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Social Sci LibreTexts

5: Middle and Late Childhood

  • Page ID
    10207
  • Learning Objectives: Physical Development in Middle and Late Childhood

    • Summarize the overall physical growth
    • Describe the changes in brain maturation
    • Describe the positive effects of sports
    • Describe reasons for a lack of participation in youth sports
    • Explain current trends regarding being overweight in childhood, the negative consequences of excess weight, the lack of recognition of being overweight, and interventions to normalize weight

    Middle and late childhood spans the ages between early childhood and adolescence, approximately ages 6 to 11. Children gain greater control over the movement of their bodies, mastering many gross and fine motor skills that eluded the younger child. Changes in the brain during this age enable not only physical development, but contributes to greater reasoning and flexibility of thought. School becomes a big part of middle and late childhood, and it expands their world beyond the boundaries of their own family. Peers start to take center-stage, often prompting changes in the parent-child relationship. Peer acceptance also influences children’s perception of self and may have consequences for emotional development beyond these years.

    • 5.1: Prelude to Middle and Late Childhood
    • 5.2: Sports
      Middle childhood seems to be a great time to introduce children to organized sports, and in fact, many parents do. Nearly 3 million children play soccer in the United States (United States Youth Soccer, 2012). This activity promises to help children build social skills, improve athletically and learn a sense of competition. However, it has been suggested that the emphasis on competition and athletic skill can be counterproductive and lead children to grow tired of the game and want to quit.
    • 5.3: Childhood Obesity
      The decreased participation in school physical education and youth sports is just one of many factors that has led to an increase in children being overweight or obese. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), children’s whose BMI is at or above the 85th percentile for their age are considered overweight, while children who are at or above the 95th percentile are considered obese.
    • 5.4: Cognitive Development in Middle and Late Childhood
      Cognitive skills continue to expand in middle and late childhood as thought processes become more logical and organized when dealing with concrete information. Children at this age understand concepts such as past, present, and future, giving them the ability to plan and work toward goals. Additionally, they can process complex ideas such as addition and subtraction and cause-and- effect relationships.
    • 5.5: Information Processing
      Children differ in their memory abilities, and these differences predict both their readiness for school and academic performance in school (PreBler, Krajewski, & Hasselhorn, 2013). During middle and late childhood children make strides in several areas of cognitive function including the capacity of working memory, their ability to pay attention, and their use of memory strategies. Both changes in the brain and experience foster these abilities.
    • 5.6: Language Development
    • 5.7: Theories of Intelligence
      Psychologists have long debated how to best conceptualize and measure intelligence. These questions include how many types of intelligence there are, the role of nature versus nurture in intelligence, how intelligence is represented in the brain, and the meaning of group differences in intelligence.
    • 5.8: Measuring Intelligence - Standardization and the Intelligence Quotient
      Good intelligence tests are reliable, meaning that they are consistent over time, and also demonstrate validity, meaning that they actually measure intelligence rather than something else. Because intelligence is such an important individual difference dimension, psychologists have invested substantial effort in creating and improving measures of intelligence, and these tests are now considered the most accurate of all psychological tests.
    • 5.9: Education
      The ecological systems model that we explored previously helps us understand an individual by examining the contexts in which the person lives and the direct and indirect influences on that person's life. School becomes a very important component of children's lives during middle and late childhood, and parents and the culture contribute to children’s experiences in school as indicated by the ecological systems model through their interaction with the school.
    • 5.10: Children with Learning Disabilities
      A Learning Disability (or LD) is a specific impairment of academic learning that interferes with a specific aspect of schoolwork and that reduces a student's academic performance significantly. A LD shows itself as a major discrepancy between a student's ability and some feature of achievement: The student may be delayed in reading, writing, listening, speaking, or doing mathematics, but not in all of these at once.
    • 5.11: Socioemotional Development in Middle and Late Childhood
      Erikson argued that children in middle and late childhood are very busy or industrious. They are constantly doing, planning, playing, and getting together with friends. This is an active time and when they are gaining a sense of how they measure up when compared with peers. Erikson believed that if these industrious children can be successful in their endeavors, they will get confidence for future challenges. If not, a sense of inferiority can be haunting during middle and late childhood.
    • 5.12: Kohlberg’s Stages of Moral Development
      Kohlberg (1984) argued that we learn our moral values through active thinking and reasoning, and that moral development follows a series of stages. Kohlberg's six stages are generally organized into three levels of moral reasons.
    • 5.13: Friends and Peers
      riendships take on new importance as judges of one's worth, competence, and attractiveness in middle and late childhood. Friendships provide the opportunity for learning social skills, such as how to communicate with others and how to negotiate differences. Children get ideas from one another about how to perform certain tasks, how to gain popularity, what to wear or say, and how to act. This society of children marks a transition from a life focused on the family to a life concerned with peers.
    • 5.14: Family Life
      One of the ways to assess the quality of family life is to consider the tasks of families. Berger (2014) lists five family functions: (1) Providing food, clothing and shelter, (2) Encouraging learning, (3) Developing self-esteem, (4) Nurturing friendships with peers, and (5) Providing harmony and stability.
    • 5.R: Conclusion and References

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