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Growth and Development, Ages 6 to 10 Years

Topic Overview

What kinds of development occur between ages 6 and 10?

Children ages 6 to 10 are more independent and physically active than they were in the preschool years. They also are more involved with friends and are learning to think in more complex ways.

Progress in the major areas of development—physical, intellectual, emotional, and social—is gradual. But the changes you will see in your child from one year to the next can be dramatic.

How will my child change physically?

Strength and muscle coordination improve rapidly in these years. Many children learn to throw, hit a baseball, or kick a soccer ball. Some children may even develop skills in more complex activities, such as playing basketball or dancing.

How will my child change intellectually?

From ages 6 to 10, your child develops a more mature and logical way of thinking. He or she gradually becomes able to consider several parts to a problem or situation. This is a change from the simplistic thinking of a preschooler.

Even though their thinking becomes more complex, children in this age group still think in concrete terms. This means they are most concerned with things that are "real" rather than with ideas. In general, these things are those that can be identified with the senses. For example, actually touching the soft fur of a rabbit is more meaningful to a child than being told that an object is "soft like a rabbit." Because they still can mostly consider only one part of a situation or perspective at a time, children of this age have difficulty fully understanding how things are connected.

How will my child change emotionally and socially?

When children enter school, they leave the security of home and family. They become players on the larger stage of school and friends. Here, they learn some crucial skills—including how to make friends—that they can use for the rest of their lives.

Children's self-esteem, which is their sense of worth and belonging, is fragile and can change rapidly depending on what is happening around them. At times, children of this age seem like little adults as they march off to school with backpacks full of responsibilities. But at other times, they can be as unreasonable as toddlers.

How can I manage this active time?

Parents often overestimate their children's ability to make good decisions. Children of this age need firm and consistent rules that are explained clearly and compassionately. Effective parents are able to give their children enough independence to learn from their successes and failures and at the same time provide consistent direction and unconditional support.

Try to check in with your child every day. Ask him or her about the good and bad things that happened. And help your child learn from those experiences.

Frequently Asked Questions

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