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Age 6 to 12 development guidelines

​Understanding your child's changing and emerging growth and development is an important part of parenting.

The following guidelines will help you monitor your child's development.

It's important to note that not all children develop at the same rate, so comparing your son to your neighbor's daughter of the same age may not be the best method.

These guidelines will help you spot potential problems and alert your Marshfield Clinic pediatrician.

Your child's doctor can determine if there's a problem or not. 

The Growing Child: School-Age (6 to 12 Years)

Children progress at different rates. They have different interests, abilities, and personalities. But there are some common milestones many children reach from ages 6 to 12.

12 year old boys hanging out.

What can my child do at these ages?

As your child grows, you’ll notice him or her developing new and exciting abilities.

A child age 6 to 7:

  • Enjoys many activities and stays busy

  • Likes to paint and draw

  • Practices skills in order to become better

  • Jumps rope

  • Rides a bike

A child age 8 to 9:

  • Is more graceful with movements and abilities

  • Jumps, skips, and chases

  • Dresses and grooms self completely

  • Can use tools, such as a hammer or screwdriver

A child age 10 to 12:

  • Likes to sew and paint

What does my child understand?

As children enter into school age, their skills and understanding of concepts continue to grow.

A child age 6 to 7:

  • Understands the concept of numbers

  • Knows daytime and nighttime

  • Knows right and left hands

  • Can copy complex shapes, such as a diamond

  • Can tell time

  • Understands commands that have 3 separate instructions

  • Can explain objects and their use

  • Can repeat 3 numbers backward

  • Can read age-appropriate books

A child age 8 to 9:

  • Can count backward

  • Knows the date

  • Reads more and enjoys reading

  • Understands fractions

  • Understands the concept of space

  • Draws and paints

  • Can name the months and days of week, in order

  • Enjoys collecting objects

A child age 10 to 12:

  • Writes stories

  • Likes to write letters

  • Reads well

  • Enjoys using the telephone

How will my child interact with others?

An important part of growing up is learning to interact and socialize with others. During the school-age years, you’ll see a change in your child. He or she will move from playing alone to having multiple friends and social groups. Friendships become more important. But your child is still fond of you as parents, and likes being part of a family. Below are some of the common traits that your child may show at these ages.

A child age 6 to 7:

  • Cooperates and shares

  • Can be jealous of others and siblings

  • Likes to copy adults

  • Likes to play alone, but friends are becoming important

  • Plays with friends of the same gender

  • May have occasional temper tantrums

  • Is modest about his or her body

  • Likes to play board games

A child age 8 to 9:

  • Likes competition and games

  • Starts to mix friends and play with children of the opposite gender

  • Is modest about his or her body

  • Enjoys clubs and groups, such as Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts

  • Is becoming interested in boy-girl relationships, but doesn’t admit it

A child age 10 to 12:

  • Finds friends are very important; may have a best friend

  • Has increased interest in the opposite gender

  • Likes and respects parents

  • Enjoys talking to others

How can I encourage my child's social abilities?

You can help boost your school-aged child's social abilities by:

  • Setting limits, guidelines, and expectations and enforcing them with appropriate penalties

  • Modeling good behavior

  • Complimenting your child being cooperative and for personal achievements

  • Helping your child choose activities that are suitable for his or her abilities

  • Encouraging your child to talk with you and be open with his or her feelings

  • Encouraging your child to read, and reading with your child

  • Encouraging your child to get involved with hobbies and other activities

  • Promoting physical activity

  • Encouraging self-discipline and expecting your child to follow rules that are set

  • Teaching your child to respect and listen to authority figures

  • Encouraging your child to talk about peer pressure and setting guidelines to deal with peer pressure

  • Spending uninterrupted time together and giving full attention to your child

  • Limiting television, video, and computer time 

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What Do You Know About Child Development?

Test your knowledge of child development by taking this quiz.

1. When riding in a motor vehicle, how tall should a child be to sit in a regular seat and use an adult seat belt instead of a being strapped into a car safety seat or booster seat?
2. For which of these should you call your doctor instead of trying at-home treatment?
3. Two out of 3 teen girls don't get enough of which of these in their diet?
4. How much has the rate of obesity in children increased in the last 35 years?
5. Menstruation can begin at which of these ages in girls?
6. It's estimated that 3 to 7 percent of American school children have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Which of these famous people is thought to have had the condition?