Your amazing big kid: "Wow!"-worthy development facts

Your amazing big kid:

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As a kindergartner and grade-schooler, your child becomes more and more of a "mini adult" with the ability to understand the world like you do. Here are three fascinating facts about your child’s development that you might not know.

Developing a conscience

Psychological changes in a grade-schooler's brain let your child begin to draw moral distinctions based on internal judgment, say psychologist Charles E. Schaefer and education and parenting writer Theresa Foy DiGeronimo, authors of Ages and Stages: A Parent's Guide to Normal Childhood Development.

Before this age, your child obeyed the rules (well, most of the time, anyway) to avoid getting in trouble. Now her own conscience is growing and she can see the difference between right and wrong, consider another person's viewpoint, and feel sympathy and concern for others. She can feel guilty about breaking the rules even when she doesn't get caught.

Developing an inner voice

At around age 8, your child starts to internalize his imaginary play, say Schaefer and DiGeronimo. So instead of making his rabbits (or pirates, stuffed animals, or cars) talk to each other, it's his internal voice that replays events, comments on new experiences, or practices conversations with friends and family.

You may find this frustrating because it's hard to keep your little daydreamer focused, but his behavior is just as normal (and beneficial) as the public play that preceded it.

Mastering memory

Your child is getting a feel for how to handle her own memory, says Jane M. Healy, an educational psychologist and author of Your Child's Growing Mind.

Until now your child has been able to remember things, but she couldn't use strategies to make her memory work for her. By about age 6, however, she'll start rehearsing material so she can remember it. By age 7 she'll be able to group things into patterns and organize information to better recall it later.

Read more

  • Is there such thing as a boy brain and a girl brain?

Dan Tynan writes about parenting and technology for a wide range of publications and in his blog, Tynan Writes. Christina Wood is a magazine writer and author of Every Woman's Guide to Technology. She blogs at Geek



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