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Developmental milestones: Your 7-year-old child

Knowing what to expect as your child grows can reassure you that your child is on track with his peers or alert you to potential concerns. Below are some milestones to watch for in your seven-year-old.

By Joyce Destefanis, M.A. , Nancy Firchow, M.L.S.

In the early school years, you won't see dramatic changes in your child's motor skills because this is a period of refinement, when coordination improves and fine motor skills are sharpened. But you will notice remarkable changes in his social and thinking skills. Your child is now building on the base of skills he developed during early childhood and moving toward greater independence, both intellectually and emotionally.

Here are some of the milestones you can expect of a 7-year-old:

Motor Development

  • hand-eye coordination is well developed
  • has good balance
  • can execute simple gymnastic movements, such as somersaults

Language and Thinking Development

  • uses a vocabulary of several thousand words
  • demonstrates a longer attention span
  • uses serious, logical thinking; is thoughtful and reflective
  • able to understand reasoning and make the right decisions
  • can tell time; knows the days, months, and seasons
  • can describe points of similarity between two objects
  • begins to grasp that letters represent the sounds that form words
  • able to solve more complex problems
  • individual learning style becomes more clear-cut

Social and Emotional Development

  • desires to be perfect and is quite self-critical
  • worries more; may have low self-confidence
  • tends to complain; has strong emotional reactions
  • understands the difference between right and wrong
  • takes direction well; needs punishment only rarely
  • avoids and withdraws from adults
  • is a better loser and less likely to place blame
  • waits for her turn in activities
  • starts to feel guilt and shame

Tips on Parenting a 7-Year-Old

Now more socially aware, your child thinks about the world around him.

  • This is a time of fragile self-esteem, so offer frequent encouragement and positive feedback.
  • Help ease the tendency for self-criticism by stressing what he's learned rather than how the final product looks.
  • Be patient and understanding of volatile emotions and moods.
  • Take advantage of his eagerness to learn by asking open-ended, thought-provoking questions, doing puzzles, and playing thinking games.
  • Initiate discussions about right vs. wrong.
  • Provide opportunities for independent decision-making.

Comments from readers

"Thanks for this great article, I always followed the milestones when he was little but didn't bother so much as he got older. This article has allayed some of my concerns about his emotional development - I feel very relieved right now. "
"Really enjoyed your article. I also wrote one on called "Traits of 7-year-olds" with a list of books and games 7 year old children enjoy. Thanks "
"My just 7 year old daughter has just joined a new family and my partner has an 11 year old boy. They play OK together however my daughter can annoy him and does not know when enough is enough. My dughter may talk down to him, try to dominate the play and she is looking for a play mate. Is this normal behaviour? The 11 year ols is at this limits with her and recently pushed her, what tips can someone offer?"
"I am loving my 7 year old he is awesome and has matured so much from age 6 to 7. A little hard at times when he was 6 but I must say he is totally fun and funny too."