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Child Development Guide: 7-8 Years

— Washington State Department of Social and Health Services
Updated on Feb 17, 2011

Developmental Tasks

  • To develop a sense of accomplishment centered around the ability to learn and apply skills, deal with peers, competition, self-control, and greater physical strength.
  • To develop and test values and beliefs, which guide present and future behaviors.

Indicators Related to Developmental Lag

  • Excessive concerns about competition and performance, especially in school; extreme rebellion; teasing; whining; headaches; nervous stomach; ulcers; nervous tics; consistent unconcern with completion of tasks (procrastination); overdependence on caregivers for age-appropriate tasks, e.g., combing hair, going to the store, tying shoes, finding a restroom in a restaurant; social isolation; lack of friends and involvements; few interests; inappropriate relationships with "older" people, e.g., teenagers; stealing; pathological lying; bedwetting; fire-setting.

Note: Although these tasks and indicators may be present during ages 7 to 12, each may be more observable at specific times.

PHYSICAL DEVELOPMENT: Seven to Eight Years
Normal Characteristics Suggested Behaviors for Effective Parenting
Drives self until exhausted. Assist child in changing activity to avoid complete exhaustion; be aware of child's physical limits.
May frequently pout. Be patient, as child may not necessarily unhappy or dissatisfied, but is going through a stage.
Now has well-established hand-eye coordination and is likely to be more interested in drawing and printing. Provide opportunities and materials for drawing and printing.
May have minor accidents. Have plenty of fun band-aids on hand.
Is less interested in sex play and experimentation; can be very excited about new baby in family. Encourage child-infant relationship, if present.
Has fewer illnesses but may have colds of long duration; appetite is decreasing. Fine tune your supportive bedside manner.
May develop nervous habits or assume awkward positions, e.g., sitting upside down on the couch, constant foot tapping. Be patient with annoying habits, and do not draw attention to awkwardness.
Physical Development for Six to Seven Years Physical Development for Eight to Nine Years
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INTELLECTUAL DEVELOPMENT: Seven to Eight Years
Normal Characteristics Suggested Behaviors for Effective Parenting
Is eager for learning. Uses reflective, serious thinking. Thoughts can be based on logic; child can solve more complex problems. Attention span is good. Ask many thought-provoking questions. Stimulate thinking with open-ended stories, riddles, thinking games, discussions. Give many opportunities for decision making and selecting what he/she would do in particular situations.
Enjoys hobbies and skills. Likes to collect things and talk about personal projects, writings, and drawings. Encourage the pursuit of hobbies and interests.
Favors reality. Add stories that deal with reality. Provide biographies to read.
Likes to be challenged, to work hard, and to take time completing a task. Give challenges that are appropriate for level of ability; allow plenty of time to accomplish a task.
Intellectual Development for Six to Seven Years Intellectual Development for Eight to Nine Years
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SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: Seven to Eight Years
Normal Characteristics Suggested Behaviors for Effective Parenting
Will avoid and withdraw from adults; has strong emotional responses to teacher; may complain that teacher is unfair or mean. Show understanding and concern.
Likes more responsibility and independence. Is often concerned about doing well. Assign responsibilities and tasks that can be carried out, and then praise child's efforts and accomplishments. Help child accept own performance.
Participates in loosely organized group play. Encourage appropriate social interaction.
Concerned with self and others' reactions. May fear being late; may have trouble on the playground; "kids are cheating" or "teacher picks on me" often said. Help child evaluate his or her perceptions of others' behaviors.
May use aggression as a means to solve problems. Attempt to prevent conflicts before they erupt.
Starts division of sexes (girls play with girls/boys with boys). Encourage nontraditional gender based activities.
Social Development for Six to Seven Years Social Development for Eight to Nine Years
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EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT: Seven to Eight Years
Normal Characteristics Suggested Behaviors for Effective Parenting
May complain a lot ("Nobody likes me," "I'm going to run away," etc.). Provide reasonable sympathy.
May not respond promptly or hear directions; may forget; is easily distracted. Remind and check as necessary.
May withdraw or not interact with others, in an attempt to build a sense of self. Provide personal support and reassurance.
Emotional Development for Six to Seven Years Emotional Development for Eight to Nine Years
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MORAL DEVELOPMENT: Seven to Eight Years
Normal Characteristics Suggested Behaviors for Effective Parenting
May experience guilt and shame. Acknowledge and support child's standards and discuss reasonableness of child's expectations. Encourage the child to be self-forgiving.
Focus on the worth of an individual rather than on behavior. Then work on changing the behavior.
Moral Development for Six to Seven Years Moral Development for Eight to Nine Years
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