Nurturing Care- School-aged Children


At this age it’s important to teach your children how to make healthy food choices. Teach your children that fruits and vegetables (the more colorful the better) provide nutrients and vitamins that their bodies need to grow and fight off infections.  Explain that sweet drinks and crisps are not healthy and should be avoided. 

Family meals: Eating healthy meals (wide variety of foods from the food groups) as a family ensures children eat better and strengthens their relationship with you. Serve whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins for meals and snacks

Responsive Caregiving

Having an open and safe relationship with parents helps children thrive. Make time to listen to your children. Ask them about their day, what they are learning, what they like to do, and about their friends. Make sure your children know you love them and they can come to you with any concern.  Friends of the same gender are important to school age kids.  Encourage healthy friendships.

School-aged children thrive in a routine. Set clear and consistent expectations for how to treat others, do chores, keep a schedule, and do homework.  Setting a consistent bedtime ensures children get the 8 to 10 hours of sleep they need each night.  

Talk with your spouse and agree on the rules in your home.  Encourage and praise your child when he is doing a good job.  Develop a plan for consistently disciplining your children when he  doesn’t obey.  One method is to give a warning (“that’s one”) the first time he disobeys.  If he does it again or doesn’t obey right away give a second warning (“that’s two”).  If he doesn’t obey a third time, say “that’s three.  Time for time-out.”  Have your child sit in a time-out spot (naughty chair) for one minute per year of age.  Consistently following a plan teaches children the expectations while parents remain calm.


Children are establishing their own identity and figuring out their interests and abilities.  Children who have encouragement and help from their parents do better in school. Encourage your children to read often. Discover her interests and help her learn more about those topics.  Children learn better when their strengths are pointed out and encouraged rather than being shamed or punished when not performing well. 

See a pediatrician if your child’s grades at school drop dramatically. There can be social, emotional, and even physical reasons why a child that was once doing well is not thriving. 

Security and Safety

Bullying-As children are learning how to play and work with others they can exclude or be mean to other children.  If you notice that your child has unexplained injuries or doesn’t want to go to school, then talk to your child’s teacher to see if there is a problem with peers or bullying. If the school administration is not supportive and it doesn’t seem like a safe place, then consider moving schools as consistent bullying can have long term effects.  Listen to your child. Explain how to choose friends wisely and how to be a good friend. 

Seat belts– Everyone should wear a seat belt every time they ride in a car to decrease the chance of serious injury or death from a car accident.  Children under 12 years of age should also sit in the back seat.

Injuries– Children should wear helmets when riding bikes  and proper sports equipment to decrease the risk of injuries.  Wash wounds immediately with soap and water to prevent infection. Teach your child not to touch the blood of others. Take your child to the clinic for a tetanus immunization if wounded and has not been immunized in the last five years.  Secure injured extremities with a splint (you can use cardboard or a piece of wood) and apply an ice pack as you go to the clinic for evaluation. 

Sexual Abuse–  Sadly, sexual abuse is common. Children that are at highest risk are those that are unsupervised, especially at night. Teach your child which body parts are private and how to protect her body from others looking or touching.  Ensure that any childcare situation has at least 2 adults present.  As parents, it is your responsibility to teach your children about puberty and sex.  Learning from a trusted parent helps establish a safe relationship that will ensure you are approachable should your child have any concerns.  (At you can find a dialogue that can help you discuss sex with your child.)

Pedestrian Safety– Teach your child to pay attention when walking, to face traffic, and to cross the road in groups on a straight stretch after looking both ways.  When possible, walk your child home from school.

Screens– Limit the amount of time your child watches TV, plays video games, and gets on the internet. Monitor what your child is watching. Protect your family from sexual media content and pornography. 

Good Health

Teeth– Teeth need to be brushed for two minutes morning and night with toothpaste that has fluoride in it. Don’t rinse the mouth after brushing so that the fluoride stays on the teeth. Do not eat or drink anything sweet after brushing teeth at night. Take your child to the dentist for tooth pain, any holes, white spots, or black spots on the teeth. 

Eyes– If your child is unable to read the teacher’s writing on the board from the back of the room, or your child is complaining of headaches then take your child to an optometrist for a vision screen. 

Malaria–  Any fever needs to be checked immediately for malaria. Malaria can become serious fast if not treated. Everyone should sleep under a long-lasting insecticide treated mosquito net to help prevent malaria.

Raising children is the most challenging job in the world, but can also be one of the most rewarding. We want to help you be nurturing parents, raising healthy children. For more information for raising kids click on the links in this article above.

Here is a printable copy of the above information:

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