Age: 9-10 Years
Kids this age have a good sense of self. They tend to be confident and hopeful. They have friends, interact well with others, and have good relationships with family. They are just beginning to seek the influence of those outside of their home to form opinions and new ideas. They will often have a “best friend.” This is also an age of accountability. They have more responsibilities both at home and school. They develop confidence and a sense of accomplishment as they learn new things, complete homework, and take part in jobs at home.
- Car: Ride in the back seat of the car only. Most can transition out of a booster seat by this age. The general guideline is to continue to use a booster until the child is 4’ 9” (53”), for most kids this is around 9 years old. To use the regular seat of the car, your child should be able to sit upright against the back of the seat and have his/her knees bend over the edge of the seat. The lap portion of the seat belt should fit securely across the child’s hips, not up on the stomach at all and the shoulder strap should cross at the collarbone, not the face or neck. (Note: do NOT use after market products that adjust the position of the should strap of the seat belt).
- Adults: Teach rules on safety with other adults.
- No adult should tell a child to keep secrets from parents
- No adult should ask to see/touch private body parts (either the child’s or the adult’s)
- Smoking: Make sure your home and cars are smoke-free zones. Discuss the dangers of nicotine, both smoking and vaping. Also, check smoke alarms to ensure that they work properly, and change batteries annually.
- Water: Make sure your child knows how to swim. They should still not swim unattended.. Wear sunscreen.
- Helmets: Wear a helmet on all things a kid can ride (e.g., bicycles, scooters, go carts, skateboards, ATVs, etc.).
- Guns: Lock guns with ammunition separate and in a gun safe. (Disturbing Fact: More children are killed from guns every year than are intruders.)
- Household: Reinforce home safety rules including how to use emergency numbers (e.g., 911) and what to do in case of fire or disaster.
- Sports: Teach safety in sports, including using protective gear (e.g., mouth guards, helmets, knee pads).
- Media: Family computers and laptops should be in an easily seen place in the home.
- Install safety filters
- Teach children how to navigate the internet safely (e.g., do not give out personal information, what to do when you encounter inappropriate content, etc.)
- Provide 3 meals and 1-2 nutritious snacks a day.
- Limit the number of fats and sweets your child gets in a day. Soft drinks/soda do not belong in a child’s diet, instead encourage lots of water.
- Teach the importance of eating a balanced diet. Help your child choose lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and good sources of protein.
- Dairy products should be low fat. If your child isn’t a big milk drinker, just ensure your child is getting enough calcium and vitamin D from other sources (e.g., almond milk, milk products, supplements, etc.).
- Eat meals as a family (around a table with no media). Not only does eating together as a family develop good nutritional habits, it has multiple lasting effects on the social support of a family.
- Model good eating habits. Teach the concept of listening to our body’s hunger cues (e.g., eat when you are hungry, stop when you are satisfied).
- Keep in mind it is very difficult to eat healthy when eating out (especially at fast food restaurants).
- Give a multivitamin daily only if your child is not eating a balanced diet.
Children this age need 9-10 hours of sleep at night.
- Should be reading chapter books without trouble
- Conquering age appropriate math skills (including multiplication)
- Can write a proper paragraph
- Engages in organized sports/games (understanding the concept of team play and rules)
- Can easily make and keep friends
- Understands nonviolent conflict-resolution techniques
- Good at solving problems and making decisions
- Continue to brush twice daily and floss once a day
- Should continue to see a dentist every 6 months.
- Fluoride supplementation depends on the level of fluoride in the drinking water in the city where you live (your pediatrician or dentist can prescribe it if needed).
- Media Exposure: Set up limits on media (e.g., time and content). Consider making a family media use plan (www.healthychildren.org/MediaUsePlan). Establish media free zones/times (e.g., bedrooms, dinner table, family time).
- Sexual Education: If you haven’t discussed sex, puberty, masturbation, and pornography, now is the time to do so. Be direct and honest. Always use the correct anatomical terms.
- Social Interactions: Praise your child for accomplishments. When correcting, make the clear distinction that the choices a child makes, not the child him/herself is bad. Encourage your child to talk about feelings and experiences at school and with friends. Ensure that you know your child’s friends and their families. Make a plan in case your child feels unsafe/uncomfortable at a friend’s house. Discuss bullying.
- Family life: Spend time with your child both individually and together with siblings. Acknowledge conflicts between siblings. Come to a resolution without taking sides. Do not tolerate violence. Provide personal space for your child at home.
- Exercise: Aim for a minimum of 60 mins of physical activity a day. Model and encourage an active lifestyle.
- Learning Experiences: Make sure your child is reading at least 20 mins every day. You may enjoy reading books together. Provide educational opportunities (this a good age for music lessons, visiting museums, etc.).
- Discipline: Discipline is about teaching, not punishment. Set limits. Be consistent. Ensure your child knows the house rules (e.g., bedtime rules, respect for others). Teach natural consequences for unacceptable behavior (e.g., deny a privilege until chores are done). Set reasonable expectations. Teach how to resolve conflicts and handle anger.
- Chores: Give your child chores and household responsibilities (e.g., unload the dishwasher, keep own room clean, fold and put away laundry, etc.). Having predictable, set jobs every day help with consistency and setting expectations. Teach your child responsibility for personal belongings.
- School: Meet with your child’s teacher. Become involved with school. Know some of the kids in your child’s class (esp. his/her friends) so you can ask about them and be involved.
Treat fever and minor illnesses at home as long as your child looks and acts ok. Bring your child to the doctor if: symptoms are severe or prolonged (e.g., fever beyond 5 days, bad cough, etc.), your child has signs of dehydration, your child reports specific symptoms (e.g., sore throat, hurt arm, etc.), your child has difficult or labored breathing, your child is lethargic, or you are concerned.
YOUR NEXT VISIT
Your child’s next well child check is in 1 year. Be advised that Jr. High shots can be given as early as 11 years of age. Screening baseline cholesterol and CBC will also be done at that visit, so it is ideal to come fasting (first morning appointments make this easier). If the idea of a blood draw is going to cause your child a lot of anxiety, please ask us for a prescription for EMLA cream prior to the visit. Apply it 30 mins prior to the appointment.