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Childhood milestones age 7

Child development: Your 7 year old

Your seven year old is becoming increasingly independent. Physical, cognitive and social skills develop rapidly now. As children of this age gain more experience of the world outside the family, they become more involved with school, hobbies, sporting activities and friendships. This is a crucial time for developing confidence in their abilities.

Age 7: Physical development

Your seven year old should now have well-developed coordination and may seem full of energy and be keen to show off physical abilities. Children at this age can throw, catch and kick a ball, ride a two-wheeled bicycle and perform manoeuvres such as handstands. They are often eager to practise and improve their skills and may develop enthusiasms for activities such as climbing, swimming, dancing, playing sports or skateboarding.

Fine motor skills are also developing fast and most children can now dress themselves easily, write clearly, and use implements such as scissors well. They often enjoy model-making, painting, drawing and craft-work.

Age 7: Cognitive and language skills

By seven your child should have mastered most speech sounds and be talking fluently. He or she should be able to describe common objects and explain what they are used for, and follow instructions with three separate components, such as 'please put your pencils away, then wash your hands and lay the table'. Most children are intensely curious about the workings of their environment and like to hold long conversations, tell jokes or copy novel accents. They can readily understand and use opposing terms such as same-different or start-finish, and word analogies such as eat-drink, car-boat-plane or walk-swim-fly.

Children's mental skills develop rapidly at this age and many children start to read by themselves and appreciate age-appropriate books. Your child will probably be able to write quite a few words now, copy more complex shapes such as a diamond and understand some symbols such as & or =. Art work now has more meaning and detail, for example, a picture of a house may include paths, garden and sky. A seven year old should be able to tell the time on an analogue clock to within a quarter of an hour.

Age 7: Social and emotional growth

Children at this age are very keen to be liked and accepted by friends, and are able to take turns and play co-operatively. They often form strong bonds, can be very supportive of other children and may have a best friend. Group play tends to be with others of the same gender. Children often start to play board games now and can understand rules, though may want to adapt them or add some of their own, and will often cheat if they can.

Children at this age often lose some of the carefree attitudes of earlier years as an increasing appreciation of reality sets in and they start to think more about the future. This is often the age at which they stop believing in Santa. Your child may begin to worry more, for example about not being liked. Many children begin to take life more seriously and some develop fears about fantasy threats like monsters or ghosts.

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