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Childhood milestones age 8

Child development: Your 8 year old

By age eight, children are beginning to get a sense of their own place in the world and are developing stronger interests and opinions of their own. Your child will be using more sophisticated language to describe ideas and experiences and can carry on increasingly adult conversations. At the same time, children of this age begin to be able to imagine how it feels to be in someone else’s situation. They may focus less on themselves and empathise more with others.

Age 8: Physical development

You will probably notice that your eight year old has lost much of their childhood clumsiness and their movements become more graceful and controlled. Gross motor abilities are improved by increased strength in the large muscles of the arms and legs, along with enhanced stamina, coordination and reaction time. Your child can now do things like changing direction while running, throw more accurately and jump or climb better. At this age children revel in rough-and-tumble play such as chasing, wrestling and mock fights. These physical advances, along with developments in cognitive and social skills, mean that many children now become enthusiastic about organised team sports.

Almost all eight year olds can dress, brush their teeth and do their hair without help. They can use many kitchen implements and basic tools such as a hammer or screwdriver competently. Children at this age often love to help with cooking, and children’s tool kits may be popular toys.

Age 8: Cognitive and language skills

Your child is likely to be fluent in speaking, using all speech sounds including consonant blends (like the sounds in ‘thistle’), complex sentences with few grammatical errors and good control of rate, pitch, and volume. Language is generally polite and includes phrases like ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ when appropriate, but may be increasingly influenced by peers, and coded playground slang may be used to try to slip some words under adult radar.

Play is becoming more creative. Your child is developing the ability to think about several things at once and can follow and remember fairly complicated instructions.

At this age children are usually confident at reading and writing, and can create simple stories and compositions. They may have favourite subjects at school and are often enthusiastic about discussing what they want to do when they grow up. Their understanding of number, time and space concepts is better developed. They generally know the date, can recite days of the week and months in order, count backwards and understand simple fractions.

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