What to Expect During This Visit
Your doctor and/or nurse will probably:
1. Check your child's weight and height, calculate body mass index (BMI), and plot the measurements on growth charts.
2. Check your child's blood pressure using standard testing equipment.
3. Ask questions, address concerns, and offer advice about your child's:
Eating. Schedule three meals and one or two nutritious snacks a day. Serve your child a well-balanced diet that includes lean protein, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and low-fat dairy. Kids this age should get 2½ cups (600 ml) of low-fat milk daily (or equivalent low-fat dairy products or fortified milk alternative). Limit high-sugar and high-fat foods and drinks, and offer no more than 8 ounces (240 ml) of 100% juice per day.
Bathroom habits. Bedwetting is more common in boys and deep sleepers, and in most cases it ends on its own. But talk to your doctor if it continues to be a problem.
Sleeping. Kids this age need about 9-12 hours of sleep per night. Lack of sleep can make it hard to pay attention at school. Set a regular bedtime that allows for enough sleep and encourage your child to follow a relaxing bedtime routine. Keep TVs and digital devices, like smartphones and tablets, out of your child's bedroom.
Physical activity. Kids this age should get at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day. Set limits on screen time, including TV, DVDs, video games, smartphones, tablets, and computers.
Growth and development. By 8 years, it's common for many kids to:
- show more independence from parents and family members
- have a group of friends, usually of the same gender
- look up to role models, such as professional athletes, actors, or superheroes
- know the difference between right and wrong
- enjoy reading
- solve simple math problems
- have longer attention spans and cooperate more
- problem solve in a more organized and logical way
- do more coordinated tasks, like shoot a basketball
4. Do a physical exam. This will include listening to the heart and lungs, examining teeth for cavities, and watching your child walk. Because some children start to show signs of puberty as early as age 7, your pediatrician will check pubertal development. A parent or caregiver should be present during this exam.
5. Update immunizations. Immunizations can protect kids from serious childhood illnesses, so it's important that your child get them on time. Immunization schedules can vary from office to office, so talk to your doctor about what to expect.
6. Order tests. Your doctor may assess your child's risk for anemia, high cholesterol, and tuberculosis and order tests, if needed.
Here are some things to keep in mind until your child's next checkup at 9 years:
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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