Professor Ayesha Salem Al Dhaheri, Professor – Clinical Nutrition, Vice Dean, College of Food and Agriculture at United Arab Emirates University in Abu Dhabi talks us through key milestones for five- to 12-year-old school kids, and what you can do to support them.
How important is nutrition?
What kids eat every day in this critical period is fundamental to meet their nutrients needs required for their optimal growth and development. During this life stage, it is crucial to offer them age-specific nutrition to encourage healthy brain and physical development.
How do you know children are physically growing as they should?
Key physical signs of healthy development around a child’s fifth birthday include their vision reaching 20/20, and them breaking their first adult teeth within that year.
Other common milestones between the ages of five and 12 include growing about 11cm to 15cm in height and gaining about six to seven kilos in weight.
As far as their brain and cognitive development, it’s important to remember that the areas of the brain involved in learning, memory, motor skills, and other functions do get established by the age of five and continue to develop up until the age of 12. By the age of five, a child’s fast-growing brain would have reached 90 percent of its adult size.
Some of the main cognitive milestones to look out for around the age of five including a child’s ability to write some letters or numbers, count ten things or more, draw a person with at least six body parts, and copy some geometric shapes.
And how do children progress socially and emotionally?
Children who feel good about themselves are more able to resist negative peer pressure and make better choices. The ages of five to 12 are a critical time for children to gain a sense of responsibility along with growing independence and self-confidence in all areas of life. This is mainly done through interactions with parents, family, and friends, as well as schoolwork and sports.
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