Your 8 Year Old Child's Cognitive Development

A Peek into the Intellectual Development of a Typical Eight-Year-Old

8 year old child development - girl reading book on sofa
Eight-year-old children will enjoy reading more complex chapter books, sharing their thoughts, and otherwise exercising their growing cognitive skills. Tom Merton/Getty Images

At times, your eight-year-old may surprise you with his depth of thinking and insightful observation about something he learned or experienced at home or at school. Having regular conversations with your child—whether at dinner time or while walking to school—can be an excellent way to set up a good foundation for communication.

Many eight-year-old children develop an interest in money, and may even become obsessed with making money and saving (this is a phase parents may want to take advantage of, by teaching their child about money or paying him an allowance for performing age-appropriate chores).

Eight-year-old children may become interested in a particular subject or interest and delight in learning everything they can about it. Obsession with a game, sport, or hobby is common among eight-year-old children.

Attention span will also increase, and you can expect your child to be able to concentrate on an activity or lesson for as long as an hour or more. Eight-year-olds will also be able to think critically and may enjoy expressing their opinions about things using their rapidly-developing language skills and expanding vocabulary.

Reading and Writing

Your eight-year-old will really hit his stride with reading. That old adage about children switching from learning to read to reading to learn really applies to this stage of child development as your child may devour favorite books. He may become obsessed with a particular series such as the Diary of a Wimpy Kid or Harry Potter.

Your child will also be able to write in different genres such as fictional stories and essays.

An eight-year-old will be able to produce writing that has logical beginnings, endings, plot points, and sophisticated vocabulary. You may find an eight-year-old child’s writing engaging, informative, and even entertaining! Eight-year-old children will also be expected to learn and practice cursive writing.

Numbers and Math

Math will get more complicated for eight-year-old students, who will begin to tackle multiplication and division. By the end of third grade, children will begin working with fractions, know how to use graphs, and work with probability and estimates.

Parents can get their  children to exercise those burgeoning math skills by doing the following:

If Your Child Is Having Trouble Keeping Up

Age eight8 is the point at which many children start taking standardized tests at school, and expectations for homework, focus, and abstract thinking increase. Your child may have a tough time keeping up with the intellectual demands. If you are concerned, now is a good time to connect with his teacher to find out more about his school performance. Minor concerns can be addressed through after school time with a teacher or tutor. More significant concerns may lead to a diagnosis with a developmental issue such as ADHD or learning disability such as dyslexia. Fortunately, there are educational options to help kids with a wide range of learning differences and styles.


Anthony, Michelle. The emotional lives of 8-10-year-olds. Scholastic Publishing. Web. 2017.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Middle childhood. Web. 2017.

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