Even before birth, parents are often wondering if their child is normal and if they are hitting developmental milestones (or for those tracking such things in utero, whether the child is the size of the appropriate vegetable). That wondering doesn't stop after you and your children have outgrown the What to Expect books.
Parents of tweens wonder what to expect in the near future as that child grows and changes daily, and what those changes in the child mean for their parenting approach. Here are some websites to help you track development of your tween and teen and that offering great parenting advice that I've found helpful and not obnoxious.
1. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has child development websites, including one on Middle Childhood, intended to cover ages 9-11, and this one for Young Teens, aimed at parents of kids 12-14 years old. It includes milestones of adolescent child development, safety tips, ways to positively parent and a section on healthy bodies.
The CDC website touches on a wide variety of areas, ranging from setting goals to keeping kids in the back seat of the car until age 12 because "motor vehicle crashes are the most common cause of death from unintentional injury among children of this age."
2. HealthyChildren.org is a website run by the American Academy of Pediatrics and it has a Grade School section, a compilation of articles that apply to children ages 5-12. It is broken down into the categories of Fitness, Nutrition, Puberty and School.
Info on kids who are 12-18 years old can be found in their Teen section. The teen section seems like a better fit for tweens, in my opinion. It addresses everything from "Healthy and Unhealthy Choices at Fast Food Restaurants" to a ton of articles on Substance Abuse ranging from cocaine to prescription medication to anabolic steroids.
3. TalkWithKids.org is a national initiative by Children Now and the Kaiser Family Foundation that gives parents "concrete tips and techniques for talking easily and open with young children ages 8 to 12 about some very tough issues, including sex, HIV/AIDS, violence, drugs and alcohol."
I included this one because dealing with these topics can be a developmental milestone for both kids and parents, and a milestone that seems daunting or scary or just uncomfortable, but also hugely important.
I appreciated all of their 10 helpful tips, but was especially a fan of "research shows that children want and need moral guidance from their moms and dads, so don't hesitate to make your beliefs clear" and "[d]on't be afraid to initiate discussions repeatedly, either. Patience and persistence will serve you and your child well."
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