Introduction

8-12 years

The middle years of childhood are an important period of development for your child - ending with the major transition of starting secondary school! It can be an emotional rollercoaster ride for parents.

During middle childhood your child will continue to develop in the following areas:

  • Physical growth
  • Thinking skills
  • Language development
  • Emotional regulation
  • Social development

Your child is exploring who they are and, more importantly, who they want to be. This is the time when they:

  • Fine tune all the skills that they have learnt so far,
  • Set their health habits for the future,
  • Start grappling with puberty, physical changes and gender roles,
  • Start making meaningful friendships,
  • Form attitudes about the world they live in and;
  • Start their journey towards independence.

This is a time of opportunity as well as challenge for children and for you as their parent. You, your wider families, friends and community all have a vital role in supporting your child’s development through the middle years.

This is a period of rapid change as your child transitions into adolescence and into secondary education.  The following may start to emerge as more important in your child’s life:

  • The influence of their friends and other children,
  • Trying to ‘fit in’,
  • Anxiety about school performance,  
  • Concerns about their appearance.

They will need your support. It can be tricky finding the right balance between supporting your child to be independent and responsible, and keeping them safe, providing protection and guiding them to make positive choices.

You will find advice and guidance here to help you understand your child’s development and support them on their developmental journey through middle childhood.