A lot is happening within the brains and bodies of children ages 6 to 10. Along with growing stronger and more social, most children gradually gain critical thinking skills and a basic understanding of complex issues. Also, children are becoming more aware of their bodies and appearance.
This is a time of trial and error. Children in this age group are figuring out how the world works and what their place is in it. It is easy for parents to be alarmed when their child has occasional lapses in appropriate behavior or judgment.
Q: My 7-year-old son likes to swallow his bubblegum. I’ve heard that
it will stay in his stomach forever. True?
A: This old wives’ tale is very popular on the playground, but it’s
"It is true that most of the components of bubblegum are not found in
nature," says Robynne Chutkan, MD, a gastroenterologist and assistant professor
of medicine at Georgetown University. "And as such we don’t have the enzymes to
break them down. But eventually gum does get through the intestine...
Try to encourage your child's independence while you demonstrate your unconditional love. A child who feels he or she has a strong safety net at home is better equipped to try new things and to grow and develop in healthy ways.
Common concerns of parents usually relate to physical growth and development, difficulties in school, and social situations.
Issues related to physical appearance and skills
The rate of growth varies a lot among individual children. Some children are small for their age, and others are large. It can be hard for a child who falls outside the range of "normal." A small child may find it hard to succeed in sports. Children who are tall for their age may have problems when people think they are older and expect them to act that way. Also, some children, particularly girls, are "early bloomers" and may enter puberty before their peers. This can lead to self-consciousness and embarrassment.
Help your child understand that everyone grows at his or her own pace. Assure your child that he or she can handle difficulties related to size, appearance, or athletic skill.
Also, encourage and model healthy eating and physical activity habits for your child. Staying at a healthy weight and eating healthy foods helps children to feel their best not only physically but also mentally and emotionally.
Difficulties in school
Children ages 6 to 10 develop at different rates not only physically but also intellectually. If your child seems to be struggling in certain subjects and is not meeting general cognitive development or language development milestones, talk to your doctor. Keep an open mind about having your child evaluated instead of waiting for him or her to "grow out of it." Of course, be mindful that there is a fine line between being concerned and over-reacting. Talk to your child's teacher and other school staff about your child's strengths and weaknesses. Keep a friendly and supportive relationship with your child's teachers to help build your child's confidence. Working as a team also is likely to result in a more consistent approach. A child is more likely to know what to expect and be more assured when parents and teachers are helping each other.
Work on ways to strengthen your child's self-esteem. Help your child recognize and nurture his or her own talents. Children in this age group often experience a wide range of emotions that can change very quickly depending on what is happening around them. Try to show your child how to see the big picture. Talk about all the successes he or she has had, such as doing well on a test, learning new spelling words, or making an impressive art project.