School Age Children Development & Parenting Tips (6-12)


Raising school-age children can be awesome.  Watching them try new activities, cheering them on at athletic events and applauding their accomplishments at recitals are usually some of the high points for most parents.  However, achieving success is often preceded by frustration and sometimes learning to accept one’s weaknesses as well as celebrating and building on strengths.  When will equipped parents can be excellent coaches for their child no matter what the endeavor.

While toddlers and preschoolers need constant supervision, school-age children become gradually ready for more independence.  However, learning to make good choices and exercise self-discipline does not come easily for many.  Parents need to impart a moral code that the child gradually internalizes.  As children struggle with these important tasks parents must be able to provide praise and encouragement for achievement but parents must also be able to allow them to sometimes experience the natural consequences for their behavior or provide logical consequences to help them learn from mistakes.

Moving Onward (Encouraging Development):

Play Activities
Recommended Books for Parents
Videos on School Age Development

School Age Developmental Milestones

PhysicalLanguageIntellectual - CognitiveSocial - Emotional

Six to Nine Years

  • Growth rate slows.
  • Requires around eleven hours of sleep each night.
  • Needs frequent rest.
  • Establishes preference for one side of the body over the other.
  • Has established which hand to use.
  • Girls mature faster than boys.
  • Coordination not fully developed.
  • Runs, jumps, climbs, slides, and dances.
  • Plays ball, tag, and catch.
  • Improves writing skills.
  • Engages in art activities.
  • Plays musical instruments.
  • Dresses and undresses self completely.

Nine to 12 Years

  • Develops more adult-like proportions.
  • Develops harder, larger bones.
  • Is sick less often.
  • Extremely active.
  • Starts developing secondary sex characteristics.
  • May begin growth spurt.
  • Develops interest in more specific motor skills such as skating, bicycling, running and gymnastics.
  • Engages in organized sports such as tennis, baseball, football, swimming, and golf.
  • Has well developed small muscles.
  • Refines writing.
  • Develops special interests in activities such as model building, shop work, art classes, music, and crafts.
  • Tries new foods; has favorites.
  • Eats neatly.

Six to Seven Years

  • Should have mastered the consonants s-z, r, voiceless th, ch, wh, and the soft g as in George
  • Should handle opposite analogies easily: girl-boy, man-woman, flies-swims, blunt-sharp short-long, sweet-sour, etc
  • Understands such terms as: alike, different, beginning, end, etc
  • Should be able to tell time to quarter hour
  • Should be able to do simple reading and to write or print many words

Seven to Eight Years

  • Begins to use reference books.
  • Enjoys reading aloud.
  • Enjoys mysteries, adventure stories, and biographies.
  • Adjusts language and vocabulary to fit an audience, topic, or purpose.
  • Develops vocabulary from textbooks and personal reading.
  • Gives precise directions and instructions for more complex activities and tasks.
  • Tells and retells stories in a formal storytelling format using descriptive language, story elements, and voice to create interest and mood.
  • Demonstrates effective listening skills by exhibiting appropriate body language.
  • Uses a variety of simple and compound sentences of varied lengths.

Six to Nine Years

  • Asks more complex questions.
  • Desires detailed answers.
  • Shows unusual interest in numbers.
  • Accepts and understands rules.
  • Exhibits longer attention span.
  • Likes active, competitive games.
  • Enjoys simple games such as checkers and cards.
  • Draws symbolic pictures.
  • Understands the value of coins.
  • Enjoys hobbies and collections.
  • Likes to experiment.
  • Enjoys playing with dolls, blocks, and tools.

Nine to 12 Years

  • Recognizes problems and can work out solutions.
  • Draws conclusions from what is seen.
  • Learns to generalize and draw conclusions.
  • Is interested in factual information.
  • Enjoys group projects such as science and art.
  • Likes to construct things.
  • Enjoys learning experiences involving pets.
  • Applies math concepts to daily life.
  • Spends long periods of time working on hobbies and crafts.
  • Has increased memory and thinking
  • Becomes more abstract.
  • Understands the value of money.

Six to Nine Years

  • Is more cooperative and conscientious.
  • Desires support and approval.
  • Asks permission and follows instructions.
  • Likes to work and play with others.
  • Prefers friends own age; usually own sex.
  • Has a strong desire to please.
  • Is proud of and likes to assist parents.
  • May voluntarily help with younger siblings.
  • Forms sex-role identity (what it means to be male or female).
  • Respects other’s property.
  • Expresses anger more verbally than physically.
  • Boys quarrel more and use more physical force than girls.
  • Engages in elaborate and imaginative role play situations.

Six to Nine Years

  • Becomes more settled and quiet.
  • Worries about many things.
  • Shows fear of imaginary creatures (witches, monsters).
  • Is fearful of being alone.
  • Girls show more fear than boys.
  • Questions adults’ ideas.
  • Resents being told what to do.
  • Wants adult approval and love.
  • Desires independence.
  • Understands right from wrong.
  • Wants to be free of guilt.
  • Offers excuses for wrongdoing.
  • Complains about anything unpleasant.
  • Shows increased interest in friends.
  • Begins to have boy and girl friendships.
  • Desires group acceptance.
  • Boasts constantly.
  • Tells secrets, whispers, and giggles.

Nine to 12 Years

  • Becomes less self-centered.
  • Becomes excessively moody if puberty begins.
  • Quarrels more often.
  • Is sensitive and experiences hurt feelings in social situations.
  • Gets along well with others.
  • Engages in group activities.
  • Enjoys making new friends.
  • Shows loyalty to peers.
  • Acts and dresses like peers.
  • Maybe embarrassed to show affection to family members in front of peers.
  • Boys think girls are a nuisance and girls are tomboys.
  • Devises secret codes and practical jokes.
  • Resents being teased and criticized.
  • Develops a strong sense of right and wrong.
  • Is self-conscious of sexual development.
  • Exhibits hero worship.