After what may have been a bumpy year while your child was six, the seven-year-old can be a bit of a relief. While every child is an individual and everyone develops according to his or her own inner-schedule, there are some developmental stages and achievements that are typical for a seven-year-old. Here is what you can expect from a seven:
Both the small motor skills and large motor skills are continuing to develop, although the large muscles are still developing faster than the small ones. Children this age are still quite physically active and will show increasing coordination and dexterity. While they used to run, stop, and then kick a ball or change directions, at seven they may be able to connect these activities without having to stop. They learn to run and kick a ball while in motion. By this age, children may master jumping rope, climbing on play structures, and riding a two-wheel bicycle.
Seven-year-olds are also developing their writing and drawing skills. Holding a pencil or pen becomes easier and the child may be able to write the alphabet and several words. Vocabulary continues to grow and while they are increasingly aware of the world around them, things still tend to be processed as black or white, this or that – ambiguity is not a comfortable condition for a seven-year-old.
Seven-year-olds are still quite self-centered although they are also very interested in playing and interacting with their peers so they are becoming increasingly aware of others as separate and different individuals. It used to be thought that children this age preferred to play with same-sex peers, but with sociological changes, this doesn’t seem to be as assumed as it once was. Most children this age actually seem to show an interest in playing with a variety of peers and for many, gender is incidental.
Intellectually, children this age may be able to count by 2’s, 5’s and 10’s and can understand days of the week and a calendar. They are also developing a better understanding of time and many may be learning to tell time or at least know that 6 o’clock means dinner and that they go to school at 8 o’clock. This is the age where children are able to use a chart to keep track of chores and/or mark off days on a calendar and plan for a future date or activity.
While their lives may be filled increasingly with organized and structured activities, seven-year-olds still need plenty of down time and unstructured time to play and process their changing world.