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Your 8-Year-Old Child: Physical Development

An overview of your 8-year-old child's physical development

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Chinese girl practicing gymnastics
Don Mason/Blend Images/Getty Images

For 8-year-olds, this period of physical development continues to be one of refinement rather than major, noticeable changes. If your child has athletic ability, this will be the time when you see her skills shine, as her coordination, muscle control and overall physical development become more accurate and precise.

You can expect to see a wide range of sizes and physical skills in 8-year-old children. For instance, individual differences can account for the fact that some 8-year-olds may demonstrate natural athletic ability than others. Some 8-year-olds may become more aware of body images, and their self-confidence about their appearance may affect how they feel about themselves and their relationships with their peers. To support 8-year-olds, parents may want to make sure that they help their children engage in activities that encourage them to feel successful and positive about their skills and abilities.

Growth
You may continue to see changes in your 8-year-old child’s face and body as she becomes leaner and her features take on a more elongated look. Gone will be protuberant, rounded belly and chubby cheeks of the toddler and preschool years as your 8-year-old grows an average of 2 to 3 inches a year. An 8-year-old will really take on the look of a "big kid."

Teeth, Personal Care
Your 8-year-old child is not quite an adolescent yet, but you may notice that he’s increasingly more interested in his appearance. He may declare that he wants to wear his hair longer or dress in a certain style.

Eight-year-olds may also show more interest in taking care of personal hygiene, and are developmentally capable of being responsible for personal care routines such as brushing his teeth and taking a shower. You may still want to supervise to make sure that he brushes and flosses well and cleans all areas of his body thoroughly. But generally speaking, your 8-year-old child has the coordination and motor skill development necessary to do a fairly good job cleaning and grooming his teeth, body, and hair.

Coordination, Motor Skills
As your 8-year-old child’s coordination and muscle control continues to become finely-tuned, your child will show off her skills on the playground or sports field. Eight-year-old children will enjoy challenging activities such as skating and swimming. Small muscle control also continues to be refined, making activities such as playing musical instruments or using tools much easier and enjoyable for an 8-year-old child.

Some 8-year-olds will demonstrate natural athletic ability, and will be able to execute movements such as throwing and catching a ball or riding a bike with precision and agility. Aside from natural ability, 8-year-old children can also benefit from practicing skills required to play sports such as skating, dancing, and more.

It is important that parents of 8-year-olds encourage children not to label themselves as “not athletic” if they find themselves less skilled than their peers. Fact is, physical skills can develop at different rates for different individuals, and how much and how often a child practices can also be a factor in how well she performs at a given sport or activity.

Eight-year-old children will also have improved control over small muscles, and will be able to engage in activities such as sewing and drawing with more accuracy and detail. Stamina and strength will also continue to increase in 8-year-old children, making it possible for them to walk, run, or swim greater distances for longer periods of time.

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

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