I think of seven year olds as fun and carefree because they are beyond the challenge they faced at six, when they transitioned from the early to middle childhood years. At this age, the child has developed many foundational skills and will now work on refinement of them. The child has learned basic academic skills, such as reading and writing, has become involved in social activities, friendships, sports, dance, or scouts. As they work towards increasing accomplishment, children can now have fun with friends with a sense of confidence.
Socially, sevens enjoy their friendships at a deeper level. They like to develop games with rules, and can better understand and are respectful of their friends’ feelings. They may enjoy making up scenarios for play, such as setting up a bakery or bike races. They also enjoy playing group games with friends from the neighborhood who are younger and older, such as wiffle ball.
Physical development may happen in spurts. Children suddenly seem to have sprouted longer arms, legs, and feet. They still need about 10-12 hours of sleep, although they often resist going to bed because so many other things hold their interest. They begin or continue to lose baby teeth, and are often proud of the signs that they are growing up.
Children who were physically active in dance or sports continue to develop and refine their skills and become increasingly competent. Typically, skill levels are based on children’s activity levels. Active children mature more quickly than those who are less active.
Parenting of sevens is very different from parenting of younger children. Now children benefit from guidance, support, and discussions to make decisions as opposed to the ongoing oversight needed in the younger years. At seven, children often want to choose the clothing they wear, books they read, and extra-curricular activities they participate in. It is now better for them to choose a few activities, than to have too many, which can be stressful. With parental guidance, sevens can choose which activities they prefer. At this age, children like their independence and are creative problem solvers.
Nutrition is another area where it is good practice for children to make appropriate choices for lunches and snacks. Rather than showing concern for each vegetable a child does or doesn’t eat, if children are provided with a variety of healthful options over a week’s time, they will get the nutrition their bodies need. If they help make out grocery lists, shop for food, and help prepare meals, their learning will have long-term benefits.
In school students show greater skills with writing and reading as their vocabulary grows. Reading becomes more fluid, and young readers can now read more sight words. Writing becomes more complex, and increasing comprehension skills allow for more reading options.
Children now have a strong sense of number and, with repetition, can memorize simple addition and subtraction facts. They enjoy word problems and studies of money, time, and measurement. While children at seven are more flexible with small changes, they prefer a routine. However, they love adventures like traveling, camping, hiking, and picnics. And adventures are even more fun when other families or friends are invited to join in!