There are several domains of development, including physical, cognitive, and social-emotional. As they grow, children exhibit certain behaviors related to these areas of development. The purpose of this paper is to explain how domains of development intersect with each other as a child grows. It is necessary to first observe a child before making an analysis of their behaviors. An eight-year-old child was chosen for research purposes to investigate the physical, cognitive, and social-emotional skills that children this age possess.
Description and Analysis of Behavior #1
I observed an eight-year-old girl called Nina as she played with her friends after school. Nina arrived at the game late and found other children in a circle, throwing a ball back and forth. After about five minutes of playing, Nina commented that one of the children in the group was being ignored. She suggested, “Guys, I think it would be more fun if everyone has a chance to catch and throw the ball.” After about twenty-five minutes of running around, Nina announced that she would be leaving for home soon since her mother had given her only thirty minutes to play with her friends. She hesitantly spent a few minutes bidding her friends goodbye before heading home.
The first behavior I observed in Nina was passing the ball, which is an intersection of physical and social-emotional skills. Catching and throwing the ball demonstrates that she has developed motor skills. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2018), “Middle childhood brings many changes in a child’s life. By this time, children can dress themselves, catch a ball more easily using only their hands” (para. 1). By passing the ball, Nina also demonstrated social-emotional skill. The CDC website explains that at this age, children may want to “Pay more attention to friendships and teamwork” (para. 2). Nina arrived at the game late and did not know the instructions of the game. She simply followed what she saw, which is indicative of the development of peer relationships.
The act of passing the ball shows physical and social-emotional ability typical of an eight-year-old. The CDC gives examples of activities that children in middle childhood can do. One of them is properly handling a ball using hands only. Nina demonstrates the motor skills expected of a child her age. Additionally, she collaborated effectively with her friends despite arriving late to the game. The ability to work well with peers and develop a relationship with them is a social-emotional characteristic of middle childhood development.
Description and Analysis of Behavior #2
The second behavior that I observed was Nina suggesting that everyone should get a chance to catch and throw the ball. This behavior demonstrates the development of both cognitive and social-emotional skills. According to Bhagat et al. (2018), “In Piaget’s developmental stage theory of cognitive development, he suggested that learning of language is a part of cognitive development” (p. 129). From my observation, Nina’s language had developed as expected of someone her age. In addition to language, the behavior demonstrated social-emotional skills because she saw that one of the children was being ignored and wanted to include her in the game.
Nina made a suggestion during the game that evidenced cognitive and social-emotional development. Language development and usage lie in the realm of cognitive development. Her ability to speak properly demonstrates that she has developed mentally. By making the suggestion, Nina also showed that she had empathy, a social-emotional characteristic of children in the middle-childhood stage (DelGiudice, 2018). At this age, children start to nurture relationships with peers. This entails having empathy for others and wanting to include them in socializing activities. Therefore, Nina’s suggestion shows that she has achieved normal cognitive and social-emotional milestones.
Description and Analysis of Behavior #3
Finally, Nina left the game while others were still playing. She declared that she was about to leave some minutes before doing so. This behavior exhibits the development of cognitive and social-emotional skills. As I observed her, I realized that Nina could tell time. She could tell how much time had passed since she joined the game and how much she had left. Brace et al. (2019) report, “By 6 years of age, many can tell whole-hour times, by 7 or 8 years 5-minute times, and between the ages of 8 and 10 years many could tell 1-minute times” (p. 581). In addition, Nina left the game although she wanted to keep playing, which shows that she had developed inhibition and moral skills.
Nina exhibited cognitive and social-emotional skills by knowing when to leave the game. The ability to tell time is a skill that develops gradually over childhood. Nina could tell five-minute increments of time, a characteristic of cognitive development in children aged seven or eight. She also chose to leave the game, although she could have disobeyed her parent and stayed. Moral skills are an essential component of social-emotional skills, and Nina seems to have developed these skills.
I watched Nina determine how her skills are related to domains of development. The behaviors I observed show signs of normal development in middle childhood. Some of the changes I expect to develop next include self-regulation and improved attention, reasoning, and problem-solving skills. Parents and teachers can help the child grow these skills by engaging them in stimulating activities such as higher-level reading, playing, and swimming. Parents should also teach their children traits, such as patience and compassion, to help them develop social-emotional skills. The observation illustrates that all children develop certain skills at different stages in their lives.
Bhagat, V., Haque, M., & Jaalam, K. (2018). Enrich schematization in children: Play as the tool for cognitive development. Journal of Applied Pharmaceutical Science, 8(7), 128-131. Web.
Brace, N., Doran, C., Pembery, J., Fitzpatrick, E., & Herman, R. (2019). Assessing time knowledge in children aged 10 to 11 years. International Journal of Assessment Tools in Education, 6(4), 580-591. Web.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (n.d.) Middle Childhood (6-8 years of age). Web.
DelGiudice, M. (2018) Middle childhood: An evolutionary-developmental synthesis. In: Halfon N., Forrest C., Lerner R., Faustman E. (eds) Handbook of Life Course Health Development. Springer, Cham. Web.