Common Concerns during the School-Age Period

Sexual and Physical Concerns of a School-age Child

  1. Sexual maturation is more advanced in girls than in boys at this time. In girls, sexual maturation occurs between 12 and 18 years while it is between 14 and 20 in boys.
  2. Effective sex education is noted parents would introduce the material when their children are in grade school and not in middle school or high school.
  3. Discuss with children the physical changes that will occur and the sexual responsibility these changes require.
  4. Reassure girls that broad bone structure of the hips is part of an adult female profile and she should not misinterpret it as a gain in weight and attempt a crash diet.
  5. Girls are very conscious about breast development that’s why it is very important that they understand that these changes are normal.
  6. An important concept about viewing herself as a woman and for future childbearing is early preparation for menstruation. A girl who is told that menstruation is a normal function and that it occurs every month in all healthy women develops a different attitude towards her body than those who just wake up one morning frightened to find blood in her pajamas.
  7. Boys should develop an understanding that testicular development precedes penile growth, thus, they should now worry that their growth is inadequate.
  8. Gynecomastia or the hypertrophy of breast tissue can occur during the prepuberty period and most often it is seen in stocky or heavy boys. He should be assured that this is just a transitory phenomenon and although it makes him self-conscious, this will just fade soon as his male hormones becomes more mature and active.
  9. Nocturnal emissions, the ejaculation that boys notice during sleep, is just normal during the school-age period as seminal fluid is already produced in the male body.

Teeth Care

  1. During the school-age period, deciduous teeth are lost and permanent teeth erupt. The average child gains 28 teeth during this time.
  2. Dental check-ups should be regularly done even without possible dental problem is observed.
  3. Brushing of the teeth without assistance can be started by about 6 years of age. Flossing one’s teeth independently can also be done during this period.

Play

  1. Parents should plan the activities for their child. School-age children spend several hours playing increasingly challenging video games. This activity can foster a healthy sense of competition but may also create isolation from others if the child is involved in too much of this activity.
  2. More props are needed for play in school-age children than when they are younger. For example, a stethoscope and a thermometer are required to become a doctor.
  3. Allow the child to be involved in house chores as most girls and boys of this age enjoy helping in kitchens or doing house chores.
  4. Collecting, sorting and cataloging are enjoyed by 8 year old children.
  5. Set a good reading example and parents should be instructed not to forbid comic-reading. It is beneficial to the child is the parents would wait out patiently the child’s acute interest in comic books. Eventually, the child will seek to read other types of books.

Language Development

  1. Most 7 year old children have trouble with concepts such as “half past” and “quarter to” but they can tell the time in hours.
  2. Adults should keep school-agers away from conversations with dirty jokes. Children of this age like to tell their friends about the jokes they hear.
  3. Twelve year olds are able to carry on an adult conversation. Their sense of humor is apparent at this time.

Dental Caries

When children eat readily fermented carbohydrates the pH of the tooth surface drops to 5.6 or below, as a result, progressive and destructive lesions or decalcification of the tooth enamel and dentin occurs that produces dental caries or cavities. When acid microorganisms found in the dental plaque attack the organic cementing medium of the teeth and destroy it. Areas where plaque is deposited are most susceptible to dental decay. When caries are neglected, poor chewing and digestion takes place. Aside from the mentioned consequences, abscess, pain and even bone infection or osteomyelitis may occur. The following are ways to prevent dental caries:

  1. Proper brushing of the teeth.
  2. Use of fluoridated water or application of fluoride.
  3. Treat caries quickly when they occur. The child’s dental hygiene practices must be evaluated and improved if necessary.
  4. Children should be taught about the importance of dental hygiene and the possible dental consequences at stake if they undertake the self-care measures to ensure healthy teeth.
  5. Parental support is more important and more effective rather than parental command in dental care.

Daisy Jane Antipuesto RN MN

Currently a Nursing Local Board Examination Reviewer. Subjects handled are Pediatric, Obstetric and Psychiatric Nursing. Previous work experiences include: Clinical instructor/lecturer, clinical coordinator (Level II), caregiver instructor/lecturer, NC2 examination reviewer and staff/clinic nurse. Areas of specialization: Emergency room, Orthopedic Ward and Delivery Room. Also an IELTS passer.

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