Unit 7.1 Developmental milestones at 6-8 years

Social and Emotional

  • Playing with friends is very important
  • Playing alone is also important
  • Prefers play with same sex
  • May have a best friend
  • Still self-centered, but trying to understand others
  • Is learning to express emotions verbally
  • Wants to be right, to win or to be the first
  • Wants everyone to follow rules
  • Thinks life is unfair if denied wants
  • Strong sense of right and wrong, especially in other people’s action
  • Sees things in extreme (the most amazing, the absolute worst)
  • Finds it hard to accept failure or criticism
  • Can be helpful with younger children
  • Is able to accept responsibility for chores

Cognitive & Language/Communication

  • Is learning to read and write
  • May reverse letters
  • May try to spell phonetically
  • May be excited about reading and want to read on their own
  • Receptive and expressive vocabularies are extensive
  • Increased memory
  • Increased problem-solving skills
  • Longer attention span
  • May enjoy collecting, sorting collections
  • Knows left and right
  • Learning to tell time
  • Knows months of the year
  • Knows days of the week
  • Interested in the final product of their undertakings
  • May ask for an allowance or find ways to make money


  • Physically very competent
  • Good sense of balance
  • Enjoys testing physical skills
  • May be interested in group sports
  • Loses baby teeth and permanent teeth are coming in
  • Can print name
  • Can copy or draw complex shapes and designs
  • Can tie shoelaces
  • May have a growth spurt
  • Appetite fluctuates depending on growth and activity
  • May enjoy learning to play a musical instrument

Research has shown that children who have close friends generally make better adjustments at school. Having a friend to start school with, or even before or after school care with, provides reassurance and safety.

The school age child’s self-esteem is a fragile thing. The way other people view them has a lot to do the way children see themselves. If a child is constantly corrected and criticized, even in a constructive, well-intentioned way, they will begin to feel as though they can’t do anything right. Every child does some things right, so give equal time to acknowledgement and positive reinforcement.

Encourage the development of positive self-esteem in the following ways:

  • Provide a loving, supportive environment
  • Be sure the children know that you care for them (use words and physical gestures)
  • Provide developmentally appropriate limits and set reasonable consequences
  • Encourage the children to set self-limits
  • Encourage the children to set realistic and attainable goals for themselves
  • Allow the children choices and the opportunity to make decisions for themselves
  • Allow the children to learn from their mistakes
  • Encourage the children to express their thoughts and emotions, even if you don’t agree or understand
  • Do not belittle or demean the children for any reason
  • Do not label children (e.g. lazy, clumsy, or stupid)
  • Encourage the children to try out different activities (e.g. sports, music, arts); they will learn new skills and find out where their talents lie
  • Provide the children with lots of opportunities for success