• How They Grow:  Elementary School Children

    Summarized from an article by Karen B. DeBord, ClassBrain.com


    • Early success in three 'outward journeys' is important for developing positive self-esteem.

      • Social: out of the home, into the friend group

      • Physical: into the world of games and school

      • Mental: into the world of logic and communication


    Social and Emotional Development

    • Attachment to friends, often a 'best friend,' develops.

    • Children are learning the rules of interactions. Give children positive feedback for good behavior; let your child help define the rules.

    • Competition: Children want to win, to lead or to be first. Encourage noncompetitive games and help your child learn how to set individual goals.

    • Children can become attached to teachers and other adults in their lives and will often quote them, try to please them and compete with other students for the adult 'hero's' attention.

    • Children want to talk to their parents and want to have uninterrupted time with them.

    • 'Good' and 'bad' are defined by the family's values.

    • Physical activity releases energy and tension. Parents can encourage quiet play and conversation before bedtime or when the child becomes over-tired.

    • Children become anxious about school, social relationships and disasters. Parents can reassure them with measured does of realism.

    • Help children celebrate their positive achievements. They are building a positive self-concept.

    • Children are sensitive to criticism and do not yet know how to accept failure. Asking 'can you learn to do that differently next time?' can help them learn.

    • Conscience, inner self-control, is being formed. Help your children know that self-control is important and that you value patience, sharing, and respect for others.


    Physical Development

    • Growth rate is slower than infancy and early childhood. Children's need and desire for food may fluctuate.

    • Childhood diseases may spread among groups of children. Parents can prepare for school absences due to illness.

    • Children loose their baby teeth; permanent teeth come in.

    • Muscle coordination and control is uneven and incomplete. Encourage activities that use high energy. Children need 10 – 12 hours of sleep each night.

    • Hand-eye coordination is developing. Handwriting, tying shoes and other fine motor activities become better as children practice and grow. Running and jumping build large motor skills. Both skills are important for physical development.


    Mental Development

    • Children begin to understand their own behavior. Parents can do simple reasoning with their child. Asking 'what if' or 'how' questions will help your child develop problem-solving skills.

    • Children can form ideas mentally. They can group things together even when they belong in more than one category (EX: babies, fathers and mothers are all people). Sequencing and ordering come next, getting students ready for math skills.

    • Children are becoming better at reading and writing. They form a basic understanding of numbers. Parents can encourage these skills by letting the children read signs, make lists, count or write prices of objects.

    • Children can understand causes of events.

    • Children talk as they learn and learn best when they are active.

    • Children's attention span is about twenty minutes.

    • Children understand the value and uses of money. They can begin to manage an allowance and learn to use money for items they want.

    • Children learn about the value of work and can assume regular, realistic chores at home and school. Charts with pictures to check off accomplished tasks help children remember what they need to do.

    • Learning about the process of work is more important than the outcome of the work. Children may explore many projects, but may not finish them all. Parents can teach them about tools and new materials and about the joy of exploring.

    • Children may put on plays about admired adults and their roles.

    • Elementary children begin to show some independence. Adults can encourage positive experiences in school, church and youth organizations.