Ages 6-9: Developmental Overview

What to Expect

Children boarding a school busAs your child continues to grow, you’ll begin to notice new and exciting abilities. You’ll also notice a keener interest in the differences between boys and girls. It’s not uncommon for children of this age to want to play only with friends of the same sex.

And while children of this age enjoy many activities, they may also feel that their appearance or cultural background makes them “too different.” They may be reluctant to participate in activities outside of home, such as Cub Scouts or Girl Scouts. Reassure your child that you love and accept her just for who she is. Continue to encourage her to explore new activities.

Appreciate your child for the unique, lovable person he is. How you interact during an activity is what’s most important. Remember that helping your child develop good feelings about himself is also doing things with him, not just for him. 

Intellectual Development

  • Kids learn to read gradually. Children who are read to aloud and are encouraged to read tend to develop more quickly intellectually.
  • Your child will become more sophisticated in understanding the concept of time. They enjoy hearing about times past.
  • By age 6, most children can count to 100. By age 9, they are beginning to learn how to multiply.
  • Engaging the bodies as well as the minds of children this age will help them learn.

Physical Development

  • More physical abilities will develop. Many children can dribble a ball with one hand by age 6. Most learn how to ride a two-wheel bike. They become more skillful at skipping and catching and throwing a ball.
  • Kids this age like to move. Many become restless and wiggle if they sit for too long, which is why school can be difficult for some children at this age.
  • Your child may practice balancing a lot. They balance on curbs, chairs, and other high places. Monitor their balancing acts to make sure they’re safe.

Social Development

  • Children this age become more adept at relationships, but they also may have many conflicts with their peers.
  • Many children are competitive, and can become argumentative and quarrelsome when they lose.
  • Children in this age group can be hard on their younger siblings.
  • At age 6 or 7, kids tend to do best with one friend, but by age 8 or 9 they can begin working well in small groups of three or four.

Emotional Development

  • Children still tend to be self-centered. Most want to be first, and most want all the attention. Squabbles can break out when your child feels slighted.
  • You’ll notice periods when your child sulks, pouts, and worries. Help him deal with disappointments and worries.
  • Children tend to have their feelings easily hurt. They also tend to assume that people who hurt them “did it on purpose.” Help your child not feel victimized or always jump to acting on revenge.