Your child is becoming more independent as his or her social environment and understanding of his or her world continues to expand. At home you will find your child might be eager to participate in household decisions and activities. Although it might be tempting to often "do it yourself," encourage your child to participate. Don’t expect perfection, but do praise your child’s achievements.
It is always fascinating to watch your child’s sense of humor blossom as his or her understanding of concepts becomes more complex. Your child starts to develop a clearer understanding of cause and effect. He or she learns that certain actions have consequences, thus moral character continues to evolve. Remember you are one of the most important roles models your child will have throughout life. Don’t let television and electronic games steal precious time you should share with your child. Keep the lines of communication open. Children become more curious about sexual development, drugs, and career choices. Discuss these issues with your child.
Outside of the home, you will find the opinion of your child’s peer becomes increasingly important. Your child will continue to initiate new friendships but will also learn that the termination of inappropriate friendships is the beginning of a lifelong process.
In school, it is important to monitor for the emergence of learning difficulties. As a parent, take initiative. Discuss issues with the teachers and/or principal of the school. Educators want their children to learn. They should outline specific teaching strategies and goals to achieve in overcoming difficulties. Your pediatrician might act as a liaison in the education process.
Remember to praise your child’s accomplishments.
- Poison-proof your home, paying special attention to cabinets at child level. In the event your child ingests a potentially harmful substance, keep the container and call the poison control center toll-free at 1.800.222.1222. A representative will tell you what to do.
- Children should always wear helmets when riding their bikes. Bikes need to follow traffic patterns, and riding should be limited to safe areas during daylight hours.
- Children should wear protective equipment when roller blading/skating.
- Everyone should wear his or her seat belt.
- Teach your child to swim.
- Keep firearms unloaded and out of your child’s reach if you must keep them in the house at all.
- Talk about alcohol, smoking, drugs and other dangerous behaviors so that your child is exposed to them in a realistic way and understands the dangers. Don’t wait for your child to learn from his or her peers.
- Make arrangements for adult supervision when you must be out of the house for any period of time.
- Monitor television programs and movies your child is exposed to, and set time limits for watching television.
- Keep lines of communication open with your child now so that he or she stays that way as adolescence approaches.