School-Age Children (Ages 6 to 12):
As your child continues to grow, you will notice the development of many new and exciting abilities. Children progress at different rates and have diverse interests, but some milestones to look for include losing their first tooth and riding a bike between the ages of six and eight. Between the ages of nine and eleven a child becomes more graceful with movements and abilities and should be dressing and grooming themselves completely. A tween (ages 10-12) typically develop the remainder of their adult teeth, and puberty can start in some as early as 10 years of age.
During the school-age years, parents will see a transition in their child as he or she moves from playing alone to having multiple friends and social groups. While friendships become more important, the child is still fond of his or her parents and likes being part of a family.
Bedwetting is typically seen more as a social disturbance than a medical disease. It creates embarrassment and anxiety in the child and sometimes conflict between parents. The single most important thing parents can and should do is to be supportive and reassuring rather than blaming and punishing. Bedwetting or primary nocturnal enuresis has a very high rate of spontaneous resolution.
Underlying medical or emotional conditions should first be ruled out. If there is an underlying condition, it should be treated and eradicated.
No one knows for sure what causes bed-wetting, but some issues may play a role:
- A small bladder
- Inability to recognize a full bladder
- A hormone imbalance
- Stressful events
- Urinary tract infection
- Sleep apnea
- Chronic constipation
- A structural problem in the urinary tract or nervous system.
There is considerable debate as to how and when to treat bedwetting. Treatment of uncomplicated bedwetting is not appropriate for children younger than five years of age. The many treatment options range from home remedies to drugs, even surgery for children with anatomical problems.
Because most children five years and older spontaneously stop bedwetting without any treatment, we generally choose to observe the child until age seven. The age at which to treat, then, depends on the attitudes of the child and the parents/caregivers.
Here are some tips for helping your child stop wetting the bed. These are techniques that are most often successful.
- Reduce evening fluid intake. The child should try to not take excessive fluids, chocolate, caffeine, carbonated drinks, or citrus after 3 p.m. Routine fluids with dinner are appropriate.
- The child should urinate in the toilet before bedtime.
- Set a goal for the child of getting up at night to use the toilet. Instead of focusing on making it through the night dry, help the child understand that it is more important to wake up every night to use the toilet.
- A system of sticker charts and rewards works for some children. The child gets a sticker on the chart for every night of remaining dry. Collecting a certain number of stickers earns a reward. For younger children, such a motivational approach has been shown to provide significant improvement.
- Make sure the child has safe and easy access to the toilet. Clear the path from his or her bed to the toilet and install night-lights. Provide a portable toilet if necessary.
Some believe that you should avoid using diapers or pull-ups at home because they can interfere with the motivation to wake up and use the toilet. Others argue that pull-ups help the child feel more independent and confident. Many parents limit their use to camping trips or sleepovers. We also recommend using the “potty alarm” for children over 7. It is an alarm that helps wake kids when wet for behavior training.
The parents’ attitude toward the bedwetting is all-important in motivating the child. Be patient and supportive. Reassure and encourage the child often. Do not make an issue out the bedwetting each time it happens. The child should be included in the clean-up process.
To increase comfort and reduce damage, use washable absorbent sheets, waterproof bed covers, and room deodorizers.
Beware of devices or other treatments that promise a quick “cure” for bedwetting. There really is no such thing. Stopping bedwetting is, for most children, a matter of patience, motivation, and time.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) encourages parents to help their children develop healthy media use habits early on. There really is no amount of screen time that’s “just right.” What is more important is the quality of kids’ media, how it fits into your family’s lifestyle and how parents engage their kids with it.
All children and teens need adequate sleep (8-12 hours, depending on age), physical activity (1 hour), and time away from media. Designate media-free times together (e.g., family dinner) and media-free zones (e.g., bedrooms). Children should not sleep with devices in their bedrooms, including TVs, computers, and smartphones.
Parents are encouraged to develop personalized media use plans for their children. Media plans should take into account each child’s age, health, personality, and developmental stage. Visit the AAP’s website here to create your Family Media Use Plan. Remember to communicate your plan to other caregivers, such as babysitters or grandparents, so that media rules are followed consistently.
The idea of screen time as a one-dimensional activity is changing — even the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), whose screen time rules had been strictly age-based, is recognizing that not all screen time is created equal. Designating their use simply as “screen time” can miss some important variations. The AAP recognizes that not all screen time is created equal. Computers, tablets and smartphones are multipurpose devices that can be used for many purposes.
The Common Sense Census: Media Use by Tweens and Teens identifies four main categories of screen time.
- Passive consumption: watching TV, reading, and listening to music
- Interactive consumption: playing games and browsing the Internet
- Communication: video-chatting and using social media
- Content creation: using devices to make digital art or music
It’s still important for kids’ overall healthy development to balance their lives with enriching experiences found off screens. If your children are using high-quality, age-appropriate media; their behavior is positive; and their screen-time activities are balanced with plenty of healthy screen-free ones, there’s no need to worry.
The reality is that most families will go through periods of heavy and light media use, but, so long as there’s a balance, kids should be just fine.
Common Sense Media
American Academy of Pediatrics
TechCrunch, Influence Central
About the size of a sesame seed, head lice are tiny parasites that live on the human head, and are hard to see. They range from beige to gray and may become considerably darker when they feed. And nits — eggs that females glue onto hairs near the scalp — are even more difficult to spot. You can spot them most easily in the areas behind the ears and along the hairline on the back of the neck. Head lice don’t spread disease.
Luckily, lice can’t live more than a few days away from the warmth and food the human head provides. And though they are hardy in some ways — they can survive submersion for up to six hours (that’s why swimming and showers don’t kill them) — they can’t jump, hop, or fly. Head-to-head contact is usually required for them to spread, and if they’re not on a head, they get dehydrated and die very quickly.
It is a myth that lice are a product of poor hygiene or poverty. Head lice are equal-opportunity parasites. They like clean hair as well as dirty hair and can flourish in the wealthiest of communities. If your child has lice, chances are they’re traveling around your neighborhood or school and your child has unknowingly infected others.
If your child has lice it is important to treat them and every member of your household with an over-the-counter head lice medicine. Treatments come in the form of cream rinse, shampoo and other liquids and come with very specific directions. There are also lice-removal services and salons available in the area.