Milestones: School Years

By Katerina HAKA-IKSE, MD, FRCP(C), FAAP on March 15, 2007

Your Child's Growth

Boys and girls grow at about the same rate between the ages of 5 to 10 years. There is a slight tendency for girls to be heavier. Boys tend to be more muscular, girls to have slightly more fat.

Movement

The motor coordination of the school age child is fast getting to be like an adult. If children have the inclination and opportunity, they can tackle most sports and activities, such as dancing, karate or gymnastics.

Hand Skills

Your school age child has a firm grip and so will gradually perfect paper and crayon or paper and pencil skills. By now, a child can do a number of arts and crafts with dexterity - and these help children to concentrate and develop patience and perseverance.

Don't allow gender stereotypes to limit the choice of exercise for your child. The guide should be what the family can accommodate in their schedule and what the child can enjoy without getting into competitive situations.

Language and Communication

School age children usually have excellent memories and a capacity to absorb new information. By now, your child's communication skills take a new form - written communication. Reasoning about people and events are developing as well as a need to explain what happens and why. These explanations may not always be accurate, but they are always refreshingly inventive!

Give your child opportunities to read, learn, reason. Be selective about what enters this young mind.

Emotional-Social Development

If all things are equal, school age children enjoy one of the most stable periods of their development during the primary school years.

By now, your child has established a good self-control system, has solved most of the earlier battles with you and any brothers or sisters, has friends and activities that are enjoyed and has a sense of purpose through school learning and other regular activities.

At this age, children get closer to the same sex parent and learn more about their own gender identity.

Most of the time their friendships are with the same sex. Boys and girls call each other 'boring'.

Be cautious about the amount of responsibility you assign to your child. Despite getting more mature, 5 to 10 year olds are still young. Supervise, guide and set limits.

Help your child to trust you by being available and by accepting the different feelings being experienced. Nobody is perfect. Your child may sometimes act in less mature ways or experience negative feelings. These can be sorted out with your help if you are not angry, critical and avoid delivering lectures.


Taken from The Canadian Baby & Child Care Encyclopedia.



By Katerina HAKA-IKSE, MD, FRCP(C), FAAP| March 15, 2007

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