As children move into the "middle childhood" phase of development--which most experts define as 6 to 12 years old --their unique personalities will be growing and changing so quickly it may be difficult for the adults in their lives to keep up. No two children are the same, but these are some general guidelines to help parents and other caregivers ensure that kids are on the right track.
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Although growth slows once children reach school age, they should continue to grow steadily in height and weight during this period. Children between 6 and 10 should exhibit high levels of energy, but not be so hyperactive that they can't focus when necessary. By age 6, they should have the coordination necessary to ride a bike and throw and catch a ball, and by 10 their movement should be coordinated and smooth. Doctors recommend 10 hours of sleep for this age group.
As children reach middle childhood, they should be able to deal with frustration and anger without lashing out. They will start to question unknown concepts like death and may exhibit fear about them. Many children will try to understand the world beyond their home and will ask many questions. Between 6 and 10, a child's personality and sense of humour will develop quickly and strongly.
This time is crucial for children's social development, as they start spending more time in school and with peers than with family. It's normal for children to rotate through "best" friends and to start to form cliques. Most children will have primarily friends of their own gender, and may have frequent disagreements with each other as they try to assert dominance over one another. Girls of this age are especially prone to hurt feelings, but will move past the conflict within a matter of days or hours.
At age 6, children should be able to count to 100 and write their own name. By age 8, they should be able to read for pleasure and keep up in all school subjects. They should be able to write short paragraphs and comprehend what they read. They should be able to tell time. Their memories should be getting sharper throughout this period, and they should be able to set and achieve goals.
As they get older, children should be able to grasp concepts of "right" and "wrong." They should be learning to accept responsibility for their actions rather than blame others, and express concern for others. Some children develop these skills more easily than others, and adults should model and explain why it's important to do the right thing and care about other people and things.
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