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A Blog From Your Kaiser Permanente Physicians

Your 8-Year-Old

During this period of time expect your child to be developing more and more friends. You may find that your child is a social butterfly. Other children are more reserved or, naturally shyer. Either way they will be very peer-oriented and compare themselves to others and learn from others. This can be positive and challenging. Self-esteem, or a person’s sense of worth and belonging, becomes increasingly important as your child interacts more with people outside of their immediate family.

Strong self-esteem makes a child feel loved and secure. You can help your child develop this by encouraging him to pursue his own interests. These should include physical activities that will make their mind and body feel good. They may also include things that their friends aren’t interested in and you can help them understand that it is okay to be different in some ways. Help them celebrate their uniqueness and appreciate the things that are unique about their friends.

Most children by age 8:

  • Grow an average of 2 to 3 inches and 3 to 7 pounds each year. They often develop a leaner, more elongated appearance.
  • Know how to count by 2s (2, 4, 6, 8, and so on) and 5s (5, 10, 15, 20, and so on).
  • Know what day of the week it is. However, they do not usually know the full date and year.
  • Can read simple sentences.
  • Complete simple single-digit addition and subtraction problems (such as 1 + 8; 7 + 5; 6 – 2; 4 – 3).
  • Have well-developed speech and use correct grammar most of the time.
  • Become interested in reading books. For some children, it is a favorite activity.
  • Are still working on spelling and grammar in their written work. This aspect of language development is not as advanced as oral speech.
  • Can tell the difference between right and left.
  • Have a black-and-white perspective much of the time. Things are either great or awful; ugly or beautiful; right or wrong.
  • Have rapidly changing emotions. Angry outbursts are common. Many children are critical of others, especially of their parents. They may seem dramatic and sometimes rude.
  • Are impatient. They like immediate gratification and find it hard to wait for things they want.
  • Are interested in money. Some children may become obsessed with saving and plans about earning and spending money. This is a great time to start assigning chores and giving an allowance.
  • Tie their shoelaces.

Children usually progress in a natural, predictable sequence from one developmental milestone to the next. However, each child grows and gains skills at her own pace. Some may be advanced in one area, such as language, but slower in another, such as motor development. Enjoy watching your child learn and develop, but try not to worry too much. They are their own person with unique strengths and challenges. If you are concerned about your child’s development, talk to your pediatrician at your next well-check, make a video or telephone appointment, or send an email with your questions.


Disclaimer: If you have an emergency medical condition, call 911 or go to the nearest hospital. An emergency medical condition is any of the following: (1) a medical condition that manifests itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity (including severe pain) such that you could reasonably expect the absence of immediate medical attention to result in serious jeopardy to your health or body functions or organs; (2) active labor when there isn't enough time for safe transfer to a Plan hospital (or designated hospital) before delivery, or if transfer poses a threat to your (or your unborn child's) health and safety, or (3) a mental disorder that manifests itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity such that either you are an immediate danger to yourself or others, or you are not immediately able to provide for, or use, food, shelter, or clothing, due to the mental disorder. This information is not intended to diagnose health problems or to take the place of specific medical advice or care you receive from your physician or other health care professional. If you have persistent health problems, or if you have additional questions, please consult with your doctor. If you have questions or need more information about your medication, please speak to your pharmacist. Kaiser Permanente does not endorse the medications or products mentioned. Any trade names listed are for easy identification only.