Growth & Development

Bright Futures Parent Handout: 5 and 6 Year Visits

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Here are some suggestions from Bright Futures experts that may be of value to your family

Oral Health

Healthy Teeth

  • Help your child brush his teeth twice a day.

    • After breakfast

    • Before bed

  • Use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste with fluoride.

  • Help your child floss her teeth once a day.

  • Your child should visit the dentist at least twice a year.

School Readiness

Ready for School

  • Take your child to see the school and meet the teacher.

  • Read books with your child about starting school.

  • Talk to your child about school.

  • Make sure your child is in a safe place after school with an adult.

  • Talk with your child every day about things he liked, any worries, and if anyone is being mean to him.

  • Talk to us about your concerns.

Mental Health

Your Child and Family

  • Give your child chores to do and expect them to be done.

  • Have family routines.

  • Hug and praise your child.

  • Teach your child what is right and what is wrong.

  • Help your child to do things for herself.

  • Children learn better from discipline than they do from punishment.

  • Help your child deal with anger.

    • Teach your child to walk away when angry or go somewhere else to play.

Nutrition and Physical Activity

Staying Healthy

  • Eat breakfast.

  • Buy fat-free milk and low-fat dairy foods, and encourage 3 servings each day.

  • Limit candy, soft drinks, and high-fat foods.

  • Offer 5 servings of vegetables and fruits at meals and for snacks every day.

  • Limit TV time to 2 hours a day.

  • Do not have a TV in your child's bedroom.

  • Make sure your child is active for 1 hour or more daily.



  • Your child should always ride in the back seat and use a car safety seat or booster seat.

  • Teach your child to swim.

  • Watch your child around water.

  • Use sunscreen when outside.

  • Provide a good-fitting helmet and safety gear for biking, skating, in-line skating, skiing, snowboarding, and horseback riding.

  • Have a working smoke alarm on each floor of your house and a fire escape plan.

  • Install a carbon monoxide detector in a hallway near every sleeping area.

  • Never have a gun in the home. If you must have a gun, store it unloaded and locked with the ammunition locked separately from the gun.

  • Ask if there are guns in homes where your child plays. If so, make sure they are stored safely.

  • Teach your child how to cross the street safely. Children are not ready to cross the street alone until age 10 or older.

  • Teach your child about bus safety.

  • Teach your child about how to be safe with other adults.

    • No one should ask for a secret to be kept from parents.

    • No one should ask to see private parts.

    • No adult should ask for help with his private parts.

© 2010 American Academy of Pediatrics