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Child Growth Stages



School-age Child Development


School-age Child Development

Years six through twelve is said to be middle childhood. This period is characterized by the ability to consider several factors, evaluate oneself and perceive the opinions of others. Self-esteem is essential to the development of the school-aged child.

I. Physical development

During this period, growth averages to 3-3.5 kg (7 lb) and 6 cm (2.5 in) per year. Growth occurs in irregular spurts lasting on average 8 wk, three to six times per year. The head grows only 2-3 cm in circumference.

Loss of baby teeth begins at about age 6 years of age.

Muscular strength, coordination, and stamina increase progressively.

The sexual organs remain physically immature, but interest in gender differences and sexual behavior remains of interest to many children.

II. Cognitive and language development

School-aged children increasingly apply rules, consider multiple points of view, and interpret their perceptions in view of realistic principles.

Factors that determine classroom performance include eagerness to please adults,cooperativeness, competitiveness, willingness to work for a delayed reward, self-confidence, and ability to risk trying.

Beginning in third or fourth grade, children increasingly enjoy strategy games and word play (puns and insults) that exercise growing cognitive and linguistic mastery.

III. Social and emotional development

School-aged children identify with same-sex parents, adopting them as role models. School-aged children display decreased emotional lability toward parents and an increasing involvement in relationships outside of the home.

Social and emotional development proceeds in three contexts: the home, the school,and the neighborhood. The home is the most influential.

Parents should make demands for effort in school and extracurricular activities, celebrate successes, and offer unconditional acceptance when failures occur. Regular chores provide an opportunity for children to contribute to the family, supporting self-esteem.

Siblings have critical roles as competitors, loyal supporters,and role models. Sibling relationships influence self-image, approach to conflict resolution and interests.

The beginning of school coincides with a child's further separation from the family and the increasing importance of teacher and peer relationships. In addition to friendships that may persist for months or years, experience with a large number of superficial friendships and antagonisms contributes to a child's growing social competence. Popularity, an important part of self-esteem, may be won through possessions as well as through personal attractiveness, accomplishments, and social skills.

Conformity is rewarded in school-aged children. Some children conform readily and enjoy easy social success and those who adopt individualistic styles or have visible differences may be stigmatized.


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