The Growing Child: School-Age (6 to 12 Years)

Picture of two young boys running

What can my child do at this age?

As your child continues to grow, you will notice new and exciting abilities that your child develops. While children may progress at different rates and have diverse interests, the following are some of the common milestones children may reach in this age group:

  • 6- to 7-year-olds:

    • Enjoys many activities and stays busy

    • Likes to paint and draw

    • May lose first tooth

    • Vision is as sharp as an adult's vision

    • Practices skills in order to become better

    • Jumps rope

    • Rides a bike

  • 8- to 9-year-olds:

    • More graceful with movements and abilities

    • Jumps, skips, and chases

    • Dresses and grooms self completely

    • Can use tools (i.e., hammer, screwdriver)

  • 10- to 12-year-olds:

    • Remainder of adult teeth will develop

    • Likes to sew and paint

What does my child understand?

As children enter into school-age, their abilities and understanding of concepts and the world around them continue to grow. While children may progress at different rates, the following are some of the common milestones children may reach in this age group:

  • 6- to 7-year-olds:

    • Understands concept of numbers

    • Knows daytime and nighttime

    • Knows right and left hands

    • Can copy complex shapes, such as a diamond

    • Can tell time

    • Can understand commands with three separate instructions

    • Can explain objects and their use

    • Can repeat three numbers backwards

    • Can read age-appropriate books and/or materials

  • 8- to 9-year-olds:

    • Can count backwards

    • Knows the date

    • Reads more and enjoys reading

    • Understands fractions

    • Understands concept of space

    • Draws and paints

    • Can name months and days of week, in order

    • Enjoys collecting objects

  • 10- to 12-year-olds:

    • Writes stories

    • Likes to write letters

    • Reads well

    • Enjoys using the telephone

How does my child interact with others?

A very important part of growing up is the ability to interact and socialize with others. During the school-age years, parents will see a transition in their child as he or she moves from playing alone to having multiple friends and social groups. While friendships become more important, the child is still fond of his or her parents and likes being part of a family. While every child is unique and will develop different personalities, the following are some of the common behavioral traits that may be present in your child:

  • 6- to 7-year-olds:

    • Cooperates and shares

    • Jealous of others and siblings

    • Likes to copy adults

    • Likes to play alone, but friends are becoming important

    • Plays with friends of the same gender

    • May have occasional temper tantrums

    • Modest about body

    • Likes to play board games

  • 8- to 9-year-olds:

    • Likes competition and games

    • Starts to mix friends and play with children of the opposite gender

    • Modest about body

    • Enjoys clubs and groups, such as Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts

    • Becoming interested in boy-girl relationships, but does not admit it

  • 10- to 12-year-olds:

    • Friends are very important; may have a best friend

    • Increased interest in the opposite gender

    • Likes and respects parents

    • Enjoys talking to others

How to help increase your school-aged child's social ability

Consider the following as ways to foster your school-aged child's social abilities:

  • Set and provide appropriate limits, guidelines, and expectations and consistently enforce using appropriate consequences.

  • Model appropriate behavior.

  • Offer compliments for your child being cooperative and for any personal achievements.

  • Help your child choose activities that are appropriate for your child's abilities.

  • Encourage your child to talk with you and be open with his or her feelings.

  • Encourage your child to read and read with your child.

  • Encourage your child to get involved with hobbies and other activities.

  • Encourage physical activity.

  • Encourage self-discipline; expect your child to follow rules that are set.

  • Teach your child to respect and listen to authority figures.

  • Encourage your child to talk about peer pressure and help set guidelines to deal with peer pressure.

  • Spend uninterrupted time together?giving full attention to your child.

  • Limit television, video, and computer time.


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