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Well checkup: 5 years

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  • Your child is more coordinated and has better balance. He can usually get dressed alone (except for tying shoelaces).
  • Your child can brush his teeth alone. Make sure to check his molars. Your child should spit out the toothpaste.
  • Your child will push limits you set, but will feel secure within these limits.
  • Your child should have had preschool screening with your school district. Your health care provider can help you assess school readiness. Signs your child may be ready for kindergarten include:
    • plays well with other children
    • follows simple directions and rules and waits for his turn
    • can be away from home for half a day
  • Read to your child every day at least 15 minutes. Bedtime is a nice time for reading.
  • Limit your child to one to two hours or less of quality screen time each day. Screen time includes television, video game and computer use. Do not keep a TV in your child's bedroom. Watch TV with your child and supervise internet use.
  • Encourage writing and drawing. Children at this age can often write their own name and recognize most letters of the alphabet. Provide opportunities for your child to tell simple stories and sing children's songs.

Feeding tips

  • Encourage good eating habits. Lead by example. Do not make "special" separate meals for him.
  • Offer your child healthful snacks such as fruits, vegetables, healthy cereals, yogurt, pudding, turkey, peanut butter sandwich, fruit smoothies, cheese. Avoid foods high in sugar or fat. Cut up any food that could cause choking.
  • Let your child help plan and make simple meals. He can set and clean up the table, pour cereal or make sandwiches. Always supervise any kitchen activity.
  • Make mealtime a pleasant time.
  • Restrict pop to rare occasions.
  • Limit 100 percent fruit juice to four to six ounces a day.
  • Your child needs at least 800 mg of calcium and 400 IU of vitamin D each day.
  • Milk is an excellent source of calcium and vitamin D.

Physical activity

  • Your child needs at least 60 minutes of active playtime each day.
  • Physical activity helps build strong bones and muscles, lowers your child’s risk of certain diseases (such as diabetes), increases flexibility, and increases self-esteem.
  • Choose activities your child enjoys, such as dancing, running, walking, swimming or skating.
  • Tip

    When your child's first tooth comes in, you can buy a baby-sized toothbrush (with plastic bristles). Let your child put it in his mouth to start getting used to idea of brushing. The toothbrush may also feel good on his gums, especially if other teeth are about to come in (erupt).

  • Be sure to watch your child during any activity. Or better yet, join in!
  • You can find more information on health and wellness for children and teens at


  • Children thrive on routine. Continue a routine which includes bathing, teeth brushing and reading. Avoid active play 30 minutes before settling down.
  • Make sure you have enough light for your child to find his way to the bathroom at night.


  • Use an approved car seat or booster seat for the height and weight of your child every time he rides in a vehicle.
  • Your child should transition to a belt-positioning booster seat when his height and weight is above the forwardfacing car seat limit. Check the safety label of the car seat. Be sure all other adults and children are buckled as well.
  • Be a good role model for your child. Do not talk or text on your cellphone while driving.
  • Make sure your child wears a bicycle helmet any time he rides a bike.
  • Make sure your child wears a helmet and pads any time he uses in-line skates or roller skates.
  • Practice bus and street safety.
  • Practice home fire drills and fire safety.
  • Supervise your child at playgrounds. Do not let him play outside alone. Teach him what to do if a stranger comes up to him. Warn your child never to go with a stranger or accept anything from a stranger. Teach your child to say "NO" and tell an adult whom he trusts.
  • Enroll your child in swimming lessons, if appropriate. Teach your child water safety. Make sure he is always supervised and wears a life jacket whenever around a lake, river or pool.
  • Teach your child animal safety.
  • Have your child practice his name, address and phone number. Teach him how to dial 911.
  • Keep all guns out of your child's reach. Lock guns and ammunition in different parts of the house.
  • Keep all medicines, cleaning supplies and poisons out of your child's reach.
  • Call the poison control center (1-800-222-1222) or your health care provider for directions in case your child swallows poison. Have these numbers handy by your telephone or program them into your phone.


  • Provide support, attention and enthusiasm for your child's abilities and achievements.
  • Create a schedule of simple chores for your child (such as cleaning his room, helping to set the table or helping to care for a pet). Have a reward system and flexible but consistent expectations. Do not use food as a reward.


  • "Time outs" are still effective discipline. A time out is usually one minute for each year of age. If your child needs a time out, set a kitchen timer for five minutes. Place your child in a safe, dull place (such as a hallway or corner of a room).
    Make sure the room is free of any potential dangers. Be sure to look for and praise good behavior shortly after the time out is over.
  • Always address the behavior. Do not praise or reprimand with general statements like "You are a good boy" or "You are a naughty girl." Be specific in your description of the behavior.
  • Use logical consequences, whenever possible. Try to discuss which behaviors have consequences and talk to your child.
  • Choose your battles.
  • Be fair and consistent with discipline.
  • Use discipline to teach, not punish.

Dental care

  • Teach your child how to brush his teeth. Use a softbristled toothbrush. You do not need to use toothpaste. Have your child brush his teeth every day, preferably before bedtime.
  • The first set of molars comes in between ages 5 and 7. Ask the dentist about sealants, coatings applied on the chewing surfaces of the back molars to protect from cavities.
  • Make regular dental appointments for cleanings and checkups. (Your child may need fluoride supplements if you have well water.)

Eye exam

  • Talk with your child's health care provider about your child having a complete eye exam before starting kindergarten.

Lab work

  • Your child may need to have his lead levels checked. This is a blood test to look for high levels of lead in the blood. Lead is a metal that can get into a child's body from many things. Evidence shows that lead can be harmful to a child if the level is too high.


Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Guide for the Care of Children: Ages Birth to 5 Years Old, fifth edition

To avoid awkward sentences, instead of referring to your child as "he/she" or "him/her," this guide will alternate between "he" or she" and "him" or "her."

First published: 02/01/2010
Last updated: 01/01/2014

Reviewed by: Allina Health's Patient Education Department experts, including the Pediatric Department of Allina Health Coon Rapids Clinic