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

How Your Family Is Doing

Encourage your child to be independent and responsible. Hug and praise her.

Spend time with your child. Get to know her friends and their families.

Take pride in your child for good behavior and doing well in school.

Help your child deal with conflict.

If you are worried about your living or food situation, talk with your health care professional. Community agencies and programs such as SNAP can also provide information and assistance.

Don’t smoke or use e-cigarettes. Keep your home and car smoke-free. Tobacco-free spaces keep children healthy.

Don’t use alcohol or drugs. If you’re worried about a family member’s use, let your health care professional know, or reach out to local or online resources that can help.

Put the family computer in a central place.

  • Know who your child talks with online.
  • Install a safety filter.

Staying Healthy

Take your child to the dentist twice a year.

Give a fluoride supplement if the dentist recommends it.

Help your child brush her 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.

Encourage your child to always wear a mouth guard to protect her teeth while playing sports.

Encourage healthy eating by

  • Eating together often as a family
  • Serving vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean protein, and low-fat or fat-free dairy
  • Limiting sugars, salt, and low-nutrient foods

Limit screen time to 2 hours (not counting schoolwork).

Don’t put a TV or computer in your child’s bedroom.

Consider making a family media use plan. It helps you make rules for media use and balance screen time with other activities, including exercise.

Encourage your child to play actively for at least 1 hour daily.

Your Growing Child

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

Be a good role model.

Don’t hit or allow others to hit.

Help your child do things for himself.

Teach your child to help others.

Discuss rules and consequences with your child.

Be aware of puberty and changes in your child’s body.

Use simple responses to answer your child’s questions.

Talk with your child about what worries him.


Help your child get ready for school. Use the following strategies:

  • Create bedtime routines so he gets 10 to 11 hours of sleep.
  • Offer him a healthy breakfast every morning.

Attend back-to-school night, parent-teacher events, and as many other school events as possible.

Talk with your child and child’s teacher about bullies.

Talk with your child’s teacher if you think your child might need extra help or tutoring.

Know that your child’s teacher can help with evaluations for special help, if your child is not doing well in school.


The back seat is the safest place to ride in a car until your child is 13 years old.

Your child should use a belt-positioning booster seat until the vehicle’s lap and shoulder belts fit.

Teach your child to swim and watch her in the water.

Use a hat, sun protection clothing, and sunscreen with SPF of 15 or higher on her exposed skin. Limit time outside when the sun is strongest (11:00 am–3:00 pm).

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

If it is necessary to keep a gun in your home, store it unloaded and locked with the ammunition locked separately from the gun.

Teach your child plans for emergencies such as a fire. Teach your child how and when to dial 911.

Teach your child how to be safe with other adults.​

  • No adult should ask a child to keep secrets from parents.
  • No adult should ask to see a child’s private parts.
  • No adult should ask a child for help with the adult’s own private parts.

Helpful Resources:

  • Family Media Use Plan:
  • Smoking Quit Line: 800-784-8669
  • Information About Car Safety Seats:​
  • Toll-free Auto Safety Hotline: 888-327-4236

Consistent with Bright Futures: Guidelines for Health Supervision of Infants, Children, and Adolescents, 4th Edition

The information contained in this webpage should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances. Original handout included as part of the Bright Futures Tool and Resource Kit, 2nd Edition.

Inclusion in this webpage does not imply an endorsement by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). The AAP is not responsible for the content of the resources mentioned in this webpage. Website addresses are as current as possible but may change at any time.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does not review or endorse any modifications made to this handout and in no event shall the AAP be liable for any such changes.

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American Academy of Pediatrics