Author: Dr. Monica Wonnacott

STAGES: 4 YEARS

Pediatricians, like parents, are not supposed to admit favorites. However, if I’m completely honest, 4 years is my favorite age. Four year-olds are perfectly articulate, have wonderful imaginations, want to learn, say the funniest things, generally desire to please, and still accept what you say as fact. Safety Car: Use an appropriate-sized booster seat in the back seat of the car. Children should be in a booster between 4 and 8 years old, and 40-60 lbs. Seat belts alone should not be used until the belt fits securely across the child’s hips; and the belt should not come up on...

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STAGES: 3 YEARS

Three year-olds are self-determined individuals with a good sense of right and wrong. They understand that they can influence the world around them and have discovered the art of talking their way out of a situation. It’s the delightfully funny, yet tiresome age of “why, why, why.” I resolved as a mother I would never answer “because,” yet I find myself struggling at times to come up with another answer after the tenth “why?”. Safety Car: Use an appropriate-sized convertible car seat in the back seat of the car. I like a 5 point harness style. Some large/tall 3...

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STAGES: 2 YEARS

I can’t figure out why two year-olds get such a bad rap. I’ve got a two year-old and I keep waiting for the proverbial other shoe to drop. Frankly, I think it’s a lot easier than the 15- or 18-month stage, because they are finally able to articulate their wants and desires.They can tell you what is going on in their little minds, and that to me is a beautiful thing. Sure they still have their moments demonstrating independence in the grocery store, but what child doesn’t right? As far as I’m concerned, two isn’t so terrible. Safety Car:...

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STAGES: 18-21 YEARS

Many changes and responsibilities accompany becoming a “legal” adult. Decisions during 18-21 years of age have been made as to vocation and higher education. Many have moved away from home and are living on their own or with roommates. As unbelievable as it may seem to a parent, many young adults have partners, are married, or have even started their own families. Safety Substance Use and Abuse: Do NOT use tobacco, drugs, alcohol, steroids, diet pills, etc. If you do, talk to your doctor about getting help to stop. Support friends that do not use drugs or alcohol. Basic...

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STAGES: 16-17 YEARS

Most 16-17 year-olds are finished with puberty, have a good sense of self, and are seeking the approval, acceptance, and love of others at this age. Driving and independence are a major part of this age group. Parents often find this age a refreshing change from the emotional and dramatic times of the early teenage years. Many 16-17 year olds are starting to think about the future and life after high school. Safety Substance Use and Abuse: This topic must be addressed. It is not unreasonable to have the expectation that your adolescent should NOT use tobacco, drugs, alcohol,...

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Dr. Monica Wonnacott


I'm a pediatrician and a mom. PediatricAnswers.com is my blog where parents can get the straight scoop on their child's health, largely based on my experience in the office and at home. I don't diagnose on the site, so please don't ask. These are just my opinions. Use this site as a resource. And trust your parent gut.

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