7-Year-Old Child Development Milestones

Your child’s growth and development at age 7

Parenting a 7-year-old can be a wonderful experience. You are now entering the middle childhood phase with your child. This means that your child is still dependent on you for many things, but is also becoming independent. They are social and crave friendships with their peers, but are also happy to hang out with their parents. Some call this time the “sweet spot” of parenting.

You are going to see a lot of exciting developments in the next year. Your child will be very curious about the world around them—and ask a ton of questions! Their reading and math skills will become more developed, and they’ll be able to write more legibly, tie their shoes on their own, and ride a two wheel bike.

Read on for what to expect when it comes to 7-year-old development, and what some signs are that your child may be experiencing a developmental delay or other issue that could warrant a call to their pediatrician.

7 year old development milestones

Illustration by Emily Roberts, Verywell

7-Year-Old Language and Cognitive Milestones

By 7-years-old, your child should be speaking in full, complex sentences, and should be able to articulate their ideas clearly and thoughtfully. When your child speaks, they won’t sound like a little kid anymore, and likely you’ll notice that you are able to have more mature conversations with them.

“By the age of seven, grammar skills are mostly mastered,” says Emily Rooker, a speech-language pathologist at Bright SpOT Pediatric Therapy. “Children will regularly use complex sentences when communicating and will sound adult-like.”

Additionally, says Rooker, you may notice that your child is able to answer both factual and inferential questions more thoroughly. They are starting to gain an understanding of figurative language and they are beginning to comprehend that words can have multiple meanings.

At this age, your child is thinking in a more complex manner and can understand more nuanced subjects. They have gained some solid understanding of the reading and math concepts that they were introduced to in early elementary school. Your child should start to be able to read independently and for pleasure and begin to solve basic word problems in math.

All children are different, of course, and some children at this age still struggle with basic reading and math concepts. If you are concerned about your child’s academic abilities, it’s important to stay in touch with their teachers and other school professionals.

Language and Cognitive Checklist

  • Children ave a more developed sense of time and can understand the concept of minutes, hours, days, and months
  • They hould be able to articulate thoughts and feelings and be understood by people outside their immediate family
  • Kids are starting to be able to pronounce words more clearly; the “th” sound no longer sounds like an “f” sound, for example
  • It’s normal for 7-year-olds to have trouble sounding out harder words while they read, and their spelling is not perfect, but they have mastered the basic skills of reading and writing

7-Year-Old Movement, Hand, and Finger Milestones

Your child is certainly growing at this age, but they aren’t growing as rapidly as they did when they were a baby or a preschooler. Your child will grow about 2.5 inches this year and gain about 7 pounds. They will lose about four of their baby teeth this year as well.

Your child’s gross and fine motor skills should be progressing, and your child should be meeting a few exciting milestones. “Most 7-year-olds should be able to ride a two-wheeled bike, tie shoe laces independently, and write up to five-word sentences and up to five-sentence paragraphs,” says Caitlin Sanschagrin, an occupational therapist at Bright SpOT Pediatric Therapy.

Although things like proper nutrition and sleep might not be at the forefront of your mind like they were when your child was younger, you should still focus on healthy lifestyle choices at this age, says Melitza Cobham-Browne, MD, medical director of pediatrics at UCI Health Family Health Centers.

Dr. Cobham-Browne recommends limiting screen time to two hours a day, except for school work, making sure your 7-year-old eats three healthy meals per day, and that they get at least one hour of physical activity a day. Sleep is very important at this age as well. The CDC recommends you aim for nine to 12 hours a night at this age.

Physical Milestones Checklist

  • Your child should be more competent at physical skills that require coordination such as climbing and swimming
  • Their fine motor skills are becoming more refined, and they should be able to use scissors with more ease, and be able to write their name
  • Your child should be able to dress themselves independently and more easily catch a ball

7-Year-Old Emotional and Social Milestones

At 7, children are starting to individuate, but they are also still very attached to their parents. You will notice that your child’s friendships are more important than they once were, and that they are able to form meaningful relationships with other adults in their lives, such as their extended family members and coaches or teachers.

Still, many children this age still have fears and may have trouble separating from their parents at times, such as when they have to go to school. School anxiety is still somewhat typical at this age.

At this age, children are starting to develop a very important trait—one that they will carry through life: empathy. “They are developing the ability to understand the perspectives of others and learning how to manage their emotions better,” says Rooker. “They are also becoming more empathetic.”

Your child will also begin to care more about what other people think of them, which means that they will try to regulate their moods in public more, and have a higher degree of self-regulation. But they may also develop more self-consciousness and be more vulnerable to criticism.

Dr. Cobham-Browne says that parents have a role in teaching their children self-regulation skills. You can do this by emphasizing that your children use their words to express their feelings, rather than acting out. For example, you can encourage your child to articulate their anger in words rather than by screaming or being physically aggressive.

Speaking of conversations, your child is becoming quite a sophisticated conversationalist at this age, which is another clue that they are learning to socialize in more mature ways. “Seven-year-olds typically start and end conversations appropriately,” says Rooker. “They are able to stay on topic and follow other conversation ‘rules.’”

Your child’s budding ability to interact with others in more meaningful, mature ways will mean deeper friendships and a greater need for social interaction. Children this age also usually start preferring to play with children of the same sex. They may feel comfortable playing in large groups, but still crave time alone.

Dr. Cobham-Browne recommends enrolling your child in group sports so that they can learn important skills like teamwork and cooperation.

Other Milestones for Your 7-Year-Old

By now, your child is capable of handling their own personal hygiene more than they used to be. Your child should be able to dress themselves and also brush and floss their teeth. Your not-so-little-one is losing their baby teeth and starting to get permanent teeth, so it’s important that you emphasize good dental hygiene. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that your child brush their teeth after breakfast and before bed and that they floss once per day.

At 7-years-old, your child may be transitioning from taking a bath to taking a shower, though they will still need help with rinsing the shampoo out of their hair, and might need help turning the shower on and off. Being able to shower saves time, and can make your family’s busy life that much simpler.

How to Help Your 7-Year-Old Learn and Grow

You may be in awe of how independent your child has become, but they still need help and guidance from you. Even at this age, children are testing limits and boundaries. Whenever possible, it’s best to practice positive discipline rather than resort to punishment and to model good citizenship for your child.

You’ll also want to be attentive to your child’s emotional world, and continue to be gentle with them if they experience upset feelings, anxiety, or low self-esteem. “Encourage positive self-esteem by reinforcing what your child does well instead of focusing on the negative,” Dr. Cobham-Browne suggests.

Dr. Cobham-Browne also says that kids this age need a strong daily routine and that giving your child age-appropriate chores, and even an allowance, is helpful. “I always tell parents we should supply their 'needs' not their 'wants,’” she says. “The child needs to learn to save and do some extra chores to get extra money to contribute to ‘wants.’”

How to Keep Your 7-Year-Old Safe

You may think you are past the days of having to worry about safety hazards left and right since your child is not a baby or toddler anymore. But although your 7-year-old is less likely to hurt themselves or make unsafe choices, there are still several safety tips you should keep in mind.

First of all, car safety is something to be mindful of at this age. Your child should still either be in an appropriate harnessed car seat or a booster seat. Your child should also still sit in the back seat of the car. They won’t be able to ride shotgun until they are about 13 years old.

As your child interacts more with other adults outside their family, it’s important that they learn the basics of “stranger danger” and body autonomy and consent. Teach your child never to get into a vehicle or enter the home of someone without your permission.

Your child should know that no other grown-up should ask them to keep a secret from their parents. Your child should also know that it’s never okay if another grown-up asks to see their private parts or shows your child their private parts.

These are uncomfortable conversations, but they are vitally important nonetheless.

When to Be Concerned About Your 7-Year-Old

All children grow and mature at their own pace, and at this age, your child’s individual personality and temperament are going to influence things like how social they are, how easily they can regulate their emotions, and what type of interests they have.

That said, there are several warning signs that your child may not be developing at an age-appropriate level, or that they may need extra support from their school or a health or mental health professional.

“If you have more than one area of concern regarding your child’s skill-building and development, or if your child is feeling frustrated and their self-confidence is being challenged, it may be time to bring your specific concerns to your pediatrician’s attention,” says Sanschagrin.

Specifically, Sanschagrin says there are some warning signs she would consider “red flags” for developmental delays.

“If your 7-year-old is unable to completely dress themselves, feed themselves, complete complex fine motor tasks (lacing, writing, sewing, etc.), or participate in age-appropriate sports or activities due to coordination or similar issues, you should consider a pediatric occupational therapy evaluation,” Sanschagrin describes.

In essence, if your child seems delayed in any way, or if they are struggling academically, socially, or emotionally, you should reach out to your pediatrician for guidance and for a referral for help, if warranted.

A Word from Verywell

As you move into the middle elementary school years, it’s easy to fall into the comparison trap when it comes to parenting. You may hear of other children your child’s age who are more advanced academically, who seem to have more friends, or are more gifted in sports or the arts. It’s important to keep in mind that each child has their own strengths, and that as long as your child is meeting their milestones, and is generally balanced and happy, you are doing everything right.

That said, if your child is struggling in any way, or if you are unsure how to handle your child’s challenges, you should not hesitate to reach out to your pediatrician or your child’s teacher for help. All children need a little extra help sometimes, and reaching out for support is not a sign of a parenting weakness, but rather a sign of a parent who has their child’s best interests at heart.

5 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Middle Childhood (6-8 years of age).

  2. Mott Children’s Hospital. Milestones for 7-Year-Olds.

  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Middle Childhood (6-8 years of age).

  4. American Academy of Pediatrics. Bright Futures Information for Parents: 7 Year Visit.

  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Middle Childhood (6-8 years of age).

Additional Reading

By Wendy Wisner
Wendy Wisner is a lactation consultant and writer covering maternal/child health, parenting, general health and wellness, and mental health. She has worked with breastfeeding parents for over a decade, and is a mom to two boys.

Originally written by Amy Morin, LCSW
Amy Morin

Amy Morin, LCSW, is the Editor-in-Chief of Verywell Mind. She's also a psychotherapist, international bestselling author and host of the The Verywell Mind Podcast.

Learn about our editorial process