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Growth and Development, Ages 6 to 10 Years - Promoting Healthy Growth and Development

Although your child between the ages of 6 and 10 may seem very independent at times, he or she still needs your constant guidance. Being present is the most important thing you can do to help your child grow in healthy ways. Knowing that you are "around" and available provides him or her with a sense of security. Although your child's world is expanding, you remain his or her primary influence.

You can do many things to help your child grow and develop.

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  • Promote physical development by encouraging and modeling healthy eating habits. Also, foster a healthy body image by talking about and showing how it is important to accept people of all colors, shapes, and sizes. For more information, see the topic Healthy Habits for Kids.
  • Promote cognitive development—thinking and reasoning skills—by being involved in your child's school. Volunteer if possible, cultivate good relationships with teachers and other staff members, and show your interest in what your child is learning. Also, work on skills at home, such as simple math problems, money handling, reading, and writing. Age-appropriate workbooks are widely available. But be careful not to pressure your child. Simply spending time with him or her is an important part of setting a foundation for cognitive growth.
  • Promote language development by reading to your child every day. Make reading a routine, even as he or she gets older and seems to lose interest. Set aside time that you and your child can look forward to and talk about stories, words, and ideas. Visit your local library and try finding books with new subjects that you think might interest your child.
  • Promote social and emotional development by being aware of sibling rivalry, which can become a problem around this age. Also help your child learn social skills, such as by showing your acceptance of others and not gossiping or saying mean things about other people.
  • Promote sensory and motor skill development by encouraging exercise every day. It doesn't have to be highly structured: the main point is to move around and limit TV time and other screen time. Practicing somersaults, playing catch, going to the park, or riding a bike are all helpful in developing muscular skill and endurance. Also, encourage your child to create art projects, such as drawing, cutting with safety scissors, gluing, and stringing beads. These and similar activities help improve eye-hand coordination and fine motor skills. For more information, see the topic Physical Activity for Children and Teens.
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