Playtimes April 2014 - page 75

t might feel like only yesterday
that you were running between
doctors’ appointments for
vaccinations, developmental
checks and those endless runny noses
and coughs. Now that your child is
a pre-teen, those visits are probably
fewer and farther between. But,
from the ages of nine to 12 years,
it’s particularly important that your
child has regular health checks and
that their vaccinations are up to date.
With the teenage years just around
the corner, it’s also important that
hormonal and emotional changes
relating to puberty and issues around
drugs and alcohol are discussed. This
will help set the foundation for open
communication between you and your
child in the years ahead.
Instil healthy habits
The best help you can give your child
in setting them up for a happy life is
to encourage them to live healthily
from a young age. Encourage your
child to participate in 60 minutes of
physical activity every day. They don’t
need to do the whole hour at once; it
can be split over the day. Encourage
a balanced diet with limited fat and
sugar intake. Ideally, your child
should eat five portions of fruits and
vegetables a day. Try to limit your
child’s salt intake. Remember, there
is a lot of hidden salt in snacks, which
might surprise you if you check the
labels. A normal, healthy diet should
provide all the vitamins and minerals
your child requires, but check with
your doctor if you feel that your child
needs vitamin supplements. It is
particularly important to ensure that
girls have enough iron in their diet, as
their requirements will increase when
their periods start.
It’s often said that the older your child gets,
the more they need your love and attention.
Dr Sarah Borwein
explains how to care for the
child who is rapidly becoming a teenager.
Iron-rich foods
• Red meat
• Dark, leafy greens
• Dried fruit (prunes, raisins)
• Iron-enriched cereals and grains
(check the labels)
• Beans, lentils and chickpeas
April 2014
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