Eating meals together as a family has many benefits. Mealtime is a great time to let your child tell you about his interests, concerns, and worries. Encourage your child to talk and to listen to others as they share stories and experiences. This helps keep your family feeling close and connected. Children who have meals with their families are less likely to smoke, drink, and abuse drugs, and more likely to do well in school.
You can model healthy eating by what you eat and how much you eat. Select foods from all food groups (protein foods, dairy, grains, fruits, and vegetables) for a healthy diet. Give small portions of food to your child. If he is still hungry, let him have seconds. Serve healthy snacks like cheese, fruit, and yogurt. Avoid junk foods and soda pop.
At this age children usually become more cooperative in their play with other children. They are curious and imaginative.
Allow privacy while your child is changing clothes or using the bathroom. When your child starts asking for privacy, let him know that you think this is good.
Some children still wet the bed at night. If your child wets the bed regularly, ask your child’s healthcare provider about ways to help your child.
Read to your child every day. Make reading a part of the evening ritual. Set rules about TV watching. Limit total TV and video watching to no more than 1 to 2 hours a day. Don’t let your child watch shows with violence or sexual behaviors. If you allow TV, watch with your child and talk about the program. For the rest of the time, choose other activities, like reading, games, singing, and physical activity. Don’t put a TV in your child's bedroom. Having a TV, computer, or video game in your child's bedroom increases your child's risk for obesity, sleep disorders, and attention problems.
Your child will still break some rules at this age. If your child breaks a rule, after a short, clear, and gentle explanation, immediately find a place for your child to sit alone. It’s very important for the "time-out" to happen right after the rule is broken. Time-outs should last 1 minute for each year of age.
Don’t send your child to his room for time-outs. A bedroom should not feel like a place of punishment.
Ask your child’s healthcare provider if you have questions about discipline or need help with behavior problems.
It’s important to take care of your child’s baby teeth because they help your child chew food and speak clearly. They also help save space for the permanent teeth that will come in later. You can help care for your child’s teeth by following these tips:
Accidents are the number-one cause of serious injury and death in children. Keep your child away from knives, power tools, or mowers.
Traffic and Bicycle Safety
Fires and Burns
Immunizations protect your child against several serious, life-threatening diseases. Your child will probably receive shots such as:
Your child may have a fever and be irritable for a few days after getting shots. Your child may also have some soreness, redness, and swelling where the shots were given. Ask your healthcare provider what symptoms or problems you should watch for and what to do if your child has them.
Be sure to check your child's shot records before starting school to make sure he or she has all of the required vaccinations. Be sure to bring your child's shot record to all visits with your provider.
A routine checkup every year is recommended.