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Ages & Stages

Your Checkup Checklist: 8 Years Old

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Your 8-year old is likely starting to use logic and reason in new ways each day. They are also getting better at focusing on multiple parts of a problem at once. These skills are important as your child's schoolwork and activities may start to get more intense.

Your child's peer group is becoming more and more important in their life. They will begin to identify more with kids who have similar interests. They may even have a "best" friend.

As their circle of friends widens, children often encounter beliefs and practices different than their own family's. While an 8-year-old will try to make sense of these differences, they can sometimes run into conflict. This is a normal part of development and allows them to practice their reasoning and problem-solving skills.

What to expect at the 8-year well-child visit

Like last year's visit, your pediatrician will ask your child questions. Your pediatrician may ask how they are liking school, for example. These conversations help build a trusting relationship. They also let your pediatrician observe your child's social development and mental health. If your child struggles in any areas, your pediatrician can help determine the cause and identify supports.

Here's what else to expect at this check-up:

✅ Immunizations

At 8 years old, your child should have already received several booster shots. If your child has missed any vaccines in the DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, and acellular pertussis) or Tdap series, MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) series, polio series, or varicella (chickenpox) series, your pediatrician can give the remaining dose. A vaccine series does not need to be restarted, regardless of how long it has been between doses.

Your pediatrician will also recommend the influenza (flu) vaccine during flu season. Children this age can receive one or two doses of the influenza vaccine yearly, so be sure to talk to your pediatrician about your options. The doctor will also discuss the latest COVID-19 vaccine guidelines.

Many schools require proof of vaccination, and your child's pediatrician can provide an updated record. Make sure to check with your child's school if they have any new or additional vaccine requirements. You can use these tips to make getting a shot less stressful on your child.

✅ Health Screening

Like last year, your pediatrician will perform a full physical exam for your child. This exam may include a vision and hearing screening. Your child may also be screened for anemia, lead exposure, tuberculosis and Hepatitis B virus infection, and fluoride supplementation.

Your pediatrician will also perform a behavioral and social emotional screening for your child. They may ask about your child's friends, their extracurricular activities and how they feel at home. They want to make sure your child is safe in school and in other spaces. It is also important for your pediatrician to see if your child is receiving social emotional support.

If needed, your doctor can provide community resources that discuss housing, food and other necessities for your family.

Questions your pediatrician may ask you

  • Does your child have any special health care needs?

  • Has your child received any specialty or emergency care since your last visit? Have there been major changes in your child's or family's life?

  • Does your child live with anyone that smokes, drinks, or uses drugs?

  • Do you feel safe in your home and neighborhood? Has your child expressed any concerns about their safety at school?

Questions your pediatrician may ask your child

  • What is something you know you are good at?

  • Describe the responsibilities and tasks take care of at home.

  • Do you have any questions about your health today?

✅ Developmental Screenings

During the visit, your child's pediatrician will focus on your child's progress in school. They may ask what projects they are doing, what books they have read recently, and ask about their report cards or evaluations. These scores are important because they measure your child's success and can bring attention to any areas of concern.

If you have any concerns about your child's academic performance, bring them up to your pediatrician. They may suggest screening for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or other learning differences.

Your doctor may suggest you begin discussing puberty with your child and the changes to expect. These conversations are appropriate for children this age and in this developmental stage. Puberty may have begun in some girls and is marked by breast development. This can occur as early as 7 years old, so it is important for your child to understand these changes.

Questions your pediatrician may ask you

  • Do you have any concerns about your child's behavior in school? Are they able to use logic and reason in their schoolwork? Have their teachers expressed any concerns about their performance?

  • Do you know your child's friends? How does your child interact with other children?

  • Does your child ask you about other beliefs and values they encounter? Have they had any issues understanding these differences?

  • Has your child started asking you questions about puberty? Does your child's school discuss puberty and/or health?

  • What does your child do for physical activity? It is recommended that children this age need 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity on most days of the week.

Questions your pediatrician may ask your child

  • What is something you enjoy doing in school? Tell me about a project you are proud of?

  • What are some of your favorite activities? Do you share any interests with your friends?

  • What do you do when you get frustrated about something? Do you like solving problems?

  • Do you know how to get help in an emergency if your parents are not there?

Questions you may have

  • My child is struggling in school. What can I do?

  • What activities should my child be doing outside of school?

  • My child is a picky eater. What can I do to help? How can I get my child to eat breakfast?

Did you know? Having responsibilities at home can help your 8-year-old develop a sense of personal competence. Making their own bed, picking up clothes, and setting the table are great ways for your child to become more confident in their abilities. This will also help them feel more involved in your household and give them a sense of purpose.

✅Feeding & Healthy Nutrition

At 8 years old, your child will spend a lot of their time in school and at other activities. This is an important time to form healthy habits. It is important your child learns nutritious eating at home, which can help them make healthy decisions about meals and snacks when they are in school or at other activities.

If you pack your child lunch or snacks for school, try to provide them with balanced and nutritious options. Letting your child make some choices about their lunch will allow them to have more control over their own eating patterns. This can also help your child learn what healthy choices are and support these choices in and outside of your home.

Questions your pediatrician may ask you

  • Does your child eat school lunch? Do you know if they offer different options? What does your child eat each day?

  • Do you pack your child's lunch or snacks? What options do you provide?

  • Does your child brush their teeth twice a day?

  • What does your child drink with each meal?

Questions your pediatrician may ask your child

  • Do you help make any meals or snacks at home?

  • What did you have for breakfast today?

Questions you may have

  • How can I make sure my child gets all their vitamins and nutrients?

  • What snacks can I give my child? What should my child be eating for meals?

✅ Safety

Your 8-year-old has probably is using computers and other tech devices more often in school. They may want more screen time to play games and use apps, either by themselves or with their friends. Your pediatrician can offer tips to monitor your child's internet usage and to be aware of who your child talks to online. Creating a supportive space to talk about internet habits will increase the trust you have in your child and the choices they make.

At this age, it is important to have boundaries with your child. As they become more independent, they will try to push limits and prove they are grown up. Parents should openly talk about street safety, water safety, and other dangers. 8-year-olds should also use a booster seat, and parents should always make sure they are properly buckled in.

Children in homes where firearms are present are in more danger of being shot by themselves, family or friends than by an intruder. If you have a gun in your home, keep it unloaded and in a locked place with the ammunition locked separately. Also, ask if homes where your child visits have guns and how they are stored. This can help keep your child safe even when they are not with your family.

Have open and ongoing conversations with your child about safety. Risks like bullying, fighting and sexual abuse can threaten your child's safety, and your child should be comfortable coming to you with any issues. If you have any concerns about your child's safety in your home, at school, or in your neighborhood, be sure to bring them up to your pediatrician.

Questions your pediatrician may ask you

  • Have you talked to your child about internet safety? Do you have concerns about your child's media usage? Does your family have a Family Media Plan?

  • Who watches your child when you cannot?

  • How does your child get to school each day? Does your child's school monitor who picks up the children each day?

  • Have you taught your child to never keep secrets from his or her parents?

Questions your pediatrician may ask your child

  • What seat do you ride in when riding in the car?

  • Do you always wear a helmet when biking, skating, or doing other outdoor activities?

  • Do you know about gun safety?

Questions you may have

  • How can I keep my child safe during outdoor play?

  • How can I give my child more freedom as they are getting older?

✅ Communication Tips

Your pediatrician's top priority is to address any concerns you or you have about your child. You and your child should always feel comfortable bringing up any issues with your pediatrician.

More information

Last Updated
American Academy of Pediatrics (Copyright @ 2024)
The information contained on this Web site 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.
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