Eating meals together as a family has many benefits. Mealtime is a great time to let your child tell you about her 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. Your child should eat 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Your child should have at least 2 cups of low-fat milk or other dairy products each day. Limit sugary foods and high-fat snacks.
Children at this age are imaginative, get along well with friends their own age, and have lots of energy. Be sure to praise children when they share things with each other.
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.
Five-year-olds usually are able to dress and undress themselves, understand rules in a game, and brush their own teeth. Your child may enjoy helping to choose and prepare the family meals with supervision.
Read to your child every day. Make reading a part of the evening ritual. Limit use of the TV, DVDs, or computer to 1 or 2 hours a day of high-quality children's programming. Participate with your child and discuss the content with her. Do not let your child watch shows with violence or sexual behaviors. For the rest of the time, encourage other activities, like reading, hobbies, 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.
For behaviors that you would like to encourage in your child, try to catch your child being good. Tell your child how proud you are when she does things that help you or others.
Find ways to reduce dangerous or hurtful behaviors. Also teach your child to apologize. Try time-outs by sending your child to a quiet, boring corner without anything to do for 5 minutes when she misbehaves. Do not send your child to their room. A bedroom should not feel like a place of punishment.
Talk to your child’s healthcare provider if you need help with behavior problems.
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 should get a flu shot every year. Your child’s healthcare provider will let you know if your child is up to date on all recommended vaccinations. Bring your child's shot record to all visits with your provider.
A routine checkup every year is recommended.