7-Year-Old Child Development Milestones

Your child’s growth and development at age 7

Most 7-year-olds display an unending thirst for knowledge and will have an innate curiosity and excitement about things in the world. They are natural explorers, scientists, and analysts, and often ask questions about everything from why the sky is blue to where babies come from.

At this age, they also take great pride in sharing their knowledge about things and often enjoy showing younger children skills that they themselves have mastered.

For a 7-year-old, there will be a sense of confidence at school that comes from being familiar with the ins and outs of being a student in a classroom. They will often feel a sense of pride about having achieved basic math and reading skills and may want to discuss what they learned in school with parents, friends, and caregivers.

7 year old development milestones
Illustration by Emily Roberts, Verywell

Physical Development

For 7-year-old children, physical development will be more about refinement than major changes. Your child will continue to grow into long-limbed and lanky versions of their former chubby preschooler selves as their motor skills become more precise.

At this age, kids will also develop better coordination and balance and can learn to do more combinations with their motor skills, such as moving around while they're dancing. The more physically active they are, the faster these skills develop.

While parents of school-age children are less likely to see the rapid and dramatic changes in physical growth that they may have seen in the early years, 7-year-old children do experience a growth spurt now and then. On average, you can expect them to grow 2 to 2.5 inches in the year ahead.

Key Milestones

  • Rides a two-wheeled bicycle
  • Performs movements that are done while standing in place such as twisting, turning, and spinning
  • Shows improved skill at performing simple chores, such as making their bed or sweeping the floors

Parenting Tip

Do fun physical activities as a family. Play sports, go to community events, and play outdoors. Kids who stay physically active will develop better physical skills than those who are sedentary.

Emotional Development

Emotional maturity at age 7 is a far cry from what it was during preschool or kindergarten years. Most 7-year-olds are better able to handle transitions and last-minute changes. While they may not yet be able to exercise the self-control they will at age 10 or 12, they can usually tolerate going with the flow or unexpected situations.

Nevertheless, 7-year-olds still need and derive comfort from routines. As a child's world increasingly opens up and their attention focuses more on things and people outside of their home and family, they will rely more on things they can expect and count on, such as family time, a bedtime routine, and regular family meals.

Conversely, though, many 7-year-olds will also feel insecure about themselves and may be their own worst critics. For a 7-year-old, not getting something to look exactly the way they want it to or losing a game can be crushing to their self-esteem. Parents, teachers, and other adults can help by offering frequent encouragement and helping a child focus on what they might learn from an activity rather than what didn’t go right.

Key Milestones

  • Describes the causes and consequences of emotions, such as saying, “I got mad because I really wanted to go to the park.”
  • Manages emotions better, especially in public situations.
  • Starts to use self-calming strategies, such as repeating phrases or taking deep breaths, when feeling distressed

Parenting Tip

Use discipline to guide your child and keep them safe, rather than to punish them and make them feel bad about themselves. Say, “You made a bad choice,” not, “You’re a bad kid.”

Social Development

Many 7-year-olds will still love playing with friends but may begin to enjoy spending more time alone, playing by themselves or reading. Alone time and downtime, can, in fact, be an important part of a child's development of a sense of self and their relations to others.

They will begin to care more about the opinions and thoughts of other people. The downside of this natural phase of child development is an increased susceptibility to peer pressure. They will also continue to develop empathy and a strong sense of morals and fairness.

As 7-year-olds grow up and expand their social horizons, they often become naturally attached to other adults besides their parents, such as a teacher, an uncle, or even a friend’s parent.

Most 7-year-olds are more able to put themselves in someone else’s shoes and work through conflict, although scuffles and hurt feelings can still break out at this age.

Key Milestones

  • Shares knowledge with others
  • Exhibits capacity to understand others’ actions and feelings
  • Treats peers with respect when playing games together

 Parenting Tip

This can be an excellent age to teach your child about what it means to be a good citizen of the world. You can talk about how to be charitable or ways you can help the environment.

Cognitive Development

Most 7-year-old children are curious about the world around them. They will ask questions and seek answers about the things they encounter and the people they meet, and will take pride in sharing what they know. Kids at this age will display a formidable sense of adventure and thirst for information and will love being mentors to younger siblings and other children as they show off their newfound knowledge and skills. Their math and reading skills are steadily expanding too, as is their ability to recognize words and do simple word problems.

By this age, you child has likely mastered simple addition and subtraction, and will now be able to apply these skills to solve more complicated math problems, like word problems. They will learn place value, work with three-digit numbers, and begin mentally adding and subtracting. They may also work on fractions and learn about shapes in structures in their environment, like buildings and houses.

Speech & Language

Your 7-year-old will also continue their rapid language development. As their vocabulary and reading skills develop and grow and the number of sight words they know expands—to as much as thousands of words—they will enter a world of more complex chapter books.

Most 7-year-olds will be able to read with more fluency (speed, accuracy, and expressiveness) and will be able to have more in-depth discussions about books. They will also be able to write more complex, coherent, and interesting narratives and essays and stories.

At home, encourage a love of books by reading together and making it a point to discuss characters, plot, and other aspects of the book. While most 7-year-olds can read early-reader books and even chapter books, they may still want to snuggle next to a parent in the evenings and be read to, just like when they were younger.

Play

Expect your 7-year-old to continue to engage in pretend play. Their improved learning and memory skills help them become more creative. It’s a great time to encourage your child to engage in art projects.

Puppets, dolls, costumes, and free form Legos are great toys for kids during this stage. They can get more creative when their toys don’t have specific instructions or boundaries.

Most 7-year-olds will join in playground games with their peers. They tend to become better sports at this age.

Key Milestones

  • Names the characters, setting, problem and solution in books or shows
  • Solves word problems in math
  • Uses increasingly complex and creative strategies to solve problems

Parenting Tip

Incorporate a 7-year old's newfound math skills into everyday life and make it fun by playing around with math games in the kitchen, on road trips, and even in the grocery store. And since kids love playing on the computer, some online math games can be a terrific way to get kids to sharpen their math skills while having fun.​

Other Milestones

While reminders about washing hands and brushing teeth will still be needed, parents of 7-year-olds can let kids take the reins more often when it comes to personal hygiene.

Now that 7-year-olds have the fine motor coordination to be able to use dental floss, parents can encourage their child to make flossing a part of their daily oral care routine. Many 7-year-olds will have lost baby teeth and have permanent teeth, which can give them a cute but awkward look since their mouth and face are not yet fully grown.

Many 7-year-olds may also want to take showers on their own rather than an evening bath. This can often be a terrific timesaver since many 7-year-olds have increasingly busy schedules filled with extracurricular activities in addition to school.

Parents may still need to occasionally supervise to make sure all the shampoo has been rinsed out, for instance, but many 7-year-olds will be able to shower and bathe on their own​ and feel proud of themselves for being “big” kids.

When to Be Concerned

While many children charge ahead with reading and math skills, others struggle. These struggles may have many causes, ranging from learning disabilities to problems with a focus to challenges with following spoken or written instructions.

In many cases, academic challenges can be nipped in the bud with just a little extra instruction from a teacher, reading or math specialist, or parent. In other cases, children may need special support or accommodations in the classroom setting. No matter what stands between your child and academic success, it's important to address issues now rather than taking a "wait and see" point of view.

A Word From Verywell

This is a critical time for kids to develop confidence in themselves. Allow for some independence, nurture your child’s talents, and help them discover new interests.

If you have concerns about your child’s development or you notice anything that worries you, talk to their physician. It’s important to make sure your child is on the right track so any problems can be addressed as soon as possible.

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