To continue with our series on child development at different ages, we now highlight on early school-age children, ages 6-8. Make-believe and fantasy play start to fade during this period as real-life tasks and achievements become more important. Here are some behaviors and developments to look for in your daughter of this age:
- Your daughter may view things as very black-and-white, right or wrong, good or bad, with little gray area in between. For example, she may talk of having a “best” friend and an “enemy.”
- Children this age enjoy copying down designs, shapes, letters, and numbers, but may still write some printed letters backwards.
- Attention span begins to increase around this age, and your daughter may begin to show more pronounced interest in projects, creating extravagant collections, building things, and reading.
- Hand-eye coordination improves at this age, as your daughter may begin to tie her own shoelaces and become skilled at using scissors or other small tools.
- Friendships become increasingly important. You may notice that your daughter begins to prefer friends of the same gender.
- At this age, children begin to be able to see others’ perspectives, but are still very self-centered. They find criticism and failure especially difficult to cope with and show strong motivation to do things correctly and impress others.
- Your daughter likely still struggles with logic and cannot grasp abstract or hypothetical concepts.
- You may begin to notice your daughter’s developing ability to distinguish between left and right, as well as starting to understand time and the days of the week.
- Children this age often enjoy caring for and playing with younger children.
Ideas for parents:
- Children this age often show enthusiasm for rules and rituals. Provide opportunities for your daughter to hone this understanding by playing simple table games like cards, tic-tac-toe, or Candyland.
- At this age, children relish a sense of accomplishment. Offer opportunities for them to help out and feel they’ve achieved something, such as building models, cooking, crafting, or playing an instrument.
- Another great idea to make your child feel that she is helping out and that her input is valued is to try working regular family meetings into your family’s schedule. Check out our blog post on family meetings for suggestions on what this might look like: https://austintherapyforgirls.com/2013/08/family-dinners-are-important/
- Make sure your child has ample opportunity for active play, such as jumping rope, tumbling, or playing ball.
- Foster your child’s social development and sense of cooperation by offering noncompetitive team activities like completing a puzzle or building a fort.
- Children this age are curious and eager to explore. Bring your child to new places like museums or different workplaces where she can learn and expand her understanding of the world.
- Encourage reading and writing by helping your child write stories, create and perform plays or puppet shows, or conduct experiments.