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8-Year-Old Child Development: Behavior and Daily Routines

An inside look at a typical eight-year-old child's milestones and development

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Boy drinking water at table.
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Eight-year-olds are continuing to establish their individual interests and preferences, which are shaped by their unique personalities as well as experiences. That's why it's imperative that parents and other adults in an 8-year-old’s life continue to model good behavior and set healthy and positive examples as much as possible.

Eight-year-olds are likely to be continuing to develop skills in activities they love, whether it’s soccer, chess, music, art, or a myriad of other hobbies and interests. They are building upon the abilities they have been developing both cognitively and physically. You may be startled when you realize that suddenly, your 8-year-old child is no longer the young grade-schooler who needed close supervision while engaging in daily routines such as personal hygiene and chores.

Eight-year-old children may also want to contribute more to the family decision-making and routines by helping plan what to have for dinner or how to spend free family time, for example. With their feet firmly planted in middle childhood, 8-year-old children will show interest in being more "grown-up" and will be able to begin tackling more responsibilities and routines.

Diet
Eight-year-old children are increasingly expressing interest in making their own decisions about their meals and snacks. While younger children certainly may express dislike for certain foods or preferences for others, 8-year-old children are more likely to want more of a voice in matters such as what your family buys at the grocery store or what to have for dinner. Peer pressure can also come into play as 8-year-old children see what food choices their friends make; if many of their friends eat junk food and soda, an 8-year-old child may want to follow their example.

This is an excellent time for parents to instill healthy eating habits in their child that will last a lifetime. By teaching an 8-year-old what choices to make to have a balanced diet and how to limit unhealthy choices, parents can set a foundation for healthy choices to help your child stay strong and healthy for all of his life.

Sleep
Many factors, such as TV, computers, extracurricular activities, and homework, can cut into the number of hours your 8-year-old sleeps. But it's important to establish good sleep habits so that your 8-year-old continues to make sleep a priority. Try to keep electronic devices such as TVs and computers out of your child’s room and be sure to curb any sneaky caffeine in your child's diet by not giving him chocolate before bedtime.

Sleep is important for a child’s development, and not getting enough shut-eye has been shown to negatively impact a child's temperament, ability to pay attention, and behavior, making sleep particularly important for school-age children. Your 8-year-old should be getting at least 10 to 11 hours of sleep each night.

Chores
Assigning household chores to your kids can help build self-esteem, give them a sense of responsibility, and so much more. At age 8, your child has the motor control, coordination, and attention span to do more complex jobs around the house such as sorting laundry and putting away clean clothes, loading the dishwasher, unloading groceries, and even helping make dinner.

Parents may also want to give their 8-year-old child an allowance for certain household chores to help teach her about how to understand and manage money. Some chores, such as making her own bed and keeping her room clean, however, may work better as an expected routine that is not tied to an allowance.

More About Your Eight-Year-Old Child's Development

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