Your 7-Year-Old Child: Emotional Development

What to expect at age 7

7 year old child development - girl hugging grandfather
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Emotional maturity at age 7 is a far cry from what it was during preschool or kindergarten years. For one thing, 7-year-olds are better able to handle transitions and last-minute changes. While they may not yet be able to exercise the self-control that they will at age 10 or 12, most 7-year-olds can certainly better tolerate going with the flow or unexpected situations.

Nevertheless, 7-year-olds will still need and derive comfort from routines.

As a child's world increasingly opens up and his attention focuses more on things and people outside of his home and his immediate family, he will rely more on things he can expect and count on, such ​as family time, a bedtime routine, and regular family meals.

Confidence and Insecurity

Mastering basic math and reading in school can give 7-year-olds confidence and pride in their achievements. Being able to read more independently has also opened up the world, and contributes to a child's sense of being more "grown up."

Conversely, though, many 7-year-olds will also feel insecure about themselves and they may be their own worst critics. For a 7-year-old, not getting something to look exactly the way they want it to or losing a game can be crushing to their self-esteem. Parents, teachers, and other adults can help by offering frequent encouragement and helping a child focus on what she might learn from an activity rather than what didn’t go right.

Seven-year-olds will also be susceptible to peer pressure. Since many 7-year-olds may be unsure of themselves, a desire to fit in can make a child more vulnerable to going along with the crowd. Parents can help children resist peer pressure by emphasizing the importance of individuality and not going along with others, especially if something feels wrong for them.

Independence

Seven-year-olds are more likely to let you still cuddle with them at bedtime but squirm out of your hugs during the day, especially if you’re anywhere near his friends or school. Children this age can often veer between wanting to accomplish tasks, such as homework assignments or chores, completely by themselves, and then just as quickly ask an adult for help. This is their struggle to become more independent while still needing guidance.

Many 7-year-olds will still love playing with friends but may begin to enjoy spending more time alone, playing by themselves or reading. Alone time and downtime, can, in fact, be an important part of a child's development of a sense of self and his relations to others.

Friends and Teamwork

At age 7, many children like structured play that includes rules, but this can also lead to frustration. Your child will not only be dealing with her own emotions, she will also grow in her capacity to understand the feelings of her friends and others around her.

Sources:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Middle Childhood (6-8 years of age). https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/childdevelopment/positiveparenting/middle.html. Updated January 3, 2017.

Child Development Tracker: Your Seven-Year-Old. PBS Parents. http://www.pbs.org/parents/childdevelopmenttracker/seven/index.html.

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