Child Development Milestones for the School Going Child and Top 6 Parenting Concerns

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From five years to ten years your child will most probably have started formal education. The growth and development will be much slower compared to the preschool years, but you will still see a lot of changes. Each year, expect to see an average of 3kg and 2.5 inches of growth. Your child will also be losing about four baby teeth annually.

These are the changes to expect.

1. 5 to 6 Years

Physical developmentChild Development

  • Can coordinate riding a two-wheel bike with training
  • Can skip rope and play hop
  • Correctly grips a pen and pencil
  • Can do basic hygiene practices like brushing teeth and comb hair
  • Ties shoelaces
  • It becomes apparent whether the child is left or right handed
  • Starts losing baby teeth

Social and emotional development

  • Becomes protective of family, pets, and friends
  • Begins to exclude other kids from games
  • Enjoys rule-based games

[Read More about The Preschooler]

Cognitive development

  • Thinking and reasoning skills develop so fast, but the ability to solve problems remains simple
  • Can mention letters and numbers backward
  • Can organize objects into categories
  • Can write several sentences

The warning signs

Seek professional medical help if your child;

  • Does not show any interest to play with others
  • Cannot perform self-care activities like dressing up
  • Frequently bumps over objects and people

2. 7 to 9 Years

Physical development

  • Can ride a two-wheel bike
  • Can swim
  • Enjoys team games
  • All fine motors skills are well developed

Social and emotional development

  • Starts getting influenced by the outside world views
  • Can resolve complex issues with friends or siblings
  • Enjoys sleepovers

Cognitive development

  • Can do additions and subtractions by partitioning
  • Can read and understand text without much graphics and pictures
  • Mastered the rules of grammar

The red flags

You should be concerned if the child;

  • Becomes frustrated with the ability to express themselves
  • Does not enjoy school
  • Isolates from friends

3. The Tenth Birthday

Physical development

  • The growth spurt begins
  • Prefers eating and sleeping
  • Acne and body odor may occur as puberty sets in

Social and emotional development

  • Friendships blossom and gets a best friend of the same gender
  • It is more important for them to fit in with their peers
  • Starts feeling embarrassed by their parents in public
  • Wants independence from family members
  • Seeks more privacy

Cognitive development

  • Can solve three-digit calculations
  • Reads longer texts faster
  • Can write precise and detailed information

Hitting the tenth digit birthday is not only a significant achievement for you but also for the child. They begin to understand their hopes, needs, and get motivation for more prominent achievements in their life. It is an important time for the development of their mind, as they assert their role and space in life. You will therefore not only be concentrating on nurturing the child’s physical aspects but also their inner self.

Routine Checkups

After five years, some parents are not keen on regular well-visits to the doctor. However, routine checkups (at least once in a year) allow the doctor to keep a keen eye on the growth and development of the child. You also get to discuss your concerns during those appointments. Routine dental care is also critical, as the kid will be losing their baby teeth and getting their adult set.

During the wellness visits, the doctor will basically be checking the following:

  • Weight and height to track the growth chart and see whether the child is growing as expected.
  • Check the child’s body mass index and advise accordingly on either weight loss or weight gain
  • Assess hearing and vision
  • Review the immunization status
  • Check the emotional, social and cognitive development

Common concerns

1.Nutrition

During the school going age, you will see a slow but steady state of growth, which requires healthy foods and nutritious snacks. The child needs four to five meals with snacks per day. Many food habits, preferences, and dislikes may set in during this age, and family, friends and the media may influence most of these changes. On the positive side, children in this age are more willing to try a variety of foods than when they were younger.

You can choose foods from the five food group categories (whole grains, vegetables, fruits, dairy products and proteins). Opt for fruits, vegetable, yogurts, cereal and healthy sandwiches for snacks, especially after school when the appetite is big. Limit added sugars and high-fat foods.

For proteins, choose seafood (helps in immunity and brain development), lean meats, poultry products, beans, unsalted nuts, and seeds. They will need this category for muscle gain as at this stage that baby fat is lost as lean mass is gained. Encourage the child to take fruits preferably fresh, dried, canned or frozen, instead of fruit juices. If you insist on juice, limit to only 1 cup (8 ounces) per day. Aim to give your child vegetables in each meal that you serve. If choosing canned or frozen veggies, go for the products that are low in sodium. Grains are better eaten as whole grains rather than the highly processed options. For dairy, at this age, you can give fat-free or low-fat products.

[Related: Deal with a picky eater]

Let your child help with meal planning and preparation. You will be setting up a precedence for healthy habits, even when the child is old enough to move out. When the meal is ready, set it on the dinner table and not in front of the TV, to avoid distractions.

2. Physical activity

Children also need to be physically active, just like adults do. If not, they are at risk of obesity and lifestyle diseases later in life. Set at least 60 minutes which does not have to be highly structured. The key point is to limit screen time and encourage the child to move around. Encourage the child to play with other children, visit the park, ride a bike with you or friends, take a walk or take part in creative art activities. These activities may not seem to be such a great deal, but they significantly help in not only physical health but also eye-hand coordination.

3. Sleeping patterns

At this age, the child needs 9 to 12 hours of sleep every night. Most children do not have trouble with sleep at this stage, but a few have nighttime fears, nightmares and snoring problems which affect sleep. Lack of sleep can affect the child’s school performance. This is because sleep deprivation affects concentration, attention, decision-making, and problem solving of the child. It can also make the child extra moody, and that means more discipline issues.

To ensure that your child gets adequate sleep, set a routine schedule for the child to get to bed, and stick to it every day (including weekends). If it needs to vary, it should not be more than two hours.  Keep the tv, computer games and anything else that may be distracting away from your kid’s bedroom.

4. Sibling rivalry

Sibling rivalry is a common concern at this stage although for some siblings it may start right after the birth of the second child. It is normal as each child competes to define who they are as an individual. The encouraging thing is that the children outgrow the rivalry and become very close after childhood. There is a lot that you can do for the children to solve their conflicts amicably.

Here are some tips to help the siblings get along better

  • Do not show any preference whatsoever of one kid over the other
  • Never compare the children to one another- each is unique in their own way
  • Do not dismiss any feelings of the siblings
  • Avoid judgmental responses
  • Enjoy and encourage each child on their strengths
  • Set the kids to cooperate with each other rather than compete
  • Plan family activities that are fun to every family member
  • Set some “alone time” with each child doing what they enjoy and letting them know how they are special to you
  • Listen to what each child has to say
  • When possible, let the siblings solve their own differences but judge wisely when to step in
  • If the rivalry progresses to physical or excessive verbal violence, you need to take action
  • Develop an evenly distributed system of sharing coveted privileges
  • If you need to discipline one child and not the other, do it in private to avoid escalating negativity

5. Adjusting to school

For the child to transition from home to school, they will need support not only in adapting to the school environment but also in performance. The child is expected to become proficient in writing, reading, calculations and a lot of facts and information about the world. Teachers do so much to equip children with these skills, but as a parent, you have a critical role to play too. Ask the child what they learned each day and support them in doing the assignments. That does not mean that you should provide direct answers but guidance. Also, listen to any concerns that the child has about school and watch out for signs of being bullied or bullying other children.

[Recommended: Early Childhood Education]

6. Screens and the internet

On the issues of computers and the internet, it is undeniable that your child needs to be computer literate for the sake of their future. Prudent use of computers can augment what the child learns, and for some schools, computers are an instruction tool. So, teach your child to navigate the internet safely, filter sites that contain adult content or chatrooms with people that can exploit children. Together with the child, develop rules and regulations outlining how much time the child is allowed to be on the computer and specify your expectations.

The nature of parenting a school going child significantly changes from how you were doing it in pre-school- the child is now more social and independent in nature. Your main goals will be to help them accomplish their essential developmental tasks, especially in school. You will therefore not only be a physical but also a psychological helper.

 

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