Your 6 1/2-year-old: Snack attack

Your 6 1/2-year-old: Snack attack

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Your 6-year-old now

It can be a long time between lunch and dinner for a school-age child. Having nutritious snacks readily available makes it more likely she'll make good choices to tide her over.

Ideally, have a special spot in the refrigerator and on the kitchen counter for after-school snacks. That makes it easier for your child to help herself and less likely that she'll go foraging through the rest of the kitchen. Leave something ready-made (such as cut-up cheese and crackers) or let her know specifically what to take, giving a choice between two snacks if you like.

Allow your child to plan and select snacks with you when you're shopping. This helps her learn why something is a good snack and feel some ownership in the process. If your child has a sweet tooth, look for alternatives you can live with, perhaps sweets that have other nutritional merits such as oatmeal cookies, whole-wheat fig bars, or ripe peaches.

Consider portioning out acceptable amounts into baggies or containers. Then kids won't run through the entire bag of pretzels in one sitting.

Your life now

Six-year-olds, you may be noticing, like to be constantly active. This is one reason that school is difficult for some kids, especially boys. They have a strong need to be physical and moving. Sitting still can be a near impossibility. (They wiggle on the chair, sit on their knees or heels, change positions constantly.)

Help your child out by ensuring that outside time is a part of every day. Whether it's your backyard or the local playground, give her a chance to run free. If you choose after-school activities, make sure they're physical (like sports) rather than academic (like a language class).

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