10, 11 years (female)
It is your responsibility to eat 3 meals every day of healthy foods. The Food Pyramid is available to help guide your choices. No one is perfect, but try to make many more healthy choices than "junk food" choices. Breakfast is important — it sets your energy level for the whole day. You will do better not only at school but also at after-school activities just by eating a good breakfast. Try to eat at least 3-4 foods every day that have a lot of calcium (milk, yogurt, calcium-fortified orange juice). Your bone strength and growth (now and in the future) depend on it.
Many adults wish they had known to eat better when they were younger. Some illnesses could have been prevented by eating more fiber (fruits and vegetables, breads and cereals). You can take on more responsibility for creating your meals and helping with the shopping. Try to eat with your family as much as possible. As your life gets busier, you will want this time to sit and talk with your mom or dad.
Some people your age are concerned about their size and weight. If you eat well, drink water, and exercise, your body will naturally grow at its' own pace. If you are concerned about your size, or a friend's, please talk to your health care provider.
You probably have only one set of molars (4 teeth) due to come in. Good brushing now will pay you back well later in life. See your dentist 2 times a year.
Your body still needs at least 10 hours of sleep a night to rest and store up energy for the next day. Try not to save all of your "think time" for bedtime — it often delays falling asleep.
Always wear your seatbelt and sit in the back seat of the car. Wear your helmet if you are riding a bike or in-line skating, even if no one else does. Permanent, life-changing injuries have resulted from simple accidents.
Wear sunscreen if you are outside. A great tan is not worth cancer.
Never go near water without an adult, and wear your life jacket if boating.
Never take medicine (including vitamins) without your mom or dad helping you figure out how much you need. Too much can cause serious illness.
Give your body only the best. Make the decision now that you will not smoke, take drugs, or drink alcohol. Talk with your family about how they feel, and about what you learn in school. Practice what you would say if someone (a friend or stranger) offered you cigarettes, drugs, or alcohol.
Your friends and family may not do many things together, but introduce them to each other anyway. They all care about you, just in different ways.
Take a basic first-aid class and a babysitting class.
If you are in sports, make sure the playing areas are kept up well, and all protective equipment fits and is in good shape. Never share head gear.
Many people your age spend a lot of time with friends. Sometimes parents feel that you do not care about them as you used to. Participate in scheduling a "family" event at least once a week, and sit and talk with your mom or dad at least a little every day. You may find that you disagree more now with their rules and beliefs. You are different people. Talk openly about how you feel or things you'd like to change. And remember to take some "free time" just for yourself every day.
Many girls notice the body changes of "puberty" happening now (they can start anywhere between ages 8-14). These include fast height growth, breast development, armpit and pubic hair, body odor, and acne. Most girls start their periods between ages 10-16 (average 12-13). Boys usually start showing signs of puberty by ages 12-14, with their growth spurt at ages 13-16. Body changes can make people excited, or nervous, or embarrassed. If you have any questions about body changes or sexuality, please ask your mom or dad or your health care provider. There are also many good books available on these topics.
We look forward to seeing you again for a check-up next year. Please feel free to call us if you have any questions about your body or health. Try to be at least 10 minutes early for all of your check-ups.