5 to 12 years
Your child’s intellect and body will grow by leaps and bounds. Wellstar will help you keep up with developmental changes. If your child has specific health concerns, from emergency care to annual checkups and sports exams, we’re here to provide very best medical care through childhood to puberty and beyond.
Grade Schooler Care at Wellstar
Your child is bigger, more coordinated, and more independent. Your child’s growth will likely appear more gradual and steady. You may notice:
- Slimmer appearance: As body size increases, the amount of body fat stays relatively stable.
- Child's legs are longer in proportion to the body.
- Height increases a little over two inches per year, on average.
- Weight gain aver ages about 6.5 pounds a year.
- Faster growth around ages six to eight, and appearance of a small amount of pubic hair.
- Genetics influence growth pattern; parents' stature is likely to be reflected in their child's.
- How close a child is to puberty affects growth rate
- Timing of growth varies by individual: Typically, height differences among classmates range from four to five inches.
- Nutrition is important to normal growth; appetite increases during growth spurts.
- Exercise is critical for normal physical development.
- Stronger with more muscle mass
- Motor skills—both strength and coordination—will improve (from tying shoelaces to throwing a baseball accurately).
From kindergarten to middle school, your child will make remarkable, subtle progress as they grows through childhood to adolescence. Be prepared. As children enter puberty (physical growth) and adolescence (mental/ social growth), their growth patterns, emotional and cognitive changes are amplified. You may notice:
- During puberty and adolescence, young people grow more rapidly than any time in life except infancy; both boys and girls double their growth rate.
- On average, a girl’s growth spurt occurs around age 11½, but it can begin as early as eight or as late as 14. When girls begin their menstrual periods, their physical growth slows significantly.
- Boys usually trail girls by about two years—with rapid growth kicking in after age 12. They will add 13 to 14 inches to their height and gain about 40 pounds as they mature.
Hormones regulate specific cells and organs. They are the keys to growth, sexual characteristics, procreation, metabolism, personality traits and mood.
Sometime between the ages of seven and 11 in girls, and 9½ to 13½ in boys, the pituitary gland at the base of the brain releases two hormones that signal a girl’s ovaries and a boy’s testicles to begin producing the female sex hormone, estrogen, and the male sex hormone, testosterone, respectively.
These hormones trigger physical growth and sexual development—and are responsible for boys’ crackling voices and girls’ new curves. Everyone in your family should understand the hormonal effects on emotions at this time: your easy-going child may wind up dealing with a wide range of feelings, up one minute and down the next.
If growth seems off target or emotions swing too much, it’s appropriate to make an appointment with your child’s Wellstar pediatrician. Our pediatricians can help explain what is changing and why, as well as, evaluate your preteen’s overall health.
Youngsters in this age group are often eager to play in organized sports. The same child who built forts with an imaginary friend is now imagining themself as a pro sports star.
Developmentally, the physical ability of elementary-age children varies widely.
Giving children an opportunity to explore several different sports is a good idea—youngsters will learn various skills and discover which ones they enjoy the most.
There are many sports appropriate for elementary and middle school athletes: swimming, running, tennis, martial arts, skating, volleyball, gymnastics, soccer, basic basketball and hockey, youth league football, and baseball.
For children, sports are an opportunity to practice new physical skills, social behavior and develop mental aptitude.
Sports also give parents opportunities. Parents’ roles should focus on teamwork, improving a child’s skills and helping acquire new ones, and making the whole experience a positive one.
Your perspective can help your aspiring athlete to:
- Prepare for future competition
- Learn to win or lose in a healthy way
- Handle events later in life
- Focus on the importance of effort
- Prioritize fitness as part of life
- See how to improve for the next time
- Understand that winning is about personal improvement
This age group of growing athletes is more likely to sustain injuries during school recess or on jungle gyms than in organized sports. One reason is that many organized sports programs are geared to match players by size rather than age. Others adapt how the game is played. T-ball is an example of a team sport that adjusts for the developmental stage of players. Look for football and other sport leagues that adjust to players’ needs to level the playing field.
Another point on the safe side: grade school children do not usually have the strength or speed to cause injuries that are seen during adolescence and early adulthood. Injuries rise with advancing age, weight, and level of competition.