SCHOOL-AGE CHILD CARE
Three and four-year-old children are often called pre-schoolers.
Pre-school children want to touch, taste, smell, hear, and test things for themselves. They are eager to learn. They learn by experiencing and by doing. Preschoolers learn from their play. They are busy developing skills, using language, and mastering inner control.
They are more independent than toddlers. They can express their needs since they have greater command of language.
Fears often develop during the preschool years. Common fears include new places and experiences and separation from parents and other important people. He or she might use forbidden words and might act very silly. Preschoolers may still have trouble getting along with other children and sharing may still be difficult
Physical Development –
- They ride a tricycle.
- They catch a ball.
- They stand on one foot.
- They build towers of 6-9 blocks.
- They walk on tip toes.
- They jump horizontally.
- They handle small objects such as puzzles, and pegboards.
- They smear or daub paint.
- They draw or paint in circular and horizontal motions.
- They grow about 3 inches taller in a year.
- Social and Emotional Development –
- They need to know clear and consistent rules.
- They enjoy dramatic play with other children.
- Their emotions are usually extreme and short-lived.
- They need to be encouraged to express their feelings with words.
- They begin to learn to share.
Intellectual Development –
Preschool children learn best by doing.
- They need a variety of activities.
- They need indoor and outdoor space.
- They need a balance between active and quiet play.
- They can communicate their needs, ideas, and questions.
- Their attention span is a little longer so they can participate in group activities.
Physical Development –
- They run on tip toes.
- They hop on one foot.
- They begin to skip.
- They throw a ball overhand.
- They have more small muscle control.
- They can make representational pictures (for example, pictures of flowers, people, etc.)
- They like unzipping, unsnapping, and unbuttoning clothes.
- They dress themselves.
- They like lacing their own shoes.
- They can cut on a line with scissors.
- They can make designs and write crude letters.
- They are very active and aggressive in their play.
Social and Emotional Development –
- They sometimes have imaginary friends.
- They have very active imaginations.
- They need to feel important and worthwhile.
- They can be aggressive but want friends and enjoy being with other children.
- They enjoy pretending to be important adults such as mom, dad, nurse, doctor, mail carrier, police officer.
- They appreciate praise for their achievements.
- They need opportunities to feel more freedom and independence.
- They are learning to take turns and to share.
- Games and other activities can help preschoolers learn about taking turns.
Intellectual Development –
- They ask lots of questions, including “how” and “why” questions.
- They are very talkative. Their language includes silly words and profanity.
- They enjoy serious discussions.
- They should understand some basic concepts such as number, size, weight, color, texture, distance, time and position.
- Their classification skills and reasoning ability are developing.
YOUNG SCHOOL-AGE CHILDREN
Five, six and seven-year-old children are often excited about going to school and their new responsibilities. Their parents are still the most important persons in their lives.
With school-age children, it is important to set limits and let children know what is expected of them. Do this with a soft voice. Be patient and kind. Provide clear and consistent discipline. Each child needs to feel special and cared about in your care. Children in this stage are very enjoyable. They like to be helpful, especially to adults.
Physical Development –
- Growth is slow but steady.
- They have gained control of their major muscles.
- Most children have a good sense of balance.
- They can stand on one foot and walk on a balance beam.
- They enjoy performing physical tricks.
- They enjoy testing muscle strength and skills.
- They like to skip, run, tumble, and dance to music.
- They can catch small balls.
- They can manage buttons and zippers.
- They can learn to tie their shoelaces.
- They can copy designs and shapes including numbers and letters.
- They use utensils and tools correctly with supervision.
Social and Emotional Development –
- They think of themselves more than others until about age seven or eight.
- They play well in groups but may need some time to play alone.
- Many children have a best friend and an enemy.
- They tend to prefer playmates of the same sex.
- They do not like criticism or failure.
- It is best to have each child compete against himself or herself and not other children.
- They can be helpful with small chores.
- They have a strong need for love and attention from their parents.
- They are beginning to care about the feelings and needs of others.
- They may enjoy taking care of and playing with younger children.
- To them, “good” and “bad” are what parents and teachers approve or disapprove of. They are starting to develop a moral sense such as understanding honesty.
- They begin to develop a sense of humor and may enjoy nonsense rhymes, songs, and riddles.
- They become upset when their behavior or school work is criticized or ignored.
Intellectual Development –
- They can tell left from right.
- Their ability to speak and express themselves develops rapidly.
- This is important for success in school.
- They talk to each other about themselves and their families.
- During play, they practice using the words and language they learn in school.
- They start to understand time and days of the week.
- They like silly rhymes, riddles, and jokes.
- Their attention span is longer.
- They can follow more involved stories.
- They are learning letters and words.
- By six, most can read words or combinations of words.
OLDER SCHOOL-AGE CHILDREN
Physical Development – They are very active with lots of energy. Their fine motor and large motor skills have become much better.
Social/Emotional Development –
- They have a strong need to feel accepted and worthwhile.
- They show their ability to be independent by being disobedient, using back-talk and being rebellious.
- They prefer individual achievements over competition.
- They like encouragement and suggestions over competition.
- They still look to adults for approval.
- They begin to take responsibility for their own actions.
- They prefer to be with members of their own sex.
- They look up to and imitate older youth.
- They are beginning to build and understand friendship.
- They want to be accepted by the peer group.
Intellectual Development –
- They need opportunities to share thoughts and reactions.
- They see things as either “black or white.”
- They have interests which change often.
- They are easily motivated and eager to try new things.
- They usually do best when the work is done in small pieces.
- They need guidance from adults to stay at a task to achieve their best.
By age 5, most children are ready to start learning in a school setting. The first few years focus on learning the fundamentals.
In third grade, the focus becomes more complex. Reading becomes more about the content than identifying letters and words.
An ability to pay attention is important for success both at school and at home. A 6-year-old should be able to focus on a task for at least 15 minutes. By age 9, a child should be able to focus attention for about an hour.
Lying, cheating, and stealing are all examples of behaviors that school-age children may “try on” as they learn how to negotiate the expectations and rules placed on them by family, friends, school, and society. Parents should deal with these behaviors in private with their child (so that the child’s friends don’t tease them). Parents should show forgiveness, and punish in a way that is related to the behavior.
HOW TO HELP INCREASE YOUR SCHOOL-AGED CHILD’S SOCIAL ABILITY
- Model appropriate behavior.
- Offer compliments for your child being cooperative and for any personal achievements.
- Help your child choose activities that are appropriate for your child’s abilities.
- Encourage your child to talk with you and be open with his or her feelings.
- Encourage your child to read and read with your child.
- Encourage your child to get involved with hobbies and other activities.
- Encourage physical activity.
- Encourage self-discipline; expect your child to follow rules that are set.
- Teach your child to respect and listen to authority figures.
- Encourage your child to talk about peer pressure and help set guidelines to deal with peer pressure.
- Spend uninterrupted time together—giving full attention to your child.
- Limit television, video, and computer time
- Keep close communication with teachers, other school employees, and parents of your child’s friends so you are aware of possible problems.
- Encourage children to express themselves openly and talk about concerns without fear of punishment.
- While encouraging children to participate in a variety of social and physical experiences, be careful not to over-schedule free time. Free play or simple, quiet time is important so the child does not always feel pushed to perform.
- Children today are exposed, through the media and their peers, to many issues dealing with violence, sexuality, and substance abuse. Discuss these issues openly with your children to share concerns or correct misconceptions. You may need to set limits to ensure children will be exposed to certain issues only when they are ready.
- Encourage children to participate in constructive activities such as sports, clubs, arts, music, and scouts. Being inactive at this age increases the risk of lifetime obesity. However, it is important not to over-schedule your child. Try to find a balance between family time, school work, free play, and structured activities.
- School-age children should participate in family chores, such as setting the table and cleaning up.
- Limit screen time (television and other media) to 2 hours a day.
Safety is important for school-age children.
- Children should be taught to play sports in appropriate, safe, supervised areas, with proper equipment and rules. Bicycles, skateboards, in-line skates, and other types of recreational sports equipment should fit the child. They should use safety equipment such as knee, elbow, and wrist pads or braces, and helmets.
- Swimming and water safety lessons may help prevent drowning.
- Safety instruction regarding matches, lighters, barbecues, stoves, and open fires can prevent major burns.
- Wearing seat belts is the most important way to prevent major injury or death from a motor vehicle accident.
KIDS AND TECHNOLOGY
When it comes to technology, kids are not only starting to use it at a younger age, they are also using it in more situations, both at home and at school.
Today, technology for kids is a source of learning and entertainment.T.V. sometimes becomes the baby sitter.
What can parents of young children do now to make sure we don’t raise a generation of kids who are plugged into devices and tuned out to people?
PROBLEMS WITH TOO MUCH GADGET USE-
It may interfere with sleep. Getting enough sleep can be challenging enough for busy kids. They often have homework and after-school activities crammed into their weekdays and extracurricular activities and sports on weekends.Moreover, electronic stimulation, such as that from watching TV or using the computer, has been shown to interfere with sleep (both falling asleep and staying asleep).
It may cut into family time or personal interaction. When we are using technology such as computers, games, and TV, we are not interacting with one another. Since finding good quality time can be difficult for many families, allowing technology to cut into those moments is something parents may want to prevent as much as possible.
It may encourage short attention span. Studies have shown that too much screen time may be associated with attention problems.
It may interfere with schoolwork. Children who watch a lot of TV are more likely to have lower grades and read fewer books.
It may lead to less physical activity. More screen time has been associated with reduced physical activity and a higher risk of obesity in kids.
It may expose kids to too much advertising and inappropriate content. Many television shows and commercials depict sexuality and violence as well as stereotypes or drug and alcohol use. Many commercials also promote junk food and toys in powerful and alluring ways that are designed to get kids to want these items.
5 WAYS TO LIMIT TECHNOLOGY
Admittedly, it is easy to simply turn on the TV or let your kids play a video game when they complain about being bored. However, there are many options when it comes to finding alternative forms of entertainment. Letting kids use technology with limits can be achieved if you keep some of these key tips in mind.
- Do not put a TV in your child’s room. Having a TV in the bedroom has been linked to a number of problems including lower test scores, sleeping problems, and obesity.
- Turn it off. When the kids are not watching a specific program, turn off the television. Keep it off during mealtimes and especially when they are studying or doing homework.
- Help your child choose a video game or a show. The best way to know what your child is watching or playing is by helping her pick out a show or a game.
- Limit his screen time. Whether it’s one hour of TV and video games a day or a couple of hours a week, limit the amount of time your child spends with technology. More importantly, be committed and stick to those times you set.
- Opt for alternatives to technology-based activities. Find great ways to spend family time together without tech devices, such as by playing board games or reading good books
All children should have a yearly health maintenance visit.
WELL CHILD CARE-Includes overall growth monitoring and health check.
IMMUNISATION-can protect children against many potentially severe infectious diseases. Vaccines are one of the most effective and safest preventive care measures available. School age children should receive their vaccinations at the appropriate times.
- Colds, coughs and ear infections
- Diarrhea and vomiting
- Worm infestations
When your child has a cold, check with your doctor before giving any over-the-counter medicines as some have ingredients that are not recommended for children. Your pediatrician can guide you more on these.
Watch for signs of serious illness. Pay careful attention to signs that indicate your child needs to be seen by a medical professional immediately. These include:
• Fever in a child under three months old
• Severe headache or a stiff neck
• Changes in breathing patterns, especially any trouble breathing
• Changes in skin colour, such as looking very pale, reddish, or bluish
• Child refuses to drink fluids or stops urinating
• No tears when crying
• Severe or persistent vomiting
• Child is difficult to wake up or is unresponsive
• Child is unusually quiet and inactive
• Signs of extreme irritability or pain
• Pain or pressure in the chest or stomach
• Sudden or prolonged dizziness
• Flu-like symptoms improve but then get worse.
Raising school age children can be awesome. Watching them try new activities, cheering them on at athletic events and applauding their accomplishments at recitals are usually some of the high points for most parents.
By understanding your child’s development, you will be able to provide them with opportunities as well as toys that can boost their development and prepare them for the next phase of their growth. At the same time, you as a parent would be able to set expectations and limits that are acceptable to your child.