Mental and Intellectual Health

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Jun 15, 2012

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In middle childhood or the age between 5-12 years significant changes occur in cognitive development. Children in this age group begin to think in a more logical way.

Some major cognitive developments that occur in this age are:

  • Differentiation between fantasy and reality: A young child cannot differentiate between fantasy and reality. A four year old considers Santa Claus as real whereas a ten year old knows that Santa Claus is imaginary. There are several other things which a four year old considers real whereas a ten year old definitely knows the difference.
  • Understanding another’s point of view: Like for example if Rohan’s mother asks him if he wants to eat when he is another room—he may nod in answer to the question thinking that his mother can see him. But an eight year old knows that he has to answer loud as his mother cannot see him nod. An older child appreciates another person’s view point or EMPATHIZES with others whereas a young child does not empathize with others. A young child’s thought process is EGOCENTRIC. Children start to understand another person’s view point or EMPATHIZES with others by early part of middle childhood and it improves as the child reaches the end of middle childhood.
  • Reversibility: Take some clay and make a bed out of it, then make a snake from this bed. Now if you ask the child to make a bed out of it again he or she will express inability. This is because a four year old cannot think backwards clearly and recollect the various steps. By middle childhood a child’s ability to think and follow the steps backwards or reversibility starts to develop and by 11-12 years it is well established.
  • Classification: For a four year old a set of playing cards can be arranged in only one way-probably by color. But if you ask a nine-ten year old he or she will be able to arrange or CLASSIFY them in several ways like the color, a set of kings, queens, ace and so on. By middle childhood, the cognitive thinking develops to an extent that children understand that the same objects can be classified in different ways.


What can my child do at this age

Children in the age group of 5-12 years begin to understand various concepts and the world around. It is important to appreciate that every child grows at a different rate, however some of the common milestones your child may reach in this age group are as follows;

6- to 7-year-olds

  • appreciates the concept of numbers
  • appreciates daytime and nighttime
  • identifies right and left hands
  • copies complex shapes, like a diamond, hexagon
  • knows time
  • can understand three separate instructions at a time
  • can tell various objects and their use
  • can repeat three numbers backwards
  • knows to read age-appropriate books and/or materials

8- to 9-year-olds

  • knows backward counting
  • tells date
  • can read better and enjoys reading
  • understands division
  • comprehends the idea of space
  • loves to draws and paints
  • can tell the names of months and days of week, in order
  • enjoys collecting different things

10- to 12-year-olds:

  • writes stories by self
  • enjoys writing letters
  • can read well
  • enjoys talking on telephone


Cognitive issues: Difficulties in school

As children vary in physical growth they develop at different rates intellectually as well. Consult your pediatrician if your child has difficulty in certain subjects and his or her general cognitive development or language development milestones seem de...

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