8, 9 years
Try your best to eat 3 meals every day of different kinds of healthy foods. The Food Pyramid will help you with those choices and the amounts your body needs to be at its' best. Breakfast is important — it gives you energy for the whole day. You will be better at school and at after-school activities just by eating a good breakfast. And don't forget milk (2 or 3 glasses a day).
Many adults wish they had known to eat better when they were younger. We now know that many illnesses people get when they are grown up could have been prevented by eating better as kids. We all need to eat more fiber (vegetables, fruits, breads, cereals) and less junk food (candy, chips, greasy foods, soda). The foods you eat now will make you more healthy (or more sick) tomorrow and also in 50 years!
As you grow up, you can take on more responsibility for making 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 family. Try to make this time good for everyone, even if you do not like the food. Use good manners, try a small bite, and thank whoever made the food anyway.
You probably are seeing a lot of your "permanent" teeth come in. You will have these new teeth for the rest of your life, so brushing your teeth 2 or 3 times a day is very important. And don't forget to see the dentist for a check-up 2 times a year.
Your body needs 10-12 hours of sleep a night so it can store up energy for the next day and grow more. Sometimes it is hard to go to bed if you are doing something fun, but you know you are giving your body the best.
Always wear your seatbelt (correctly!) and sit in the back seat of the car until you are 12. Booster seats are recommended until you weigh at least 80 pounds. Try not eat food or chew gum when you are in the car — you could choke if the car makes a sudden stop.
Always wear sunscreen if you are outside.
Always wear your helmet if you are riding your bike or scooter or skateboard or if you are in-line skating, even if no one else does.
Never go near water (lakes, pools, rivers) without an adult nearby. And remember to wear your life jacket if you are ever on a boat (it's a Minnesota State Law).
Never take medicine (including vitamins) without your parents helping you figure out how much you need. Some medicines could make you very sick if you take too much or if you really do not need them.
You are in charge of your body and who touches you. The only people who ever touch or look at your private parts are doctors and nurses (in a clinic or hospital), or your parents (if you ask them to).
Give your body only the best. Make the decision now that you will never smoke, take drugs, or drink alcohol. Talk to your family about how they feel, and about what you learn in school.
Introduce all of your friends to your family. This way everyone who cares about you can get to know each other.
Have you noticed how much you have learned at school the past few years? You are probably very good at some things, and have to work harder at other things. If you always try your best you can be very proud of yourself. Sometimes people need to get some extra help with classes. Talk to your teacher or parents if you do not understand something. Study hard, have fun with your friends and activities, but remember to have some "free time" just for you every day. We recommend limiting your TV, video game and computer time to 2 hours a day or less.
Over the next few years, you may start to notice some changes in your body or the bodies of your friends. This is very normal. It is a sign of "puberty," or the time when everyone's bodies grow up. If you have any questions about puberty, ask your parents, or your doctor or nurse practitioner. There are also many good books available concerning those issues.
We look forward to seeing you again for a check-up next year. Please try to be at least 10 minutes early for all of your check-ups.