What Are the Development Milestones for an 8-Year-Old?

8-Year-Old girl
8-Year-Old children grow and develop at different rates, but there are identifiable skills they pick up along the way.

Developmental milestones define the physical, intellectual, and behavioral skills that a child is expected to acquire by a certain age. Children grow and develop at different rates, but there are identifiable skills they pick up along the way. At age of 8 years, children may reach the following milestones:

Thinking and reasoning (cognitive development)

  • Know how to count by twos (two, four, six, eight, and so on) and fives (5, 10, 15, 20, and so on).
  • Know what day of the week it is. They do not usually know the full date and year.
  • Can read simple sentences.
  • Complete simple single-digit addition and subtraction problems (such as 1 + 8, 7 + 5, 6 – 2, 4 – 3).
  • Can tell the difference between right and left.
  • Have a black and white perspective most of the time.
  • Can distinguish great or awful, ugly or beautiful, right or wrong.
  • They focus on one trait or idea at a time, which makes it hard for them to understand complex issues.

Emotional and social development

  • Enjoy being around their friends.
  • The opinions of their friends become increasingly important. Also, peer pressure may become an issue.
  • Gain a sense of security from being involved in regular group activities.
  • Are more likely to follow rules they help create.
  • Have rapidly changing emotions. Angry outbursts are common.
  • Many children are critical of others, especially of their parents. They may seem dramatic and sometimes rude.
  • Are impatient. They like immediate gratification and find it hard to wait for things they want.
  • Are interested in money. Some children may become obsessed with saving, and plans about earning and spending money.

Language development

  • Have well-developed speech and use correct grammar most of the time.
  • Become interested in reading books. For some children, it is a favorite activity.
  • Are still working on spelling and grammar in their written work. This aspect of language development is not as advanced as oral speech.

Sensory and motor development

  • Tie their shoelaces.
  • Draw a diamond shape.
  • Draw a person with 16 features.
  • Become increasingly skilled in hobbies, sports, and active play.

Physical growth and development

  • Grow about 2.5 inches and gain about 7 lbs. in a year.
  • May have arms and legs that seem too long for their bodies.
  • Lose about four baby teeth each year, which are replaced by permanent teeth.

Eight-year-olds are trying to create a coherent picture of reality. They really care about what is real and what isn't real. They are drawn to authoritative sources of information, such as their teachers, books, the internet, and parents. Eight-year-olds tend to enjoy a lot of physical activity. A few ways to help 8-year-olds include:

  • Physical
    • Plan activities that allow them to move about.
    • Introduce them to different activities. Don’t rely solely on sports; general physical activities are important as well.
    • Avoid competitions between genders.
  • Social
    • Clarify and enforce reasonable limits.
    • Plan plenty of time to be with individuals of the same gender.
    • Group activities are important.
  • Emotional
    • Correct them quietly one-on-one.
    • Give positive feedback and look for successes.
    • Avoid generalized praise.
    • Be present at group activities. Be visible, but in the background.
    • Be a safety net for them as an adult who will maintain boundaries.
  • Intellectual
    • Help them form groups or clubs with common interests or hobbies.
    • Vary the activities offered to engage rapidly changing interests.

The most important thing to remember about developmental and emotional milestones is that all children are different. These milestones are a general description of what most children can do at certain ages. 

Some children may reach some milestones earlier and others later. Either way, it may be the right time for the child’s individual development. 

Do not be concerned if the child does not perfectly tick all the boxes. Avoid comparing the child to other children of a similar age. If worried that the child’s development is particularly delayed, visit the doctor.

WebMD. You’re Child at 8: Milestones. https://www.webmd.com/parenting/guide/child-8-milestones#1

GreatSchools.org. Developmental Milestones: Your 8-Year-Old Child. July 21, 2009. https://www.greatschools.org/gk/articles/developmental-milestones-your-8-year-old-child/