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Health & Parenting

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7 Mistakes Parents Make With Grade-Schoolers

You may not be able to avoid all parenting pitfalls, but looking before you leap may help you miss the big ones.

4. Waiting Too Long to Have “the Talk”

"Puberty is happening as early as nine, and it is really important to talk about body changes so your kids know what to expect," says Children's National Medical Center pediatrician Yolandra Hancock. "Some parents have been hesitant to start this conversation during this age range," she says.

Volin agrees: "In girls, we see the age of menarche or first period creeping up earlier and earlier. So ages 10 and 11 are really an ideal time to be sitting down with your daughters and sons and starting the conversation about puberty and body changes."

With girls, this may mean talking about menstruation, underarm hair, and breast buds. In boys, it can mean bringing up pubic hair and voice changes. "It is a difficult conversation to start, and some parents assume that the school will have health education classes on puberty so they don't have to discuss it," Volin says. "That is a really big mistake."

5. Skipping Annual Well Visits to the Doctor

These routine checkups are not just recommended for tiny tots. "You should still come in every year, and sit down with a pediatrician who is monitoring your child's growth and development," Volin says.

"These are the appropriate times for children to be educated about the norms for height and weight and body mass index," she says. "We also start conversations about good nutrition and adequate physical activity." That includes making sure grade-schoolers are getting the calcium they need to support healthy growth.

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