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Milestones for 8-Year-Olds

Children usually progress in a natural, predictable sequence from one developmental milestone to the next. But each child grows and gains skills at his or her own pace. Some children may be advanced in one area, such as language, but behind in another, such as sensory and motor development.

Milestones usually are grouped into five major areas: physical growth, cognitive development, emotional and social development, language development, and sensory and motor development.

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Physical growth and development

Most children by age 8:

  • Grow about 2.5 in. (6 cm) and gain about 7 lb (3 kg) in a year.
  • May have arms and legs that seem too long for their bodies.
  • Lose about four baby teeth each year, which are replaced by permanent teeth.

Thinking and reasoning (cognitive development)

Most children by age 8:

  • Know how to count by 2s (2, 4, 6, 8, and so on) and 5s (5, 10, 15, 20, and so on).
  • Know what day of the week it is. They do not usually know the full date and year.
  • Can read simple sentences.
  • Complete simple single-digit addition and subtraction problems (such as 1 + 8, 7 + 5, 6 - 2, 4 - 3).
  • Can tell the difference between right and left.
  • Have a black-and-white perspective much of the time. Things are either great or awful, ugly or beautiful, right or wrong. They focus on one trait or idea at a time, which makes it hard for them to understand complex issues.

Emotional and social development

Most children by age 8:

  • Enjoy being around their friends. The opinions of their friends become increasingly important. And peer pressure may become an issue.
  • Gain a sense of security from being involved in regular group activities, such as 4-H or Scouts.
  • Are more likely to follow rules they help create.
  • Have rapidly changing emotions. Angry outbursts are common. Many children are critical of others, especially of their parents. They may seem dramatic and sometimes rude.
  • Are impatient. They like immediate gratification and find it hard to wait for things they want.
  • Are interested in money. Some children may become obsessed with saving and plans about earning and spending money.

Language development

Most children by age 8:

  • Have well-developed speech and use correct grammar most of the time.
  • Become interested in reading books. For some children, it is a favorite activity.
  • Are still working on spelling and grammar in their written work. This aspect of language development is not as advanced as oral speech.

Sensory and motor development

Most children by age 8:

  • Tie their shoelaces.
  • Draw a diamond shape.
  • Draw a person with 16 features.
  • Become increasingly skilled in hobbies, sports, and active play.
By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical Reviewer Louis Pellegrino, MD - Developmental Pediatrics
Last Revised May 16, 2011

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: May 16, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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