Chapter 8: Profile of Middle and Late Childhood

  • Children 6-12 begin plotting and scheming.
  • Future begins when boys and girls venture into their neighborhoods to exercise the curiosity and cleverness that can change the world.
  • By late childhood, children have a desire for freedom from adult control and some skills to earn that freedom.

Physical Development

  • Differences in individuals in a immediate family differ due to both genetic differences and rearing environments.
    • Some countries with improved health have a secular trend of increased adult height.
  • Growth and Movement Skills
    • Body size and Proportions
      • New bone layers start at the growth plates at the end of bones.
      • On average children add just over 2" of height and 7.5lbs weight each year.
      • Start middle childhood at 3'9" and leave at 4'10" for (boys), 4'11" (girls).
      • Girls experience rapid growth earlier, but boys overtake 2 years later.
      • Some short children suffer from a growth-hormone (GH) deficiency.
        • Parents and teachers can foster a positive self-image by helping children participate in activities that suit their bodies.
      • In middle, late childhood the lower face lengthens and broadens while 20 primary (baby) teeth gradually replaced by permanent teeth.
        • All significant change is going to take place from underneath the eye.
    • Physical Abilities
      • Strength and stamina children gain help them enjoy bike rides and hikes.
      • Around 7, they enter a phase of motor development they will refine for the rest of their lives. 
      • School-aged children transition into the specialized movement phase, the refining and combining of skills for more demanding situations.
        • Hopping and jumping combine for jump-rope & basketball.
      • At 7-10, they have a lot of interests and go through phases of sports.
      • At 11-12, they choose a sport they're passionate about.
    • Keeping Sports Fun
      • Children produce relatively more heat during physical activities, sweat less, and overheat easily.
        • Tolerance declines markedly when temperatures exceed 95 degrees F, and vulnerable to heat exhaustion.
      • To reduce risk of exhaustion:
        • Reduce intensity of physical activity whenever air temp and humidity are high.
        • Children need time to adapt to outdoor temperature and humidity. Need 8-10 exposures (30 to 45mins) to lower risk.
        • Supervise periodic drinking during hot weather.
        • Dress children in lightweight, light-colored clothing to reduce heat absorption.
      • Risk of growth-related injuring due to decline of flexibility because of bones growth out-pacing muscle/tendon growth.
        • Stretching should be done before activity.
        • Cause of "swimmer's shoulder" due to reduced flexibility and overuse.
  • Perceiving the World
    • Perceptual system well developed by 6.
    • At 10, ability to pick detect low-frequency sounds will improve until 10.
    • At 15, pick out sound in a noisy environment will improve until this age.
    • Dynamic visual acuity: ability to focus on a moving object long enough to interpret details.
      • Improvement in this skill around 6 years and reach adult level at 15.
    • Myopia: Nearsightedness, they see near objects clearly but distant objects appear blurred.
      • Occurs when eye is too long or cornea too steeply curved causing focus on images in front of the retina.
    • Hyperopia: Farsightedness, focus on images behind their retina due to a short eyeball or too little curvature.
      • Children under 6 tend to be hyperopic.
      • Less than 10% of children remain farsighted as they grow.
    • Astigmatism: eyes with an irregular surface that creates problems focusing at a variety of distances.
    • Eye coordination problems: problems moving their eyes together, which makes it difficult for their brains to fuse images from their two eyes.
    • New problem is visual strain due to computer time.
      • Causes blurred vision, dry eyes, headaches, and fatigue.
      • Lock into a viewing distance, poor lighting are reasons for visual strain.
      • Prevent with:
        • Time limits: 10 minutes break every hour will minimize focusing problems.
        • Height and arrangement of computer: best viewing angle looking slightly downward.
        • Check computer glare: optimal lighting level is about half the level normally found in a classroom.
  • Brain Development
    • Building the Brain
      • During middle childhood, myelination of motor pathways improves fine motor coordination up to 10 years old. 
      • Higher brain center continue to myelinate for another decade.
      • Branching dendrites and thickening axons add volume to some brain regions.
      • Rapid growth structures for language and understanding spatial relationships between 6 to 15.
      • Areas critical for decision making not mature until 11-12.
      • Some regions shrink by as much as 50% as synapses pruning occurs.
      • Myelination and neural pruning work together to make information transfer more efficient, improving memory and responses.
      • At 8, children stay still enough to use functional magnetic resonance imagery (fMRI).
      • Children act more responsibly as their frontal lobes mature.
      • Connection to the lower regions, the thalamus, supports advancing brain functions, which sends sensory information to the cortex and the cerebellum.
      • Luna's team:
        • Children and adolescents showed less activation than adults in six brain regions, prving that the ability to suppress behavior develops as broadly distributed brain circuits develop.
      • Effortful control: ability to inhibit a dominant response in order to make another.
        • Component of self-regulation, abilities that help children control their thoughts and behavior.
        • Improves markedly between 2 and 4 years.
        • Find it easier to walk away from reinforcing situations and easier to approach situations that might involve punishment.
        • Ability to direct attention away from the negative feelings produced by the immediate situation.
        • Less aggressive.
    • Gains Bring Losses Too
      • Neural plasticity (flexibility): brain's ability to change in response to experiences.
        • Damage to the frontal lobes during adulthood may have little impact on intelligence, but does when during infancy or childhood.
        • Although, type of injury, location, and timing influence how much the brain is affected.
  • Piaget's Theory of Middle Childhood
    • Preoperational thought: period when children's thinking is often illogical.
    • Around 7, children gradually become less confused by the appearance of materials and the wording of questions.
    • Concrete operational thought: third stage of cognitive development.
      • Children's thinking until age 12 or so.
    • Concrete Operational Thought
      • Think about things they can see or touch.
      • Conservation of number:
        • Idea that physical quantities remain the same even after people change the appearance of the object presented.
        • Grasp conservation of number around age 6, but not weight until 9 or 10, and volume a year of two later.
        • Horizontal decalage: the ability for children to grasp conservation at different rates for different types of quantities.
      • Limits due to role of environment influences because both experience and physical maturation promote development.
    • Limitations of Concrete Operational Thought
      • Pendulum Problem
        • 10 year old concluded heavy weight makes the pendulum swing slowly.
          • Older child would have imagined all possible combinations and test them systematically.
          • Reality bound: children apply logical operations to concrete materials but flounder when tasks require them to envision possibilities.
            • In pendulum problem, the string and weight differences.
    • Cognitive Development Around the World
      • Initially Paiget believed children developed cognitive skills in the same orer and at much the same rate.
      • Later Piaget noticed culture plays a role in cognitive development since children perform better with familiar materials or reason about familiar information.
      • All children develop object permanence and conservation, and go through a phase of non-conservation before they conserve.
      • Testing environment is often the cause rather than fundamental differences in how they think.
    • Evaluating Piaget's Theory
      • Information processing approach: children reason illogically when the demands of a problem outstrip their ability to pay attention to relevant information, remember it, and ignore distractions that come along while they are figuring out a problem.
  • Information Processing
    • Speed of Process Increases
      • Increase speed of process of information as they grow due to myelination and synaptic pruning.
      • Processing speed improves the greatest during middle childhood, 6-12 years.
      • Although, 12 year olds process information 50% slower than adults.
    • Working Memory Expands
      • Short-term span: numbers of items people can hold passively in memory, such as when you repeat a list you have just heard.
      • Working memory span: number of items people can hold in memory while they perform mental operations.
      • Children with large working memories tend to reason better.
      • Important changes that make it easier for older children to hold onto idea:
        • Older children make better use of memory strategies:
          • Shift from remembering visual information to talking to oneself means wider variety of memory strategies.
          • Rehearsal: repeating information over and over again.
          • Organization: clustering information into groups of related items.
          • Elaboration: expanding on an idea by forming a mental image or creating a story to help them remember.
          • Meta-memory: knowledge about memory.
        • Older children have more knowledge that helps them remember: 
          • Knowledge helps people organize information into meaningful patterns, which reduces the burden on limited memory resources.
        • Older children process information faster: 
          • Children can store more items before early items in a list have fades, and they can perform operation on these items quickly.
        • Older children have better cognitive inhibition:
          • Inhibition helps children's working memory by keeping irrelevant information from popping into mind, which in turn improves their problem-solving skills.
      • Strategies Develop
        • School-aged children sometimes solve simple addition problems by retrieving the memorized answer.
        • Other times, count on their fingers from 1, or from the smaller numbers, or use another strategy.
        • Children stick to a strategy until a better one is learned. 
        • Overlapping waves theory: idea that individuals use a number of different strategies at each developmental period.
  • Language Development
    • Sounds and Words
      • Children master most language sounds by the time they start school.
      • Struggle to pronounce "th," "sh," or "r" in rainy.
      • Easy to delight them with tongue teasers while learning complicated sound sequences.
      • Average child added 9k words between 1st and 3rd, and another 20k between 3rd and 5th.
    • Understanding Difficult Sentences
      • Children often fail to link pronouns correctly to people's names.
    • Metalinguistic awareness: ability to reflect on language as an object.
      • Between 1st and 3rd grade, they are mesmerized by riddles that play on sounds or double meanings.
    • Communicating Clearly
      • Older children use a larger number of different words to describe the game, provided more details, and made fewer ambiguous comments.
      • Older children's explanations are less ambiguous because they can keep multiple perspective in mind and have more verbal machinery for crafting their explanations.
  • Cognitive Development and Education
    • Developmentalist psychologist: how children differ from adults.
    • Cognitive psychologist: keeps the idea that children are, after all, human.
    • Modifying Lessons For Children
      • Avoid presenting material that is far above the child's level of understanding.
      • Do not rush learning; repetition is good.
      • Use concrete demonstrations to convey information.
      • Arrange activities so that children will discover inconsistencies between what they currently believe and the concept you want them to learn.
  • Building Real-World Competence
    • Fail to transfer what they know to new situations.
    • Mastery-->conceptual understanding-->time to make connections-->motivation
    • Desirable difficulties: instructional conditions that make initial learning more difficult but improve long-term memory and transfer of learning.

Emotional and Social Development

  • Erikson's phase of industry versus inferiority: they have only a few short years to learn what they need to become productive adults, so they are intrigued by the world of knowledge and work.
    • Monitor their success.
    • Those who fail feel inadequate and inferior.
    • Those who succeed develop a sense of mastery and competence.
  • Children's Emotional Lives
    • 6 year olds don't hold many thoughts in mind at once.
      • Concerned with other's feelings and do not dwell on yesterday.
    • 12 year olds more likely to have multiple emotions at the same time.
    • Understanding and Expressing Emotions
      • By school age, they hold grudges, disappointments for days or weeks, and anticipate future events.
      • They come to recognize simultaneous emotions.
      • They develop self-conscious emotions.
      • They come to understand that people may not show their true feelings.
        • Cultural display rules: social conventions for expressing feelings, such as the rule that you should act happy even when you receive a gift you don't like.
        • Middle-childhood children are more side effects of efforts to master the world, not things that are especially interesting in their own right.
      • Fears and Worries
        • Most common fears at all ages involved death and danger-related events.
        • Children also reported fear of unknown, failure and criticism, specific animals, and variety of psychological stressors and medical issues.
        • Fear subsides with age, they become more time worrying about how to fit into their social environments.
      • Emotional Intelligence: term to describe the skills that help people manage their emotions and respond to other people's emotional needs.
        • Accurately perceive and express feelings.
        • Use emotional information to inform thoughts and opinions.
        • Manage emotions.
    • Learning About Themselves
      • Older children describing themselves:
        • Form generalizations.
        • Multiple pieces of information in mind.
        • More likely than younger children to contract their appearances and abilities with those of other children.
      • Preschoolers describing themselves:
        • Concrete attributes.
        • Physical characteristics.
        • Possessions.
        • Activities they enjoy.
      • Self-esteem: Individuals' global (overall) evaluation of their self-worth.
      • Self-concept: individuals' evaluation of their worth in specific domains, such as physical appearance, academic ability, or social skill. 
      • Self-esteem is not strongly related to positive attributes.
      • There is little evidence that low self-esteem causes undesireable behavior.
      • Efforts to promote desirable behavior by increasing self-esteem have generally failed.
      • Achievement and success with peers lead to high self-esteem.
      • Self-efficacy: belief that they have the skill to achieve specific goals.
    • Moral Development
      • Thinking About Fairness
        • Fairness linked to expectations about cooperation and sharing.
        • Morality of constraint: rules are absolute.
        • Morality of cooperation: rules can be altered when people agree to do so.
    • Encouraging Sharing and Cooperation
      • With middle childhood, sharing involves the ability of setting principles before grabbing at first instance.
      • School aged children grow ability to feel for others, in the end, resulting better friends.
    • Peers and Play
      • Children are better at predicting which children will grow up to have troubles lives.
        • They focus on behavior that bothers other children such as hostility or irrelevant comments.
    • The Importance of Friendship
      • At 7-8, children want friends that live nearby, play with them, and have interesting toys.
      • At 10-11, shared values and expect loyalty and mutual support as a friend.
      • Tend to be attracted to people who are similar to themselves.
        • Often due to sharing of economic, ethnic, and educational circumstances.
      • Peer group: social unit, often consisting of leaders and followers, that generates shared values and standards of behaviors.
      • Children act differently with friends:
        • Interactions among friends are punctuated with talking, smiling, and laughter.
        • Children work to resolve disputes with friends in ways that will preserve the relationship.
        • The familiarity fostered by friendship encourages children to work together as a team.
      • Children are able to explore easier with friends.
    • Peer Status
      • Popular children (11%): receive many positive nominations and few negative nominations.
        • Did not initiate interactions frequently, but when the did were cooperative, able to play well with others, and good at maintaining interactions with social conversation.
      • Rejected children (13%): receive many negative nominations and few positive nominations.
        • Act inappropriately.
      • Neglected children(9%): receive few positive or negative nominations.
      • Controversial children(7%): receive many positive nominations but also many negative nominations.
        • Overtly friendly, aggressive comments, annoying sounds, and unpredictable.
      • Average children(60%): do not receive an extreme number of positive or negative nominations.
      • Rejected children tend to recreate their unpleasant status over and over again.
      • Popular second and third graders are rejected or ignored over 25 percent of the time they approach peers, and children rarely do anything to put other children at ease.
      • Recommend starting interventions for rejected children early.
    • Hostile Behavior
      • Aggressive behavior likely to occur during middle school years, when blending threatens the stability of peer groups.
      • Mutual antipathies: dislike children who dislike them.

Becky's Story

  • Becky starts thinking about possibilities, so she was fearful about personal safety and death.
  • Her thinking is self-centered and concrete and didn't realize how hurtful her words were.
  • Becky will eventually increase her working memory and growing network of connections to regulate attention, problem solving, and emotion.

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