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Parenting Your Child or Tween (age 6 - 12)

 
Parenting changes as your child grows, especially as they transition into elementary or secondary school. Learn about what you need to know to parent your child or tween.

Parenting changes as your child grows, especially as they transition into elementary or secondary school. As kids age, their problem-solving skills increase, and parents need to adjust to changing environments. Parenting a school-aged child is a new kind of parenting.

Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle

Tell children that healthy bodies come in different shapes and sizes. Be aware, children watch and listen to how you respond to your own body.

[Insert a scrolling carousel focused on the following five key messages from the 'Counting Down to a Healthy Lifestyle' (attached) using images of parents and their children aged 6-12yrs old]

10 or more hours of sleep:

  • Keep your child’s bedtime the same every night.
  • Create a calming bedtime routine by listening to quiet music, reading a book to relax or practising deep breathing.
  • Encourage your child to be active during the day.
  • Keep TV’s, video games and computers out of your child’s bedroom. The light and sound from screens prevents children from sleeping.
  • Avoid food and drinks that have caffeine (colas, chocolate, tea and coffee).

5 or more vegetables and fruits:

  • Have vegetables and/or fruit with meals and snacks.
  • Fill half the plate with vegetables and fruit.
  • Eat meals or snacks together as often as you can. Children are more likely to try foods when they see adults enjoying them.
  • Avoid giving your child snacks that are high in sugar, fat and salt.
  • Keep fruit in a bowl on the table and cut vegetables in the fridge so that they are ready to eat.
  • Try a new vegetable every week. Ask children to help pick it out. It could take 10 or more times before children taste and accept a new food, so keep trying.

2 hours or less of screen time:

  • Limit the time children spend on the TV, computer (outside of school work), electronic games and other screens.
  • Eat meals together as a family at the table and not in front of the TV.
  • Replace screen time with active time. Take a walk as a family or invite your children’s friends over to play outside.
  • Have board games, puzzles and craft supplies around the house to keep children busy.

1 hour or more of moderate to vigorous physical activity:

  • Provide a space and time for children to be active.
  • Choose activities that increase your child’s heart rate and occasionally make them out of breath. Try activities such as soccer, swimming, dancing, skating or playground games.
  • Allow your children to walk or bike to school, the park or store
  • Have children practice movementbased skills such as throwing a ball, running, jumping or swinging a racket.
  • As a family, be active together and as a parent, model a physical lifestyle for your child.
  • Involve children around the house with chores such as gardening, vacuuming, dusting or sweeping.

0 sugar-sweetened drinks:

  • Avoid sugar-sweetened drinks such as pop, fruit drinks, energy and sport drinks that contain few or no nutrients.
  • Offer children water throughout the day. Pack a reusable water bottle for school.
  • Encourage children to drink two cups of milk or milk alternatives each day for calcium and vitamin D
  • Limit juice to no more than one cup of unsweetened 100% juice per day. Choose whole vegetables and fruits more often than juice

Taking care of your child’s oral health is a key part of their overall health and well-being

Infectious diseases are commonly spread among children who are not immunized. By immunizing your child, you are protecting them, and our community, from infectious disease. Report all immunizations your child has received to the Health Department. Your doctor does not report these for you.

Talking about sexuality with your children can feel awkward and uncomfortable. However, as a parent, you are your child’s first and most important teacher. It is important that your child feels you are approachable and open to all kinds of questions.

Developmental Assets are traits, values and experiences that all young people need to be healthy, successful and reach their full potential.

These building blocks, or Developmental Assets®, are grounded in research on child and adolescent development, risk prevention and resiliency. The more assets young people have, the more likely they are to thrive, make healthy choices, and avoid harmful behaviours.

One in five children will struggle with poor mental health. Stress is often a contributing factor.

Simple steps to help calm your child

  • Spend time with your children: Laughing and having fun together as a family is a great stress buster.
  • Be a good role model: Show your children how to stay calm, even when you are feeling stressed.
  • Maintain routines as much as possible: Morning routines get the day off to a good start while bedtime routines help kids relax. This is often the time when kids will want to chat about their day.
  • Promote a healthy lifestyle: Healthy food, physical activity and adequate sleep helps the body cope more easily with stress.
  • Check in with your child frequently: Ask about things that they may be worrying about.
  • Limit extra curricular activities: Running from activity to activity creates stress on the whole family.
  • Reserve free time: A calendar can help your family stay organized. If you are having trouble finding down time, schedule it in.

Bullying can take on may forms including physical, verbal, social and cyber bullying. Bullying is a relationship problem that requires a relationship solution.

Strategies for parents of children who are bullied [create a collapsible list]

  • Praise child for being brave enough to tell you about the bullying.
  • Give your child emotional support by reminding the child that no one deserves to be bullied, that it’s not their fault.
  • Be sure to give your child your full attention and ask for details about the bullying: How often does it happen? How long has it been going on? In how many places does it occur and how has it affected you?
  • Stand up for your child - report the bullying to other adults in your child’s life (teachers, coaches) and work together to give your child the support he/she needs to develop healthy relationships.
  • Teach your child ignore the bully, walk away and go talk to someone who can help.
  • Teach your child to go to areas where they feel safe.
  • Teach your child to stay close to other students who could stick up for him/her.
  • Teach your child to be assertive – not aggressive. Research shows that using aggression to deal with aggression usually makes the problem worse.
  • Teach your child to look confident by standing tall, using eye contact, using a strong voice and tell the bully to back off.

Strategies for parent’s who suspect their child is bullying others [create a collapsible list]

  • Be a positive role model as children learn by example.
  • Talk about the effect of bullying on others. Ask how they would feel if someone was picking on them. Would they want to be left out, or put down?
  • Teach your child that they may not like everyone but it is important to treat everyone with respect.
  • Talk to your child about their own strengths. Teach them how they can use their power to help, not hurt, others.
  • Acknowledge positive behaviours by praising respectful and cooperative behaviour when it happens.
  • Help your child learn healthy ways to control anger, solve problems and resist peer pressure to bully.
  • If you hear the beginnings of a hurtful comment, it is important to stop and address the problem when it occurs.
  • Teach your child that real leaders show respect for others.

The tween years often involve trying out new attitudes and behaviours, taking more risks, and an increasing influence of peers. These can lead to experimenting with drugs and alcohol. Parents are the most important influence on their tweens and can help them make smart decisions about using substances.

Internet Safety

Resources for parents on internet safety

  • Cyber tip (external link)
    Cybertip.ca is Canada's national tip line for reporting the online sexual exploitation of children. Provides information for parents on what they can do to improve their child's safety on the internet.
  • Kids in the Know (external link)
    An interactive internet safety education program designed for children, parents and educators to help increase the personal safety of children and reduce their risk of sexual exploitation.
  • The Door that's not Locked (external link)
    Downloadable brochures (ages 8-15) to help parents better understand the benefits and risks associated with the internet.

Play Space Safety

As children reach school age they will be mastering many new skills while learning about the world around them. Parents need to be aware of, monitor and minimize risks, while allowing school age children new experiences.

  • Allow children to try new things.
  • Role model rules and wearing safety gear.
  • Help children to problem-solve in the face of difficulty.
  • Praise children for following the rules.
  • Stay close to your children, but let them explore and play.
  • Give children some independence if they are ready for it.

Concussions

A concussion affects the way a child may think and remember things, and can cause a variety of symptoms. A child does not need to lose consciousness to have a concussion. All concussions are serious because they are brain injuries.

Most parents pull away from school involvement due to work schedules, extra-curricular activities or because they think their child does not want them involved. However, parents can be connected with the school in a different way.

Ready, set, whoa!

Support your teen to thrive, not just survive, the transition to high school.

Homework success

Seven tips for homework success:

  • Let your child relax after school. Allow time to unwind and have a snack.
  • Ask your child about their homework. Ask questions about their homework (e.g., are supplies needed and when it is due).
  • Set a regular time and arrange a place to do homework. Have clear expectations as to when and wherehomework will be done. This will reduce conflicts around homework completion.
  • Help your child get started. Be prepared to sit at the table with younger children, but do not do their homework for them.
  • Offer praise and encouragement while your child is working. Praise can help motivate your child to persist with their homework. For example, “Great! That’s five questions you’ve done already."
  • Prompt your child to solve problems themselves. For example, if your child asks you how to spell a word, you could say, “How do you think it is spelled?” Offer praise with each attempt. If after one or two prompts, your child does not get the right answer, tell them what it is. This will avoid your child becoming frustrated.
  • Show an interest and say something positive about your child’s work. When checking work, say something positive about your child’s effort. If you must make corrections, only point out one or two mistakes. Do not feel you have to make sure your child’s work is perfect before they hand it in.
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