Developmental Milestones: Middle Childhood (6-8 years of age)

 

Middle childhood brings  many changes in a child’s life. By this time, children can dress themselves,  catch a ball more easily using only their hands, and tie their shoes. Having  independence from family becomes more important now. Events such as starting school  bring children this age into regular contact with the larger world. Friendships  become more and more important. Physical, social, and mental skills develop  quickly at this time. This is a critical time for children to develop  confidence in all areas of life, such as through friends, schoolwork, and  sports.

Here is some information  on how children develop during middle childhood:

   Emotional/Social Changes

Children in this age  group might:

  • Show more independence  from parents and family.
  • Start to think about the  future.
  • Understand more about his  or her place in the world.
  • Pay more attention to  friendships and teamwork.
  • Want to be liked and accepted by friends.

 

Thinking and Learning

Children in this age  group might:

  • Show rapid development of mental skills.
  • Learn better ways to  describe experiences and talk about thoughts and feelings.
  • Have less focus on one’s  self and more concern for others.

Positive Parenting Tips

 

Following are some things you, as a parent, can  do to help your child during this time:

  • Show affection for your child.  Recognize her accomplishments.
  • Help your child develop a sense of  responsibility—ask him to help with household tasks, such as setting the table.
  • Talk with your child about school,  friends, and things she looks forward to in the future.
  • Talk with your child about  respecting others. Encourage him to help people in need.
  • Help your child set her own  achievable goals—she’ll learn to take pride in herself and rely less on  approval or reward from others.
  • Help your child learn patience by  letting others go first or by finishing a task before going out to play.  Encourage him to think about possible consequences before acting.
  • Make clear rules and stick to them,  such as how long your child can watch TV or when she has to go to bed. Be clear  about what behavior is okay and what is not okay.
  • Do fun things together as a family,  such as playing games, reading, and going to events in your community.
  • Get involved with your child’s  school. Meet the teachers and staff and get to understand their learning goals  and how you and the school can work together to help your child do well.
  • Continue reading to your child. As  your child learns to read, take turns reading to each other.
  • Use discipline to guide and protect  your child, rather than punishment to make him feel bad about himself. Follow  up any discussion about what not to  do with a discussion of what to do  instead.
  • Praise your child for good behavior. It’s best  to focus praise more on what your child does (“you worked hard to figure this  out”) than on traits she can’t change (“you are smart”).
  • Support your child in taking on new  challenges. Encourage her to solve problems, such as a disagreement with  another child, on her own.
  • Encourage your child to join school and  community groups, such as a team sports, or to take advantage of volunteer  opportunities.

 

Child Safety First

 

More physical ability and more independence can put children at risk for injuries from falls and other accidents. Motor vehicle crashes are the most common cause of death from unintentional injury among children this age.

  • Protect your child properly in the car. For detailed information, visit the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Car Safety Seats: A Guide for Families.
  • Teach your child to watch out for traffic and how to be safe when walking to school, riding a bike, and playing outside.
  • Make sure your child understands water safety, and always supervise her when she’s swimming or playing near water.
  • Supervise your child when he’s engaged in risky activities, such as climbing.
  • Talk with your child about how to ask for help when she needs it.
  • Keep potentially harmful household products, tools, equipment, and firearms out of your child’s reach.

 

Healthy Bodies

 

  • Parents can help make schools healthier. Work with your child’s school to limit access to foods and drinks with added sugar, solid fat, and salt that can be purchased outside the school lunch program.
  • Make sure your child has 1 hour or more of physical  activity each day.
  • Limit screen time for your child to no more than 1 to 2 hours per day of quality programming, at home, school, or afterschool care.
  • Practice healthy eating habits and physical  activity early. Encourage active play, and be a role model by eating healthy at  family mealtimes and having an active lifestyle.

Spotted on CDC. Click here for link.

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