Your Child at 7: Milestones

Many parents can’t help but wonder if their children are growing and developing at the right pace. Sometimes common milestones can be a helpful tool.

But remember that all children are different and special. Milestones are meant to be guidelines, not strict rules.

If you have specific questions about how your child is hitting a certain milestone associated with being 7, you should consult your family doctor or your child’s pediatrician.

Keep an eye out for these kinds of milestones:

  • Language and academic
  • Development
  • Social and emotional

Language and Education

A 7-year-old child, typically in second grade, normally will be developing more complex sentences as they grow.

  • They’ll learn to speak better and be able to follow a longer series of commands than they could at age 6.
  • They have begun to see that some words have more than one meaning. That helps them understand jokes and puns and start verbally expressing a sense of humor.
  • Children in early school years can show fast growth in mental ability.

By now, children:

  • Understand the concept of numbers
  • Know day from night, and left from right
  • Can tell time
  • Can repeat three numbers backward

Get to know your school administrators and your child’s teachers. Participate in homework assignments. If you think your 7-year-old is falling behind, stay calm but be on the lookout for:

  • Difficulty reading or other possible signs of disability
  • Something that’s bugging your child, like bullying
  • A mental health issue or stress

Continued

Development

  • Baby teeth will be falling out to make room for permanent teeth.
  • Kids in this age group generally grow about 2.5 inches a year and 4 to 7 pounds a year.
  • A sense of body image has begun.
  • Children in early school years also complain more about tummy aches, leg pains, and such. That might be because they’re becoming more aware of their bodies. Still, parents should check these complaints out to make sure there’s no injury or illness.

Resist the urge to compare your child to others or to some “standard” you’ve heard about.

Your doctor should have a growth chart for each child. He or she will use that to decide if there might be a growth issue -- not broad guidelines.

Avoid making your kid eat more to reach some “standard” number about weight.

Remember that everyone is unique.

Social, Emotional

  • From ages 6 to 8, kids are getting more and more independent from their parents. They will try to show how big they are, and do things that might be dangerous.
  • Peer acceptance becomes more important than before in the early school years. They are learning to cooperate and share.
  • Boys will tend to play with boys, and girls with girls.
  • Parents should let kids make their own choices about sports and toys -- what’s “for boys” or “for girls” and such. And keep a range of diverse, non-stereotypical examples around.
  • It’s about now that kids start to develop skills and attention spans and understand teamwork to start playing organized sports.
  • With growing language skills, kids get increasingly better at describing what has happened, what they feel, and what they think.
  • Lying, cheating, and stealing are to be expected somewhat in early school years. Kids are figuring out where they fit, the difference between right and wrong, and what’s acceptable.

More Ways Parents Can Help

  • Use steady time limits on video games, computer use, and TV. Make sure screen time doesn’t cut into physical play, enough sleep, and family communication time.
  • Keep reading to your 7-year-old, and have him read to you.
  • Consider parental controls on computers and TV.
  • Don’t be afraid to talk to your kids about tough topics like peer pressure, violence, drug use, and sexuality. Find age-appropriate ways to answer questions without adding to confusion or fear.
  • Support your child’s self-esteem, and encourage them to have fun and express themselves.
  • Consider swimming lessons and fire safety training for your child.
WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on April 16, 2017

Sources

SOURCES:

National Institutes of Health, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Medline Plus: “School-age children development.”

KidsHealth: “Growth and Your 6- to 12-Year-Old,” “What’s Funny to a School-Age Child?”

CDC: “Middle Childhood (6-8 years of age).”

Stanford Children’s Health: “The Growing Child: School-Age (6 to 12 Years).”

Mayo Clinic: “Children’s Health.”

Healthy Children: “Gender Identity and Gender Confusion in Children,”

“Safety for Your Child: 6 Years.”

American Academy of Pediatrics: “New Recommendations for Children’s Media Use.”

 

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