This guide is intended to provide some context into what you might expect for neuro-typical seven-year-old development. Milestones and development are different for everyone.
While your child is getting bigger and physically changing at this age, they may not be growing as quickly as they did as a baby or preschooler. Instead, they are becoming more independent, growing intellectually and emotionally. You can help them feel secure by cultivating their self-confidence as they venture out into the wider world.
Self-confidence gives kids a secure foundation. It makes them less hesitant to challenge themselves, make mistakes, and try to make new friends. By modeling good social skills for your 7-year-old, you can help them form better relationships with peers and adults. Unfortunately, kids aren’t born with social skills – they have to learn and practice them. Keep reading to learn how to support your rapidly-developing seven-year-old.
The major developmental milestones for 7-year-Olds
Age 7 language and communication milestones
At this age, your child will have more mature conversations and sound more like an adult when speaking. If you have concerns about your 7-year-old’s ability to communicate, talk to your child’s teachers or health care provider about having a speech and language evaluation.
By age 7, your child may be able to
- Communicate with you and others in full, complex sentences.
- Understand that words can have multiple meanings.
- Use a variety of words, not just the same ones over and over.
- Give directions.
- Sound out more challenging words while they read
- Stay on topic and follow other conversation rules.
- Match spoken words with print words.
- Use many types of expression to express needs and wants.
Age 7 social and emotional learning milestones
Now more socially aware, your 7-year-old child is capable of empathy. While they may seem more emotionally volatile and moody, be patient as your child learns how to emotionally self-regulate.
You may observe your 7-year-old
- Striving to be perfect and becoming more self-critical.
- Worrying more and experiencing low self-confidence.
- Showing more independence from parents and family members.
- Having a group of friends
- Admiring role models, such as professional athletes, actors, or superheroes.
- Understanding the difference between right and wrong.
- Learning how to be a better loser and being less likely to place blame on anyone else besides themselves.
- Being able to wait for their turn in activities.
- Starting to feel guilt and shame.
Age 7 cognitive skills
Your 7-year-old will amaze you with their ability to solve more complex problems. During this time, their learning style becomes more clear-cut. Don’t hesitate to ask your child’s teacher what they think your child’s learning style may be.
By age 7, your child may be
- Reading on their own. Children learn to read at a range of ages, but most commonly between ages 6-7.
- Using a vocabulary of several thousand words.
- Able to focus on a task for longer without getting distracted.
- Telling time.
- Remembering the months and the seasons.
- Developing concrete math skills such as counting forward and backward by two, fives, and tens.
- Solving basic word problems in math.
- Writing paragraphs with up to five sentences.
Age 7 physical and motor skills
You may not see dramatic changes in your 7-year-old’s motor skills because they are working on improving their coordination and sharpening their fine motor skills (like penmanship). Fine motor skill activities involve manual dexterity and often require coordinating movements of hands and fingers with the eyes. Gross motor skills are movements that involve large muscle groups such as walking, kicking, jumping, and climbing stairs.
Your child at age 7
- May learn how to ride a two-wheel bike.
- Will have the coordination needed for activities such as climbing and swimming.
- Can use safety scissors easily.
- Can draw a person with 12 parts.
- Will use a pencil to write their name.
- Can write more legibly.
- Be able to move in time with the rhythm or beat of the music.
- Can jump rope.
Vaccines for 7-year-olds
If your 7-year-old is up to date on all of the recommended vaccines, there are only two additional vaccines they may receive this year.
- Influenza (Flu): Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every year.
- COVID-19 (boosters as directed by the current CDC recommendations): You can take advantage of any visit to your child’s doctor to get recommended vaccines for your child, including sports physicals or annual checkups before the school year.
Healthy eating and activity for 7-year-olds
- Schedule 3 meals and 1–2 healthy snacks a day.
- Serve your child a well-balanced diet with lean protein, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products.
- Kids this age should get 2½ servings of dairy or dairy substitutes per day. This can below-fat milk or fortified soy milk, yogurt, cheese, or kefir. There are so many great choices! No sweetened or flavored milks of any kind are recommended. If your child eats a varied diet, drinking milk may not be necessary.
- Limit foods and drinks high in sugar, salt, and fat.
- Your 7-year-old will lose about four baby teeth each year. Permanent teeth replace these.
- Keep these adult teeth healthy by making sure your child brushes their teeth twice daily, flosses once a day, and sees a dentist every six months.
- Your 7-year-old should get at least 1 hour of physical activity every day.
- There will be big differences in height, weight, and build among children of this age range. Remember that your family’s genes, nutrition, and exercise affect children’s growth.
- Your child should get between 9-12 hours of sleep every night.
Keeping your 7-year-old safe
- Keep your child in a booster seat in the back seat until they have maxed out the seat’s height and weight limits. Your child will need to be tall enough and patient enough to sit without a booster in a safe position. Riding in the front seat is not advised at this age. Talk to your pediatrician or local carseat expert if you have any questions.
- Help your child cross the street until age ten or older.
- Teach your child to swim, but don’t allow swimming unless an adult is watching.
- Apply sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher at least 15 minutes before your child goes outside to play and reapply about every 2 hours.
- Make sure your child always wears a helmet when riding a bike, scooter, or skateboard. In addition, they will need correctly-fitting safety equipment for any sports (helmets, pads, mouth guards).
- Protect your child from secondhand smoke.
- Protect your child from gun injuries by not keeping a gun in the home.
- Gun safety: If you have a gun, keep it unloaded and locked away. Ammunition should be locked up. If your child has playdates at other houses, always ask if their family owns a gun and how it’s stored.
After age 5, the American Academy of Pediatrics encourages each family to create their own individualized Family Media Plan. Regularly reviewing the plan, revising, and making changes as your child grows helps to ensure that your child’s screen time does not take the place of sleep, physical activity, or other healthy behaviors.
- Teach your child how to treat others with respect online. Remind them to consider that all posts or texts are permanent. They should not text or post anything they would not say face-to-face to someone or not want to be said about them.
- Use parental controls when necessary to limit the content your 7-year-old watches.
- Review all apps and sites yourself before you let your kids use them and download them.
- Keep TVs and digital devices out of bedrooms, including phones and tablets.
- Turn off all screens one hour before your 7-year-old’s bedtime.
Conversation starters and parenting hacks for your 7-year-old
Questions to ask your 7-year-old
- What powers would you have if you could be a superhero and help other kids?
- Do kids ever pick on you? (can be used to start a conversation about bullying)
- Where do you see yourself one year from now?
- Do you think lying is ok? If so, in what situations, and why?
- What rules would you make if you were a teacher for a day?
- What would you take with you if you could go to another planet?
Ways to help them grow and develop
- Develop a family culture of gender inclusivity. Children raised with an understanding of various gender identities aren’t more likely to express a trans or gender-independent identity. Instead, they are more likely to develop personal resilience and confidence around their choices.
- Continue reading to your child from chapter books, even if they can now read independently. As your child learns to read, try taking turns reading to each other.
- Children stop bedwetting at a range of ages. It is more common in boys and deep sleepers. Talk with your doctor if you have concerns about your 7-year-old’s continued bedwetting.
- Reinforce rules and set appropriate limits. Don’t hit or spank your child.
- Talk to your child about bullying. The more you talk about it, the more comfortable they will be speaking up if they witness or experience bullying behavior.
- Remember that many 7-year-olds will still have fears and may have trouble separating from their parents. School anxiety is not unusual for this age.
- Teach and model emotional self-regulation skills. For example, encourage your child to use their words to express their feelings rather than acting out.
- School-age children should participate in family chores, such as setting the table, putting dirty laundry in a laundry basket, or feeding pets.
- Keep in touch with teachers, other school employees, and parents of your child’s friends so you are aware of any possible problems.
- Encourage your child to participate in group activities or classes with peers to help build self-confidence and a group of friends with shared interests.
As your 7-year-old grows into their personality, it can feel like they might no longer need you as much as a parent or caregiver. Nothing is farther from the truth. During this time of fragile self-esteem and growing self-awareness, they need you as their security blanket. Offer frequent encouragement, positive feedback, and praise for their accomplishments. Practice tough conversations and scenarios at home — like what to say if they see someone being bullied. Encourage them to use unstructured outdoor time and group activities to channel their boundless energy and sometimes challenging emotions. Support them through their struggles, mishaps, and mistakes.
They are in middle childhood, both a child and a tween, and it’s a confusing place to be for both you and them. Remember to reach out to your child’s teachers, coaches, friends’ parents, and health care providers for support and inspiration as you navigate through age 7.
Reviewed by the Ovia Health Clinical Team
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