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Care Stages: How Does My Elementary School Child Grow?

Lisa Tabachnick
April 5, 2009

Grades 1-3

Our kids are always changing. Physically, intellectually and emotionally, we're constantly looking out for our youngsters and making sure they reach certain milestones as they grow. Starting in first grade, around the age of 6, your child may be continuing or starting to attend elementary school, making new friends, trying a variety of activities and becoming more independent.

At this stage, you might consider whether a different type of child care may be needed. For instance, your 6- or 7-year-old child may have been happy and thriving at a small home daycare when she was a preschooler, but now that she's in grade school, she might benefit more from the social stimulation and challenge of a daycare center or even an energetic teenage babysitter.

Key developmental topics for parents of kids aged 6 to 7 years

  • Stress
  • According to the the American Academy of Pediatrics, even very young children can feel stress -- watch out for changes in your child's behavior during or after major events such as divorce, death of a family member or friend, bullying, or starting a new school.

    If you feel your child is stressed, you can:

    • Try to ease his anxiety by letting him know he can talk to you at any time.
    • Make sure his week isn't overscheduled and that it allows for some "downtime."
    • Remember that a moderate amount of stress is good. It can motivate your child to work harder and participate more fully in school and play.
    • But if your child is showing signs of severe stress such as ongoing stomach or headaches, crying jags, or falling grades, take him to the pediatrician or family doctor for a consultation.
  • Diet
  • In the U.S., more that 9 million children are affected by obesity.

    • Make sure your elementary school-aged child has a healthy view of nutrition, diet, and food.
    • You can also ensure that caregivers are aware of nutritious eating with the official food pyramid which can be found at teamnutrition.usda.gov
  • Schedule
  • Make sure your child's day isn't over-scheduled. When attending school and/or after-school care, kids need some downtime too. According to KidsHealth.org, possible signs that your little one is over-scheduled include:

    • Feeling tired, anxious, or depressed.
    • Complaining of headaches or stomachaches which may be a sign of stress or missed sleep.
    • Falling behind in school work causing their grades to drop.
  • Bedtime
  • Bedtime might change due to maturity, play dates, trips, or evening activities.

    • Try your best to keep a regular bedtime routine with your youngster that includes: a consistent "lights out" time; winding down about 30 prior to bedtime with lowered lights, brushing teeth, going to the bathroom, and reading a story. Having this routine in place will help your babysitter too! Check out Care.com's Bedtime Guide for ways you can help your sitter put your child to bed.
    • Remind your child how important a good night's sleep is for everyone including parents!
  • Safety
  • According to Health Canada, injury is the leading cause of death for children and teens and many of these injuries occur in the home. Here are some tips for maintaining a healthy and safe home for you and your school-aged children:

    • Keep matches and lighters out of reach.
    • Keep children away from cooking areas and always watch pots and pans on the stove.
    • Be prepared in case of an emergency -- have a fire safety plan and share it with babysitters, nannies, caregivers, visitors, and grandparents
    • Stay abreast of car seat needs and changes and keep all caregivers and teachers who transport your child in-the-know.

    Here's to fun and fulfilling years with your 6- and 7-year-old!

Lisa Tabachnick Hotta writes about parenting and other issues for Care.com. A freelance writer, editor and researcher, she has two young children.

* This article is for general informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be providing medical advice and is not a substitute for such advice. The reader should always consult a health care provider concerning any medical condition or treatment plan.?? Neither Care.com nor the author assumes any responsibility or liability with respect to use of any information contained herein.

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