Having many or most meals together as a family is desirable. Mealtime is a great time to allow the child to tell you of her day, interests, concerns, and worries. Encourage your child to talk and listen to others at the table.
Balance good nutrition with what your child wants to eat. Major battles over what your child wants to eat are not worth the emotional cost. Bring only healthy foods home from the grocery store. Choose snacks wisely. Children should drink soda pop only rarely. Low-fat or skim milk is usually a healthier choice.
Growth in height and weight during this year should remain steady. If your child has rapid weight gain or no weight gain for more than 3 months, then you should check with your doctor. Kids usually have a lot of energy at this age. Make sure there is ample opportunity to run and play outdoors.
Physical skills vary widely at age 7. Find activities that fit the physical aptitudes of your child. Ask your doctor for more information about choosing a sport that fits your child's interests and body type. Fine motor skills improve greatly during this age. Children often develop improved writing. Let your child know that you see how he or she is improving.
Finding compatible friends is very important. Children are becoming very concerned about what other kids think about them. Talk with your child about both the enjoyable and difficult aspects of friendships. Teach your child about helping people "save face" when they are angry or embarrassed. Be sure your child has the opportunity to learn about leadership. Group activities allow your child the chance to learn leadership skills.
Use encouraging words when speaking with your child. Kids have a strong need to feel like they are valued in the family and with their friends.
The ingredients to build a strong conscience include a warm and caring family, a strict code of conduct, and consistent and firm enforcement of the rules. Model how you wish your child to behave.
The elementary school years are a period which parents and children can enjoy reading together. Reading will promote learning in school, too. Make reading a part of the pre-bedtime ritual.
Do not let electronic games take up too much of your child’s attention. Limit TV, computers, and electronic game time to a total of 1 or 2 hours per day. Be sure to watch some of the programs with your child and discuss the show. Carefully select the programs you allow your child to view. Avoid violent programming. Do not put a television in your child's bedroom.
Your child should brush his teeth at least twice a day and should have regular visits to the dentist. Brushing teeth after meals is important, but it is most important for your child to brush teeth at bedtime. Check your child's teeth after he has brushed. Encourage your child to floss teeth before bedtime.
Sealants (plastic coatings on the chewing surface of the molar teeth) may help prevent tooth decay. Ask your child’s dentist about this.
Accidents are the number one cause of deaths in children. Kids like to take risks at this age but are not well prepared to judge the degree of those risks. Therefore, children still need close supervision at this age. Parents should model safe choices.
Fires and Burns
Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety
An annual influenza shot is recommended for children up until 18 years of age. Additional vaccines are also sometimes given when children travel outside the country. The next routine vaccines are given to children at 11 years of age. Ask your doctor if you are uncertain if your child has received all recommended immunizations. Be sure to bring your child's shot record to all visits with your child's doctor.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that your child's next routine check-up be at 8 years of age.