By the age of eight, most children are confident and active – they are likely showing shimmers of the evolving individual they are growing up to be. While every child is an individual and everyone develops according to his or her own individuality and developmental time-table, there are some developmental stages and achievements that are typical for the eight-year-old. Here are some of the typical things you can expect from a eight:
Eight-year-olds become very focused on “the group.” For many parents, it now seems like their child rarely spends time alone and is always running with “a pack.” Children may show preference for same sex friends at this age and sleepovers, parties and after-school activities tend to really take off and dominate for the eight-year-old. As children expand their lives, they begin to take a more critical look at their own homes and may start to rebel and question the parent’s authority.
By this age, most children are decent readers and may be reading for pleasure and choosing some of their own “favorites.” Writing should be coming easier as well, although spelling can still be a challenge (for some kids, spelling may always be a challenge!) More abstract thinking and a better understanding of cause and effects starts to develop at this age, but children are still rather self-centered.
Physically, children show a lot of increased confidence and agility by the eighth year. This is an age where children are better able to learn new skills and participate in team sports and they may be willing to take more risks with their new-found physical confidence. Roller blading, ice skating, doing “tricks” on a bicycle, skateboarding, and other more complicated physical tasks can be learned rather easily by the agile eight-year-old.
Small motor development is growing at this age, as well. An eight-year-old can be quite detailed in cutting with scissors and painting and some even start sewing, or working on models at this age. Eight-year-olds can also do more complicated puzzles and are able to understand most time concepts and plan and organize better than they could just a year before. Of course, temperament will be a factor as some children seem to appreciate organization and planning more than others.
Expect an eight to be very interested in what the friends are doing and what is being worn, said, played with, etc. by the “other kids at school.” Also, expect that eight-year-old will be much better behaved away from home than in the home. By this age, many children are well aware of what is expected of them in terms of manners when they are at school or a friend’s home, but parents may not get to see it.