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Developmental Characteristics of Eight to Ten Year Olds (Grades 3-5)

A child’s development is an individual and continual process. The following page outlines typical developmental characteristics of this age group. Keep in mind that some of the youth in the program maybe be “behind” or “advanced” in any of these areas.

General Characteristics
  • Interested in people; aware of differences; willing to give more to others but also expect more
  • Busy, active, full of enthusiasm; may try too much; accident-prone; interested in money and its value
  • Sensitive to criticism; recognize failure; have capacity for self-evaluation
  • Capable of prolonged interest; may make plans of their own
  • Decisive, dependable, reasonable, strong sense of right and wrong
  • Spend a great deal of time in talk and discussion; often outspoken and critical of adults, although still dependent on adult approval
Physical Characteristics
  • Very active and need frequent breaks from tasks to do things that are energetic and fun for them
  • Early maturing youth may be upset about their size; as their adult supporter, you can help by listening and explaining
  • May tend to be accident-prone
Social Characteristics
  • Can be very competitive
  • Are choosy about their friends
  • Acceptance by friends becomes very important
  • Team games become popular
  • Often idolize heroes, television stars and sports figures
Emotional Characteristics
  • Very sensitive to praise and recognition; feelings are easily hurt
  • Because friends become very important, can be conflicts between adults’ rules and friends’ rules.
Mental Characteristics
  • Can be inflexible about their idea of fairness
  • Eager to answer questions
  • Very curious; collectors of everything, but may jump to other objects of interest after a short time
  • Want more independence while knowing they need guidance and support
  • Wide discrepancies in reading ability
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