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Growth and Development, Ages 6 to 10 Years - What to Expect

Although children from ages 6 to 10 display a similar range of physical abilities, mental strengths, and social behaviors, they develop at their own pace. Even within families, differences between children can be extreme. One sibling may be outgoing and popular, while another is shy and awkward. Some children make progress in one area, such as reading and writing, while making little or no progress in another skill, such as math. Focus on helping your child enjoy and learn from activities rather than on measuring the outcome.

General development from ages 6 to 10

You can expect children in this age group to progress in five major areas:

  • Physical development. Children ages 6 to 10 usually grow in spurts, averaging about 7 lb (3 kg) and 2.5 in. (6 cm) each year. Your child will also lose about four baby teeth each year. These are replaced by permanent teeth camera.gif.
  • Cognitive development. Thinking and reasoning skills, called cognitive skills, mature rapidly between ages 6 and 10. As these skills develop, so does a child's ability to solve problems. But reasoning remains simple in that most children only understand concepts as they relate to the here and now. Concepts such as the distant past are usually too abstract for children at this age to grasp.
  • Emotional and social development. Children ages 6 to 10 are developing friendships. Self-esteem, which is a person's sense of worth and belonging, becomes increasingly important as your child interacts more with people outside of his or her immediate family. Children this age also compare themselves to others.
  • Language development. At age 6, most children know the meanings of about 13,000 words. From ages 6 to 10, they gradually think in more complex ways. For example, children advance from understanding simple sentences to being able to interpret complicated content within a paragraph. They grow from writing a few words at a time to composing complex stories and reports.
  • Sensory and motor development. Children between ages 6 and 10 make major gains in muscle strength and coordination. Most children within this age range develop basic motor skills, such as kicking, catching, and throwing. Gradually, children become more skilled at more complex activities, such as dancing, shooting a basketball, or playing the piano.

Growth and development milestones are roughly grouped by year of age. Use age-specific guidelines as one of many tools to assess your child's overall development. Many things, such as inherited genetic traits, health, personality and temperament, cultural norms, and home environment, influence a child's pace at reaching milestones.

Milestones by age

By 6 years of age, most children:

  • Have gained enough muscle strength and coordination to hop and skip, and they can catch a ball.
  • Begin to understand cause-and-effect relationships. "Magical thinking" typical of preschoolers quickly fades around this age. But your child keeps an active imagination.
  • Focus on only one issue at a time when solving problems.
  • Begin to understand how combinations of letters and sounds form words. They recognize some written words and may even have started reading simple text.
  • Become increasingly social with their peers. But they depend on caregivers for most personal interaction.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: May 14, 2013
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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