School-age Child



Characteristics of the School-age Child

Feeding The School-age Child




Characteristics-The School-Age Child

Children are growing slowly, but steadily in between age 6 and 11. This is the stage when they develop skills such as coordination, balance, and other motor skills. Children vary greatly in their body shape and size. This is a stage for coordinating rather than changing. The next stage, adolescence is all about change.

Psychologically the child is continuing her growth into a separate and individual human being. She is learning about how to get along in the world without parental input at every step. She now has a peer group to imitate, and be accepted by. Parents remain a very important influence in the school-age child's life, but their influence becomes more indirect.

This indirect impact makes it all the more important to set the good example at home. It is vital that parents continue to maintain structure and support. The school-age child needs to know that there is unconditional love and acceptance at home, no matter what happens elsewhere in his world. School-age children continue to need clear limits on what is acceptable behavior and clear and consistent consequences when those limits are exceeded. The school age child needs to try to work things out for himself, but he needs the security of knowing that his parents will be there to help when they are needed. Sometimes that just means being available to listen and affirm that the school age child has indeed worked out their own solution to a problem.

If all has gone well with parenting and feeding in the toddler and preschool years, the school years will go well. Continue to involve your child in all aspects of meal preparation: planning, shopping, preparation, table setting and clean up. Allow him to take on some tasks all by himself. Teach both boys and girls how to cook. Start with simple snacks and sandwiches and move on through your whole repertoire of foods. Cooking is great for inter-generational activities, too, if grandparents are close by.

The school-age child thrives on specific praise for the task accomplished. Give the child a task that he is capable of doing, offer help or encouragement the first few times, then let him take ownership of the task. Praise the well done task, and require minimum standards for the job which are within the child's ability. You will get help around the house, and the child will gain skills and self-esteem.