The Physical Changes in Sixth Grade
For many parents, the 9- to 12- year old years are their happiest – the busy care giving times of early childhood are over and the teen years are yet to come. Yet for children, these years are commonly defined as their most horrible – just as you're settling down to get comfortable and enjoy the calm before the storm, your preteen is already grappling with the massive tempest of feeling like a child and a teen at the same time. Here's how to help your child through.
What You Need to Know
Physical transitions during this age are gradual enough that parents may easily overlook the difficulties their children may be experiencing. Yet the changes are so great that most children suffer discomfort and distress.
- Girls between 10-12 are likely to be in the midst of growth spurts that makes them taller and heavier than boys at this stage, which can make girls feel large, clumsy and unattractive.
- Boys commonly take until 12-years-old to begin their growth spurts, and up until this time are grief-stricken with the concern that they're never going to grow.
How You Can Help
Your child will be much better equipped to bear and survive this trying time with his sanity if you take the time to talk to him about the physical and emotional development behind all his stress, so that he understands what to expect, some way of addressing it, and that it's all normal. Because preteens receive most of their information about this time from peers, the information they receive is often incorrect and unsettling. They are relying on you to clear up any falsities or misconceptions.
- Peer comparisons are the greatest source of anxiety, so make sure your child knows that it's common for growth rates to vary.
- Good diet, adequate rest and adequate exercise are necessary for normal physical development during this stage, not to mention your child's general wellness.
- A well-balanced diet is especially important as growing teens burn lots of energy and require lots of nutrients to meet their bodies' growth needs. Make sure nutritious snacks are available in your home to the exclusion of soda, cookies, and chips to prevent your child from having unhealthy options.
- Getting up and going to bed at the same time each day promotes normal physical development. Most children need at least eight hours of sleep each night, but may need even more as they move into rapid growth spurts.
- Children who watch a lot of television often don't get enough exercise. If your child isn't getting enough exercise, you may need to be a positive role model and lead by example to make it a family affair and help him pursue fun activities that will promote fitness.
For more on this topic, please see the full article:
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