- Eight-year-olds enjoy having the opportunity to solve problems independently. They are able to concentrate on tasks for longer periods of time and begin to use their own resources prior to seeking adult help or they may seek out peers for assistance. Eight-year-olds demonstrate more highly-developed thinking skills as well as the ability to solve problems with creative strategies.
- Physically, this is the age when the amount of practice and play done in the earlier years begins to manifest itself in skillfulness and in what might be called “athleticism.” Motor skills like throwing, catching, kicking, balancing, rolling and batting approach the mature stage and allow some youngsters to be highly successful in traditional sports like baseball, soccer and basketball. Earlier years of practice also provide the foundation for success in sports like skiing, skating, golf, dance and gymnastics. This year is also the time when children frequently begin to identify themselves as “athletic” or “unathletic,” thereby influencing their future involvement in sports and physical activity. Note: During this period of development, children’s actual skill levels will vary based on their amount of physical activity. Sedentary children will not mature as quickly as those who participate in activities like dance lessons, team sports or backyard play.
- When interacting with others, eight-year-olds enjoy sharing their viewpoints on a variety of topics. They have a clearly developed sense of self-worth and may express frustration in response to activities that they perceive as areas of personal weakness. Eight-year-olds begin to understand the concept of masking emotions and can vary their use of coping strategies to deal with challenging situations. In peer interactions, they may start to engage in leadership, goal-setting, elaborate fantasy play and an assortment of interactive games. Eight-year-olds still rely on adults for a sense of security, but are proud of their independence and will want to express it. Under emotionally stressful circumstances, they will seek adults in less direct ways but still need contact.