Why It Matters: Middle Childhood

Why learn about development during middle childhood?

Four girls shown from behind jumping and holding hands

When Raekwon first started school, he wasn’t sure that he would like it. The thought of going to one place for a long time every day seemed sort of boring. Raekwon found that school was actually really exciting, though. He made friends, he got to learn about new things, he got to play at recess, and the food was good! He found that the days actually went by quickly! Now in fourth grade, Raekwon cannot wait for summer to be over so that he can go to school and meet-up with his friends regularly again.

Middle childhood is the period of life that begins when children enter school and lasts until they reach adolescence. Think for a moment about children at this age that you may know. What are their lives like? What kinds of concerns do they express and with what kinds of activities are their days filled? If it were possible, would you want to return to this period of life? Why or why not?

Early childhood and adolescence seem to get much more attention than middle childhood. Perhaps this is because growth patterns slow at this time, the id becomes hidden during the latent stage, according to Freud, and children spend much more time in schools, with friends, and in structured activities. It may be easy for parents to lose track of their children’s development unless they stay directly involved in these worlds. It is important to stop and give full attention to middle childhood to stay in touch with these children and to take notice of the varied influences on their lives in a larger world. After all, they are developing in many incredible ways.

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Lifespan Development by Lumen Learning 2019 is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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