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Middle Childhood (School-age) Development Age 5-11 years
The information regarding the middle childhood development (age 5-11) were reviewed in many different sources. I have chosen to use information found primarily in the resources listed below.
Physical Development
  • During middle childhood, children grow at a slow consistent rate before reaching a large growth spurt during adolescence.
  • The average weight increase during middle childhood is 5 to 7 pounds a year.
  • The average height increase is 2 to 3 inches a year.
  • By the age of 11 years, the average girl is 4 feet, 10 inches tall, and the average boy 4 feet, 9 1/2 inches tall.
  • Muscle mass increases as baby fat decreases, while the legs become longer, and the body trunk becomes slimmer.
  • Strength gradually increases due to heredity and exercise, doubling their strength, during these years. Because of a greater number of muscle cells boys are usually stronger than girls.
  • Children's motor skills become smoother and more coordinated than in early childhood, for example, they are able to master running, skipping, bicycle riding, and skating.
  • Gross motor skills involve mastery of large muscle movements.
  • Fine motor skills are those dealing with dexterity.
  • Boys will usually out perform girls in gross motor skills, whereas girls typically perform better than boys in fine motor skills.
  • As children get older they become more aware of their bodies, and more able to control their physical movements.
  • Children are able to keep their attention longer, and have less distracting body movement.

Language Development
  • Early school-age children should be able to use simple, but complete sentences that average five to seven words. As the child goes through the elementary school years, grammar and pronunciation become normal. Children use more complex sentences as they grow.
  • Language delays may be due to hearing or intelligence problems. In addition, children who are unable to express themselves well may be more likely to have aggressive behavior or temper tantrums.
  • A 6-year-old child normally can follow a series of three commands in a row. By age 10, most children can follow five commands in a row. Children who have a problem in this area may try to cover it up with backtalk or clowning around. They will rarely ask for help because they are afraid of being teased.

Cognitive Development
  • Children are active learners who construct their own theories about how the world operates.
  • Children learn by doing.
  • Teaching should be through showing rather than telling.
  • Piaget encourages the use of concrete objects for teaching (blocks, rods, seeds)

Emotional and Social Development
  • Stress
    • Children experience many different types of stress in many shapes and forms. From gender, physical abilities, family life, economic and social class, education, and ethnicity.
    • One of the major stress children have to cope with is the separation from parents or guardian. Children have to adjust to the beginning of school. Middle age children begin to attend school for 5 to 7 hours, five days a week. Parents of middle age children usually begin to work part and full time jobs when children start elementary school. Thus, causing the children to attend an after school program, daycare facility, or arrive home to a babysitter or caregiver.
    • A second major source of stress is the adjustment to parent separations, divorce, and lack of one parental figure. Separated families cause too much or too little, positive and negative attention on the children, as well as financial and economical strain.
  • Children become more rebellious, and try to stand for what they feel is right. Therefore they are more likely to go against the authority of the parents, causing control to be joint, accepting input from both children and parents.
  • Friendships at this age tend to be mainly with members of the same sex. In fact, younger school-age children often talk about members of the opposite sex as being "strange" or "awful." Children become less negative about the opposite sex as they get closer to adolescence.
  • School age children are challenged with the issue of being accepted in their school environment. For example, being part of the popular crowd, having friends, wearing the "cool" clothes, being noticed, and how everyone perceives them. School age children start to look at their friends as advisers, instead of their adult figures. School age children spend a great amount of time with peers, about 40% of their day. They interact with peers in classroom settings, sport activities, and after-school programs.
  • Children are labeled by their peers as popular, those that are thought of as the "best friend" and accepted. Neglected children are those who are not considered "best friends", but are also accepted. Rejected children are usually not considered the "best friend", and are usually disliked by peers. Controversial children are placed in between being the "best friend", and being the disliked friend.
  • School age children grow through many changes, and are developing greatly. During the school age years, children are developing their individual selves, and finding their place and belonging.
  • Self-esteem is a key factor in development throughout life. During the school age years, children are dealing with many different challenges, environments and problems everyday. This is when self-esteem issues really begin to emerge and children are often sent on an emotional roller coaster.
  • School-age children are trying to find themselves and their place, in terms of gender, social status, and ethnic background. Morals have a great effect on a child becoming an individual.
  • They are being taught morals from their families, school, and religious backgrounds. Children are trying to make sense of all the beliefs and make them their own.
  • Frequent physical complaints (such as sore throats, tummy aches, arm or leg pain) may simply be due to a child's increased body awareness. Although there is often no physical evidence for such complaints, the complaints should be investigated to rule out possible health conditions, and to assure the child that the parent is concerned about his or her well-being.
  • Lying, cheating, and stealing are all examples of behaviors that school-age children may "try on" as they learn how to negotiate the expectations and rules placed on them by family, friends, school, and society. Parents should deal with these behaviors privately (so that the child's friends don't tease them). Parents should show forgiveness, and punish in a way that is related to the behavior.
  • An ability to pay attention is important for success both at school and at home. A 6-year-old should be able to focus on a task for at least 15 minutes. By age 9, a child should be able to focus attention for about an hour.
  • It is important for the child to learn how to deal with failure or frustration without losing self-esteem.