The Primary School Years

From the ages of 5 to 12, children's brain development slows down compared to the first five years. However, a lot takes place during those years. Below are some common milestones during those years. As a parent, doing things that help to bring on confidence in these areas at these ages is a helpful way to ensure emotional stability and positive wellbeing in your children.


6- to 7-year-olds:

  • Understands concept of numbers

  • Knows daytime and nighttime

  • Knows right and left hands

  • Can copy complex shapes, such as a diamond

  • Can tell time

  • Can understand commands with three separate instructions

  • Can explain objects and their use

  • Can repeat three numbers backwards

  • Can read age-appropriate books and/or materials

8- to 9-year-olds:

  • Can count backwards

  • Knows the date

  • Reads more and enjoys reading

  • Understands fractions

  • Understands concept of space

  • Draws and paints

  • Can name months and days of week, in order

  • Enjoys collecting objects

10- to 12-year-olds:

  • Writes stories

  • Likes to write letters

  • Reads well

  • Enjoys using the telephone

Social Interaction

6- to 7-year-olds:

  • Cooperates and shares

  • 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

  • Modest about body

  • Likes to play board games

8- to 9-year-olds:

  • Likes competition and games

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

  • Modest about body

  • Enjoys clubs and groups, such as Scouts/Brownies

  • Becoming interested in romantic relationships, but does not admit it

10- to 12-year-olds:

  • Friends are very important; may have a best friend

  • Increased interest in the opposite gender

  • Likes and respects parents

  • Enjoys talking to others

Consider the following as ways to foster wellbeing and confidence:

  • Set and provide appropriate limits, guidelines, and expectations and consistently enforce using appropriate consequences.

  • Model appropriate behavior.

  • Offer compliments for your child being cooperative and for any personal achievements.

  • Help your child choose activities that are appropriate for your child's abilities.

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

  • Encourage your child to read and read with your child.

  • Encourage your child to get involved with hobbies and other activities.

  • Encourage physical activity.

  • Encourage self-discipline; expect your child to follow rules that are set.

  • Teach your child to respect and listen to authority figures.

  • Encourage your child to talk about peer pressure and help set guidelines to deal with peer pressure.

  • Spend uninterrupted time together—giving full attention to your child.

  • Limit television, video, and computer time.

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