Developmental Milestones: Second and Third Graders, Ages 7 and 8

Seven and eight-year-olds express an interest in "real" activities. Starting a collection, making jewelry, or sewing clothes for dolls supersedes fantasy play.

Because their attention spans have developed substantially, children this age are able to follow through on projects and find solutions to problems. They are fascinated by rules and incorporate them into game-playing with peers.

Socially, friends and teamwork are important to seven- and eight-year-olds. At this age, children begin to define themselves according to simple observations, such as "I am a fast runner." They may also become self-conscious, as the need for approval among peers becomes key. Children this age become less dependent on adults and, as a result, question parental authority more.

It is common to find a two-and-half-year difference in development among children in this age range. Children who lag in specific skills may compensate by exceeding expectations in other areas of development.

During the seventh and eighth years of life a child typically:

  • Manipulates small tools well
  • Enjoys testing own strength and skills
  • Has good balance
  • Is able to catch smaller balls
  • Ties shoelaces
  • Prints own name
  • Commonly reverses letters ("b" becomes a "d")
  • Enjoys planning and building activities
  • Reads often
  • Identifies difference between left and right
  • Recites days of the week
  • Wants to be with friends often
  • Enjoys rules, rituals and routines
  • Chooses same gender friends more often
  • Is interested in doing things correctly
  • Understands others' views (but still focused primarily on self)
  • Views life in black-and-white terms
  • Enjoys younger children
  • Doesn't like to have accomplishments ignored
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