also check his or her growth and development. This sheet describes some of what you can expect.
Here are some topics you, your child, and the healthcare provider may want to discuss during this visit:
Reading. Does your child like to read? Is the child reading at the right level for his or her age group?
Friendships. Does your child have friends at school? How do they get along? Do you like your child’s friends? Do you have any concerns about your child’s friendships or problems that may be happening with other children (such as bullying)?
Activities. What does your child like to do for fun? Is he or she involved in after-school activities such as sports, scouting, or music classes?
Family interaction. How are things at home? Does your child have good relationships with others in the family? Does he or she talk to you about problems? How is the child’s behavior at home?
Behavior and participation at school. How does your child act at school? Does the child follow the classroom routine and take part in group activities? What do teachers say about the child’s behavior? Is homework finished on time? Do you or other family members help with homework?
Household chores. Does your child help around the house with chores such as taking out the trash or setting the table?
Teaching your child healthy eating and lifestyle habits can lead to a lifetime of good health. To help, set a good example with your words and actions. Remember, good habits formed now will stay with your child forever. Here are some tips:
Help your child get at least 30 to 60 minutes of active play per day. Moving around helps keep your child healthy. Go to the park, ride bikes, or play active games like tag or ball.
Limit “screen time” to 1 hour each day. This includes time spent watching TV, playing video games, using the computer, and texting. If your child has a TV, computer, or video game console in the bedroom, replace it with a music player. For many kids, dancing and singing are fun ways to get moving.
Limit sugary drinks. Soda, juice, and sports drinks lead to unhealthy weight gain and tooth decay. Water and low-fat or nonfat milk are best to drink. In moderation (6 ounces for a child 6 years old and 12 ounces for a child 7 to 10 years old daily), 100% fruit juice is OK. Save soda and other sugary drinks for special occasions.
Serve nutritious foods. Keep a variety of healthy foods on hand for snacks, including fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains. Foods like french fries, candy, and snack foods should only be served rarely.
Serve child-sized portions. Children don’t need as much food as adults. Serve your child portions that make sense for his or her age and size. Let your child stop eating when he or she is full. If your child is still hungry after a meal, offer more vegetables or fruit.
Ask the healthcare provider about your child’s weight. Your child should gain about 4 to 5 pounds each year. If your child is gaining more than that, talk to the healthcare provider about healthy eating habits and exercise guidelines.
Bring your child to the dentist at least twice a year for teeth cleaning and a checkup.
Now that your child is in school, a good night’s sleep is even more important. At this age, your child needs about 10 hours of sleep each night. Here are some tips:
Set a bedtime and make sure your child follows it each night.
TV, computer, and video games can agitate a child and make it hard to calm down for the night. Turn them off at least an hour before bed. Instead, read a chapter of a book together.
Remind your child to brush and floss his or her teeth before bed. Directly supervise your child's dental self-care to make sure that both the back teeth and the front teeth are cleaned.
Recommendations to keep your child safe include the following:
When riding a bike, your child should wear a helmet with the strap fastened. While roller-skating, roller-blading, or using a scooter or skateboard, it’s safest to wear wrist guards, elbow pads, and knee pads, as well as a helmet.
In the car, continue to use a booster seat until your child is taller than 4 feet 9 inches. At this height, kids are able to sit with the seat belt fitting correctly over the collarbone and hips. Ask the healthcare provider if you have questions about when your child will be ready to stop using a booster seat. All children younger than 13 should sit in the back seat.
Teach your child not to talk to strangers or go anywhere with a stranger.
Teach your child to swim. Many communities offer low-cost swimming lessons. Do not let your child play in or around a pool unattended, even if he or she knows how to swim.
Based on recommendations from the CDC, at this visit your child may receive the following vaccines:
Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (age 6 only)
Human papillomavirus (HPV) (ages 9 and up)
Influenza (flu), annually
Measles, mumps, and rubella (age 6)
Polio (age 6)
Varicella (chickenpox) (age 6)
Bedwetting, or urinating when sleeping, can be frustrating for both you and your child. But it’s usually not a sign of a major problem. Your child’s body may simply need more time to mature. If a child suddenly starts wetting the bed, the cause is often a lifestyle change (such as starting school) or a stressful event (such as the birth of a sibling). But whatever the cause, it’s not in your child’s direct control. If your child wets the bed:
Keep in mind that your child is not wetting on purpose. Never punish or tease a child for wetting the bed. Punishment or shaming may make the problem worse, not better.
To help your child, be positive and supportive. Praise your child for not wetting and even for trying hard to stay dry.
Two hours before bedtime, don’t serve your child anything to drink.
Remind your child to use the toilet before bed. You could also wake him or her to use the bathroom before you go to bed yourself.
Have a routine for changing sheets and pajamas when the child wets. Try to make this routine as calm and orderly as possible. This will help keep both you and your child from getting too upset or frustrated to go back to sleep.
Put up a calendar or chart and give your child a star or sticker for nights that he or she doesn’t wet the bed.
Encourage your child to get out of bed and try to use the toilet if he or she wakes during the night. Put night-lights in the bedroom, hallway, and bathroom to help your child feel safer walking to the bathroom.
If you have concerns about bedwetting, discuss them with the healthcare provider.
Next checkup at: _______________________________
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