Understanding the school-age child.

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From the age of 5 to 8, children mature and adapt to group life. Find out how you can support your child in these developmental stages.

Better expressing and organizing his thoughts

Until about age 7, it’s normal for your child to still have difficulty with certain sounds like “s”, “ch” or “j” and to make some conjugation mistakes. For example, he or she may say “they were” instead of “they were”, or “I drank” instead of “I drank”. The best way to help your child is to simply say the word or verb they mispronounced or misconjugated again, correcting the error. It’s best not to insist that they repeat the word correctly.

Talk with your child about his day. This will help them learn to remember the most important events. You’ll notice that he’s getting better at recounting what happened to him in great detail and in the right order. You can also ask your child to summarize a book or movie.

Your child now understands that it’s his turn to speak, which makes family conversations easier. By participating in the discussion, your child practices paying more attention to what is being said and learns to speak in front of a group.

Your child’s intellectual abilities are developing. He or she can now reason logically, solve simple problems and plan activities. Encourage your child to make some observations and think before starting something. This will help develop his reasoning skills and creativity.

Learn to wait and persevere

Your child is still a little impatient. So he needs your help to learn to tolerate a moment of waiting. By asking him to wait a short time when he makes a request, you are teaching him to be more patient. By age 6 or 7, your child will already be able to wait a little while and soon enough, he or she will be able to keep busy or play by himself or herself for about 30 minutes.

Around age 5, your child still needs your help to persevere with a difficult task. Offer to break down the task into smaller challenges and encourage him when he fails. Help them realize their mistakes and teach them to persevere despite the difficulties.

By age 5 or 6, your child is much more independent. For example, they can dress themselves and brush their teeth. This is a good time to give your child responsibilities around the house, such as setting the table, sweeping the floor, emptying the dishwasher or putting away clothes.

At this age, your child is more aware of his or her strengths and the things he or she needs to improve. They begin to compare themselves with other children and become competitive. They overreact to both successes and failures. He can quickly devalue himself if he feels less competent. Be sure to value his strengths and talents realistically.

School-age children are much better at controlling and expressing their emotions. To help your child develop this new skill, be sure to talk clearly about your own emotions. This will help them learn to use the right words to express how they feel.

Understanding social rules

School-age children are becoming more aware of and respectful of social rules. By taking the time to explain why these rules exist, you are helping your child to follow them and learn them better.

Your child may tell on other children if they do something that doesn’t fit the rules. If your child does this to validate his or her understanding of the rules, confirm that he or she understands them and tell him or her that the rules still apply. Remind them that they are not responsible for what others do.

Between the ages of 5 and 8, children increasingly enjoy being part of a group and identify with other children. They are easily influenced, both positively and negatively.

Because of rivalries between friends, your child may experience more conflicts. Discuss the disagreements at school with your child. This will help them to understand the causes and to consider solutions. However, let your child handle the conflicts that concern him or her. From the age of 6 or 7, he will be able to hear the point of view of another person and take it into account. He will then be more adept at resolving an argument without the help of an adult.

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