Children's Health and Wellness

The Growing Child: School-Age (6 to 12 Years)

Picture of two young boys running

Children progress at different rates. They have different interests, abilities, and personalities. But there are some common milestones many children reach from ages 6 to 12.

What can my child do at these ages?

As your child grows, you’ll notice him or her developing new and exciting abilities.

A child age 6 to 7:

  • Enjoys many activities and stays busy

  • Likes to paint and draw

  • Practices skills in order to become better

  • Jumps rope

  • Rides a bike

A child age 8 to 9:

  • Is more graceful with movements and abilities

  • Jumps, skips, and chases

  • Dresses and grooms self completely

  • Can use tools such as a hammer or screwdriver

A child age 10 to 12:

  • Likes to sew and paint

What does my child understand?

As children enter into school age, their skills and understanding of concepts continue to grow.

A child age 6 to 7:

  • Understands the concept of numbers

  • Knows daytime and nighttime

  • Knows right and left hands

  • Can copy complex shapes, such as a diamond

  • Can tell time

  • Understands commands that have 3 separate instructions

  • Can explain objects and their use

  • Can repeat 3 numbers backward

  • Can read age-appropriate books

A child age 8 to 9:

  • Can count backward

  • Knows the date

  • Reads more and enjoys reading

  • Understands fractions

  • Understands the concept of space

  • Draws and paints

  • Can name the months and days of week, in order

  • Enjoys collecting objects

A child age 10 to 12:

  • Writes stories

  • Likes to write letters

  • Reads well

  • Enjoys using the telephone

How will my child interact with others?

An important part of growing up is learning to interact and socialize with others. During the school-age years, you’ll see a change in your child. He or she will move from playing alone to having multiple friends and social groups. Friendships become more important. But your child is still fond of you as parents, and likes being part of a family. Below are some of the common traits that your child may show at these ages.

A child age 6 to 7:

  • Cooperates and shares

  • Can be jealous of others and siblings

  • Likes to copy adults

  • Likes to play alone, but friends are becoming important

  • Plays with friends of the same gender

  • May have occasional temper tantrums

  • Is modest about his or her body

  • Likes to play board games

A child age 8 to 9:

  • Likes competition and games

  • Starts to mix friends and play with children of the opposite gender

  • Is modest about his or her body

  • Enjoys clubs and groups, such as Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts

  • Is becoming interested in boy-girl relationships, but doesn’t admit it

A child age 10 to 12:

  • Finds friends are very important; may have a best friend

  • Has increased interest in the opposite gender

  • Likes and respects parents

  • Enjoys talking to others

How can I encourage my child's social abilities?

You can help boost your school-aged child's social abilities by:

  • Setting limits, guidelines, and expectations and enforcing them with appropriate penalties

  • Modeling good behavior

  • Complimenting your child being cooperative and for personal achievements

  • Helping your child choose activities that are suitable for his or her abilities

  • Encouraging your child to talk with you and be open with his or her feelings

  • Encouraging your child to read, and reading with your child

  • Encouraging your child to get involved with hobbies and other activities

  • Promoting physical activity

  • Encouraging self-discipline and expecting your child to follow rules that are set

  • Teaching your child to respect and listen to authority figures

  • Encourage your child to talk about peer pressure and setting guidelines to deal with peer pressure

  • Spending uninterrupted time together and giving full attention to your child

  • Limiting television, video, and computer time 

Online Source: American Psychological Association. Child Development 6 to 8 Years
Online Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Middle Childhood 6 to 8 Years of Age
Online Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Middle Childhood 9 to 11 Years of Age
Online Source: American Academy of Pediatrics. Helping Your Child Develop a Healthy Self Esteem
Online Source: American Academy of Pediatrics. How to Reinforce Your Child's Learning
Online Source: American Academy of Pediatrics. Parenting School-Age Children
Online Source: American Academy of Pediatrics. What Parents Can Do to Support Friendships
Online Editor: Metzger, Geri K.
Online Editor: Sinovic, Dianna
Online Editor: Wheeler, Brooke
Online Medical Reviewer: Finke, Amy, RN, BSN
Online Medical Reviewer: MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Date Last Reviewed: 4/29/2014
© 2000-2015 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.