Child Development 6 to 12 years

Blog > Child Development 6 to 12 years
Dr.Anoopa Rani BHMS PGDMLD Published: '. July 27, 2018
6 to 12 years include two stages of development - Late childhood and Puberty

Late childhood;
Extends from 6 years to the time when secondary sexual changes begin. Then we call it Puberty. Beginning with the child’s entry into formal schooling and ending in the advent of puberty. This is the period of excellence and pseudo - maturity. New interests develop for the child and besides some maturity in sex; the child also develops certain amount of physical and mental growth. It is also a period of self discovery. Child learns about himself and the large social world around him.  Parents’ name this period as – the troublesome age and quarrelsome age; educators call it as - elementary school age and critical period, and psychologists named the late childhood as - gang age, creative age and play age. 6 – 12-year-olds ask a lot of questions as they gather information about the world and how it works. They are also eager to learn new skills, including social skills

    Developmental tasks during late childhood 
    Develop fundamental skills for learning, writing, reading, writing and calculating. 
    Enhancing their ability to reason
    Developing responsibility
    Learning to get along with age mates.
    Learning skills for ordinary games.
    Achieving personal independence.
    Acquiring skills to express emotion in words and gain control over their emotions
    Developing sense of morality.
    Accepting and following rules and internalizing them
    Beginning to develop appropriate masculine and feminine roles.
    Developing concepts necessary for living and studying
    Building wholesome attitude towards oneself and to small groups.
    Selecting adult role models of the same sex

Failure to master the developmental tasks will result in immature patterns of behavior, which will result in alienation with peer group as they are not able to keep up with their age mates who have mastered these tasks.
Late Childhood is a period of acquiring skills and establishing skills learnt during the preschool years. What skills children learn depends partly on their environment, partly on the opportunities given to them, partly on their physical growth, partly on their relationship with peers, family, school etc.

Physical Development
In the span of Late childhood development the physical development is slow, steady and uniform. Physical growth follows a predictable pattern, although variations do occur. Child’s bones and muscles grow in length and width. Height increases and so also weight. Gross motor skills develop. Child gains more control over their body. Child learns skills like throwing and catching balls, riding bicycle, swimming, skipping etc. Increase in agility and speed occur. They start doing complex activity like playing football, basket ball etc. Writing becomes more legible as a result of developing fine motor skills. Also drawing, crayoning, painting, sewing, clay modeling skills develop and typing too. Their writing style gets established.  

Self Help Skills;
Children acquire skills to look after themselves. They needn’t be looked after always; they can be left on their own. They can have food on their own, dress, bathe, toileting etc. They can groom themselves. To develop these skills one needs conscious attention. 

Social Help skills;
Starts helping others. Helping at home with dusting, cleaning, sweeping, washing, in cooking, in serving food etc. At school helps in picking wastes, emptying waste baskets, cleaning blackboard, collecting books etc. Generally enjoys caring for and playing with younger children

Development of Creativity;
Late childhood is the stage then we can identify the creative talent in a child’s individuality. The talents, potentialities and inherent capabilities in the child may find expression through the suitable outlets provided to him. He no longer remains a blind imitator but gives evidence of his creative ability in thought, feeling and action. Have great imagination. Likes to build and create things.  

Emotional Development; 
Children at this stage discover that expression of emotions, especially the unpleasant emotions, is socially unacceptable to their age-mates. As a result they learn to control the outward expressions of their emotions. Characteristically, emotional expressions in late childhood are pleasant ones compared with the early childhood stage. A normal child at this stage believes in the sharing of love and affections. At this stage children also experience such emotions like - anger, fear, joy, anxiety etc. As they grow older, children begin to express their anger in sulkiness, moodiness etc. Temper tantrums become less frequent as they discover it is babyish. There are differences in ways children express their emotions. There are differences in the antecedents and consequences too. Feels hurt when called names or makes a derogatory comment about them. They just don’t want to lose. Boys, at every age, express the emotions that are regarded as sex appropriate, such as anger, curiosity than girls. The girls are likely to experience more fears, worries, feeling of affection than boys.
    Heightened emotionality in late childhood may come from physical or environmental causes or from both. When children are tired they are likely to be irritable fretful and generally difficult. Just before childhood ends, when the sex organs begin to function, heightened emotionality is at its peak.  Any change in pattern in child’s life can lead to heightened emotionality like parents changing jobs, so child too have to change home station or sometimes even change country, like broken homes due to death, divorce, alcoholism, adjustment problems of parents etc.

Intellectual development;
Brain continues to develop during late childhood. Difference between fantasy and reality becomes clear. Enjoys jokes, riddles, rhymes etc. The child is in a position to exercise his or her power of memory, attention, thinking and imagination and can solve problems intelligently. Able to give more thought to decisions. Begin to see others point of view. Child can follow instructions and directions with multiple steps. He can plan and organize activities. They use their more mature reasoning abilities to understand the reasons why the rules exist and to differentiate between wants and needs.  Large increases occur in the memory span, when compared to short-term memory in the early childhood.  While Long Term Memory is relatively fixed and unlimited. It increases with age during the late childhood. Starts to understand maps and geography.

Social development;
During the late childhood relationships outside family is built. It is a stage of socialization of the ego-centric nature of the child.  Relationships at school are usually restricted to members of same sex. Social skills such as sharing, caring, communication, conflict resolution further develop during this stage. They need acceptance from peers parents teachers and other adults. Want to be treated like an adult. Boys and girls begin to play less with each other. Classroom and the play ground situations train him how to feel, think and act together with others, share joy and sorrow with them. In playground they learn to accept failures. Which helps them a lot in later life.
Moral Development;
As morals develop children acquire a greater sense of right and wrong. There is a better understanding of what is acceptable behavior in their society. They develop an inner conscience. Their moral codes  are based on Peers, Medias, Literatures etc. Children show awareness and sense obedience to the school rules, laws and discipline. A sense of discipline and some sense of responsibility to school are acquired by him. Finds criticism or failure difficult to handle
Language Development
Should be able to consistently use simple, but structurally complete, sentences that average 5 – 7 words. Syntax and pronunciation becomes normal. Children use more complex sentences as they grow. A 6-year-old normally can follow a series of 4 commands in a row. By age 10, most children can follow 6 commands in a row. They learn about 50,000 words by the time they are in 6th grade.  They learn new words and new meaning for old words. There is improvement in the content of speech.  Learn better ways to describe experiences and talk about thoughts and feelings. Sight vocabulary words are understood. Tells narratives in proper sequence. Can comprehend sentences paragraphs and short stories.
Play Age;
The social situation provided in school develops his natural tendency to play. Group play and group activity make the child more social, loyal and disciplined. He is usually attracted to the school on account of the play situation provided by it. He begins to acquire social virtues like friendship, co-operation and competition in group play with his own age mates. The play activities and amount of time they spend to these activities will depend on how popular they are and if or not they belong to gangs. Boys and girls are aware of sex appropriateness, of different types of games and plays. Children like constructive plays, exploring, games, sports, amusements etc.  Seeks a sense of security in groups, organized play, and clubs

Gang Age;
Social senses urge the boys and girls to have organized groups. Gangs are play groups. Members of the gang are of same sex. They develop a strong sense of loyalty to the gang. They form certain rules and code of conduct of the gang and uphold them quite faithfully and obediently. They select their leader and owe the sense of subordination to him or her. Popular gang activity include games, sports, going for movies, getting together to talk or eat. Boys’ gangs often engage in socially unacceptable behavior than girls gangs. 

Self concept in Late Childhood;

How they are affected;
Children’s personalities are adversely affected if their intelligence deviates from the norm. Children who are duller than average sense their inferiority and may become shy, introvert, apathetic, melancholic or may become aggressive, abusive, irritable etc. Children with very high IQ are also likely to have self concepts. This is due to the fact that adults expect too much of them, as a result children feel they are failures. Unfavorable peer attitude also contributes because they are often intolerant towards those who are less bright than themselves; they show excessive pride in themselves and also in one’s achievements. Failures create a feeling of inadequacy. Repeated failures have a damaging effect on child’s personality
    Poor health, physical disabilities make children feel inferior. Children who are overweight or very small for their age may result in a feeling of inferiority. Calling nicknames, ridiculing cause resentment in children. Methods of disciplining that are unfair have an opposite influence. They can accept fair punishments. Inconsistent discipline leaves children unsure of what they are expected to do. Physical punishment leads to aggressiveness in children.  
    Acceptance of parents, peers, teachers have important effect on the self concept of the child. Success in tasks, arts, exams, games, sports etc leads to a feeling of confidence. They want to be treated as adults. Competent, understanding parents and teachers can do much to bring about good adjustments in children. The aspirations parents have for their children play an important role in their self concepts. Unrealistically high aspirations of parent make children learn to fail. Failure leads to inadequacy and inferiority.
Hazards of late childhood
It is important for us to know the hazards associated with this period. Types of hazards; Physical, Psychological, Cognitive, Moral, Social etc.

Family Relationship Hazards; 
Conflicts among family members lead to weak family ties. Child becomes maladjusted to his family and social situations. Single parent, parents any one of them or both abroad or far away can lead to frictions.  

Peer relationship problems;
Unfavorable peer comments, rejection by peers due to various reasons can have a harmful effect on their self concepts. Children compare themselves with their age mates in their appearance, achievements, shortcomings. May have a best friend and an enemy

Moral  Hazards
The development of a moral code based on peer or mass - media concepts of right and wrong 
A failure to develop a conscience as an inner control over behavior leads to poor social adjustment. 
Physical punishments serve only as a model of aggressiveness.  Finding peer approval of misbehavior is so satisfying that such behavior becomes habitual.  Intolerance to wrong doing of others. May belittle or defy adult authority

Language and speech hazards
A smaller than average vocabulary handicaps children in their school works as well as in their communications with others.  Speech errors, such as mis-pronunciation and grammatical mistakes, and speech defects, such as stuttering or lisping. Errors in writing like spelling errors, organizing thoughts for writing, understanding proper use of grammar. Difficulty in understanding figurative language, multiple meaning of words etc

Physical Hazards;
Over eating causes obesity. They tend to eat faster, bigger bites, more likely to clean their plates. Obese children lose out in active play; they miss opportunities to acquire skills. They are prone to hyperglycemia, hypercholestrimia etc.  Some on the other hand are averse to eating. Such children are prone to deficiency of Protein, Calcium, Vitamins, Iron or Micronutrients.  Falls, injuries, accidents tend to occur during late childhood. They leave permanent scars physically and psychologically.
 Recurrent illness makes their schoolwork suffer and may fall behind their peers. Most of the illness are real some are imaginary or faked.

Play Hazards; 
Some children are discouraged from taking part in games and sports as parents and schools think it is a waste of time. Such children have poor socialization, become rigid, and have difficulty in accepting failures 

Emotional hazards; 
During this period children begin to compare themselves with their age mates. They relate their achievements and shortcomings with that of their age mates.  When children show immature behaviors and unacceptable emotions which do not conform to norms; peers and adults ignore the children. This again leads to anger, jealousy and other unpleasant emotions. Many personality maladjustment begin this way. Personal dissatisfaction, habitual withdrawals, excessive resentments against authority, excessive excitability, excessive ego centrism, chronic anxiety, chronic low mood, apathy,, self derogatory ideas, self enhancement, hyperactivity etc are few signs that can lead to future troubles if not dealt with either psychologically or medically during this period itself.

What can be done to help typically developing children?     

  • Children need achievement, acceptance, affection and positive reinforcement to find happiness which will help children to view themselves realistically, to set goals according to their capacities and overcome inadequacies and feelings of inferiority. 
  • Help your child develop a sense of responsibility. Let him to help with household tasks, such as setting the table, washing dishes, folding clothes etc. And for sure appreciate for what is done though perfect or not.
  • Allow them make decisions about things that affect them, to the degree that their judgment allows.
  • Show affection to your child. Recognize their accomplishments.
  • Give them your time rather than buying costly gifts. Do fun things together as a family, such as playing games, reading, and going to events in your community.
  • Praise your child for good behavior. It’s best to focus praise more on what your child does.
  • Get involved with your child’s school. Meet the teachers and staff and get to understand their learning goals and how you and the school can work together to help your child do well.
  • Practice healthy eating habits and physical activity. Encourage active play, and be a role model by eating healthy at family mealtimes and having an active lifestyle. Limit screen time of your child. Even though this age does not like to lose, when playing a game make sure that you don’t always let the child win. Win some and lose some.
  • Be firm with your child without being angry. Discuss with the child anything that you disagree. Discuss what is agreeable. Give positive reinforcement when they adopt what you agree. Help them set their own achievable goals. When achieved recognize it Appreciate what they have achieved, Do not bribe by giving and promising gifts.
  • When you set rules at home, first we have to stick to the rules only then expect child to obey. Help them to understand their feelings and to identify feelings of others.
  • Allow them time to spend with their friends. Introduce them to role models other than parents . Be there for child when they need you the most. A touch, a hug  from a parent will create lots of positive vibe for the child. 


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HMP Vol 24 Issue 3