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Middle Years

Developmental Milestones  5-6 Years


Middle childhood brings many changes to a child’s life. By this time, a child can catch a ball more easily with only their hands, and tie their shoes.  They can dress themselves andhave an understanding of personal grooming and the use of polite expressions (thank you, please, excuse me, etc).


Children at this stage can sense positive and negative emotions and they express emotions such as fear, anger, sadness, excitement and affection. They display socially accepted values such as sharing and what is fair and what is not fair and what is wrong and right. 


These young children can understand school rules and the importance of obeying them and they can also assist with chores at home and in the classroom.


They can count to 100 and count in twos to twenty, use the days of the week, and the months of the year in sequence.  Children in this age range can relate time to morning, evening, before lunch, after lunch, yesterday and today

Music can perform a major role in the life of young children and at this age they can listen to and watch musical performances and they can recognise musical instruments by sound. They respond to rhythms and can walk or dance to beats of songs and poetry.


Children at this age can identify colours and they can mix colurs and observe the emergence of  a new colour.    They can also indulge in paper art by creating objects and they can use old boxes,rolls, bottle covers, leaves, etc to create something.


Thisi s also the time when children demonstrate fundamental motor and non-locomotor skills as they skipp, hop crawl, ride a bicycle, throw a ball, bat (cricket), or use a racket.   Children should be allowed to get involved in activities that can enhance these skills


6-8 Years

Developing independence from family becomes more important now. Events such as starting school bring children this age into regular contact with the larger world. Friendships become more and more important. 


Physical, social, and mental skills develop rapidly at this time. This is a critical time for children to develop confidence in all areas of life, such as through friends, schoolwork, and sports. 


  • Emotional/Social Changes

  • More independence from parents and family.

  • Stronger sense of right and wrong.

  • Beginning awareness of the future.

  • Growing understanding about one’s place in the world.

  • More attention to friendships and teamwork.

  • Growing desire to be liked and accepted by friends


Mental/Cognitive Changes

  • Rapid development of mental skills.

  • Greater ability to describe experiences and talk about thoughts and feelings.

  • Less focus on one’s self and more concern for others


By now your child should be counting to 100 in ones, twos, fives and tens, and they should be able to form groups of tens, fives, etc.  They should be able to create halves and quarters by folding, shading and cutting paper and collect information by asking questions in relation to simple project work.  As they approach the age of eight, they should be reading numbers up to 999 and performing simple addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.  Fractions would also be introduced to them at this stge.  They should also be read aloud, speak clearly and using standard english and pay attention to and respond appropriately.It is a good idea to encourage reading in children by taking them to the library or buying books for them to read. 


Physical activity should be continued children should be getting involved in activities that can continue to develop thier motor skills (dancing, swimming, gymnastics martial arts, football, cricket, tennis, badminton, squash, etc)


Positive Parenting

  • Show affection for your child. Recognize her accomplishments.

  • Help your child develop a sense of responsibility—ask him to help with household tasks, such as setting the table.

  • Talk with your child about school, friends, and things she looks forward to in the future.

  • Talk with your child about respecting others. Encourage him to help people in need.

  • Help your child set her own achievable goals -she’ll learn to take pride in herself and rely less on approval or reward from others.

  • Make clear rules and stick to them, such as how long your child can watch TV or when he has to go to bed. Be clear about what behavior is okay and what is not okay.

  • Help your child learn patience by letting others go first or by finishing a task before going out to play.

  • Encourage him to think about possible consequences before acting.

  • Do fun things together as a family, such as playing games, reading, and going to events in your community.

  • Get involved with your child’s school. Meet the teachers and staff to understand the learning goals and how you and the school can work together to help your child do well.

  • Continue reading to your child. As your child learns to read, take turns reading to each other.

  • Use discipline to guide and protect your child, rather than punishment to make her feel badly about herself.

  • Support your child in taking on new challenges. Encourage him to solve problems, such as a disagreement with another child, on his own.

  • Teach your child to watch traffic and how to be safe when walking to school, riding a bike, and playing outside.

  • Make sure your child understands water safety, and always supervise her when she’s swimming or playing near water.

  • Supervise your child when he’s engaged in risky activities, such as climbing.

  • Talk with your child about how to ask for help when she needs it.

  • Keep potentially harmful household products, tools, equipment, and firearms out of your child’s reach.


Middle Childhood

(9-11 years old)


Developmental Milestones

Your child’s growing independence from the family and interest in friends might be obvious by now. Healthy friendships are very important to your child’s development, but peer pressure can become strong during this time. Children who feel good about themselves are more able to resist negative peer pressure and make better choices for themselves.


This is an important time for children to gain a sense of responsibility along with their growing independence. Also, physical changes of puberty might be showing by now, especially for girls. Another big change children need to prepare for during this time is starting middle or junior high school


During this time, your child might:

  • Form stronger, more complex friendships and peer relationships. It becomes more emotionally important to have friends, especially of the same sex.

  • Experience more peer pressure.

  • Become more independent from the family.

  • Become more aware of his or her body as puberty approaches. Body image and eating problems sometimes start around this age.

  • Face more academic challenges at school.


Unfortunately, too many children at this age are sent off to extra lessons to prepare for the Common Entrance Exam.  It is often better for children to get involved in extra curricular activties which teaches skills such as time management, team work, focusing and character building.  Children with low self esteem can gain a lot from performing well or enjoying an extra curricular activity that can also become a future career for them.It is strongly recommended that parents get hold of a copy of the 'Attainment Targets' set out by the Ministry of Education to understand what your child should be doing at this time in the class room.  Having a copy of this booklet would allow you the parent to measure your child's development in the class room.  The copies are available for each class at $5.00 each.


Positive Parenting

You can help your child become independent, while building his or her sense of responsibility and self-confidence at the same time. Here are some suggestions:


  • Spend time with your child. Talk with her about her friends, her accomplishments, and what challenges she will face.

  • Be involved with your child’s school. Go to school events; meet your child’s teachers.

  • Encourage your child to join school and community groups, such as a team sport, or to take advantage of volunteer opportunities.

  • Help your child develop his own sense of right and wrong. Talk with him about risky things friends may pressure him to do, like smoking or dangerous physical dares.

  • Help your child develop a sense of responsibility—involve your child in household tasks. Talk to your child about saving and spending money wisely.

  • Meet the families of your child’s friends.

  • Talk with your child about respecting others. Encourage your child to help people in need. Talk with him or her about what to do when others are not kind or are disrespectful.

  • Help your child set his own goals. Encourage him to think about skills and abilities he would like to have and about how to develop them.

  • Make clear rules and stick to them. Talk to your child about what you expect from her when no adults are supervising. If you provide reasons for rules, it will help your child to know what to do in those situations.

  • Use discipline to guide and protect your child, instead of punishment to make him feel badly about himself.

  • Talk with your child about the normal physical and emotional changes of puberty.

  • Encourage your child to read every day. Talk with her about her homework.

  • Be affectionate and honest with your child, and do things together as a family.


More independence and less adult supervision can put children at risk for injuries from falls and other accidents. Motor vehicle crashes are the most common cause of death from unintentional injury among children of this age.


  • Protect your child in the car. All children younger than 12 years of age should ride in the back seat with a seat belt properly fastened. Children should ride in a car seat or booster seat until they are 4 feet 9 inches tall (because adult seat belts do not fit people under this height).

  • Know where your child is and whether an adult is present. Make plans with your child for when he will call you, where you can find him, and what time you expect him home.

  • Many children get home from school before their parents get home from work. It is important to have clear rules and plans for your child when she is home alone.

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