What to Expect: Age 8
Your child is probably growing more confident in their abilities by the day. As a parent, you may be wondering if that confidence is well-founded. Is your child truly meeting all of the milestones that they should in these formative years?
By eight years old, your child likely has mastered a significant number of new skills compared to their kindergarten years. Many parents struggle to understand what is normal for a child in this age range. Fortunately, there is a very general set of guidelines to help you determine whether your child is growing as they should.
For more information on milestones every eight-year-old should achieve, you can read more in the sections below.
Social and Emotional
Has your child started to foster their sense of independence? While your child may have started developing a life apart from you years ago, it truly develops during their eighth year. They are more likely to handle conflict with peers on their own. They also place extreme value on being well liked and accepted by their friends. In a general sense, they are developing their place in the world and determining where they fit in.
Other important social and emotional skills include:
- Continued sense of self-worth or self-esteem
- Awareness of weak personal areas
- Potential leadership skills
- Ability to mask emotions
- Consideration of the feelings of others
This year won’t bring much that’s new in the physical realm. Because puberty is still a few years away for most children, their bodies will stay relatively the same. However, they will continue to make gains in hand-eye coordination and strength. Children who enjoy sports may begin to refine their skills and develop specific talents.
It should be noted that some children will develop a dislike of sports around this age. Parents should continue to encourage their children to take part in physical activity of some kind. Some physical activity can help them to continue strengthening motor skills in a non-competitive way.
Your child’s attention span has gotten significantly longer over the past year. At eight years old, a child should be able to focus for at least an hour. This allows them to absorb and process more information, which can mean huge strides academically. Their language skills continue to expand and boost their overall reading comprehension.
In math, your child can count to much higher numbers (likely close to 1,000) and see how numbers fall about one another. They may also be ready to move past basic addition and subtraction. This is the year that basic multiplication is often introduced to children.
Because of their major gains in both reading and mathematics, most children are developing a greater degree of critical thinking. They can problem solve inside of their textbooks and in real life. For parents, this can sometimes lead to arguments over why a child’s opinion is right, complete with supporting details that prove it. It can be a frustrating time for parents, but it’s a good sign that their ability to reason is rapidly developing.
This year is full of wonderful growth that parents should take the time to soak up. Puberty’s turmoil is only a few short years away. Take some time to reflect on how well your child is meeting these milestones, and relish their growing sense of independence. You may find yourself enjoying your child’s company more this year than ever before.