Child development - milestones for grades 2 and 3 (ages 7 and 8)

Monday, June 26, 2023


The aim of this article is to provide an overview of what changes you can expect to see in your second or third grader, or a child who is 7 or 8 years-old. These changes will occur across all developmental domains: motor; cognitive; language and social-emotional.


By second or third grade, chances are that your child feels comfortable with the daily routine of going to school. While the days might have settled into a comfortable rhythm, you may have noticed that your child still has a lot of growing up to do!

A word to the wise: all children grow at a different pace, and it is critical not to be too panicked if your child doesn’t achieve a milestone in time. Human development is a complex subject and every child is unique – so no two children will develop in the same way or at the same rate.

If you do feel that your child may be struggling, or has missed more than one milestone, then it’s probably a good idea to consult your pediatrician or family doctor for more insight and information.


Most children in this age range can:

Gross motor

  • Play and be active for longer periods without getting tired
  • Improve their strength in both big and small muscles
  • Run farther distances for longer durations
  • Perform movements like twisting, spinning, turning, balancing and weight transfer while standing in place, and combine these to form a pattern
  • Understand terminology used to describe movement and movement patterns
  • Adjust throwing, catching, striking and kicking according to the context

Fine motor

  • Employ the small muscles in hands to get better at actions, like holding a pencil correctly and forming letters
  • Learn to type quickly on a keyboard

In terms of fitness, your child may also be able to:

  • Demonstrate a warm up and cool down routine
  • Engage in 2-3 minutes of moderate to intense exercise
  • Identify and begin to understand basic concepts in health and fitness
  • Perform between 4-10 or 5-13 push-ups, depending on age
  • Perform between 4-14 or 6-20 crunches, depending on age


Most children in this age range can:

  • Understand cause and effect and try to make more in-depth connections
  • Ask questions for more information
  • Look for the reasons behind events or things they don’t quite understand
  • Can describe the similarities between two objects
  • Learn to do addition and subtraction with regrouping or borrowing
  • Work on fractions
  • Use connections to do more complex math like multiplication and division
  • Recognize and understand the value of coins
  • Start planning ahead, like creating to-do lists or blueprints
  • Can pay attention to something that interests them for 30-45 minutes
  • Start collecting items, like stickers

Language and Communication

Most children in this age range:


  • Understand what they read and begin to move from learning to read to reading to learn
  • Acquire more vocabulary through reading
  • Read longer books independently
  • Read aloud with more fluency applying proper emphasis and using expression
  • Use context and pictures to help identify words they don’t know
  • Understand humor in text


  • Understand the concept of paragraphs and begin to apply it in writing
  • Correctly use punctuation
  • Correctly spell many words
  • Write notes, like basic emails
  • Use new words, phrases, or figures of speech that they’ve heard
  • Revise their own writing to create and illustrate stories
  • May try out different types of writing, like narratives and opinion pieces
  • Use complex and varying sentence types to express ideas
  • Use writing to express feelings, tell stories and summarize key information


  • Use all letter sounds correctly and don’t substitute w for r when speaking
  • Use words to talk through problems, both socially and academically
  • Test out bad words for shock value

Social and Emotional Skills

Most children in this age range:

  • Enjoy being part of a team, group or club
  • Spend more time with and are influenced by friends
  • Share secrets and jokes with friends
  • Start seeing things from other people’s point of view and considering these perspectives
  • Be somewhat aware of others’ perceptions of them
  • Improved ability to control their emotions, though can quickly change from being helpful and upbeat to being unhelpful and grumpy
  • Continue to experience periods of dramatic emotion and impatience, but bounce back easily
  • Have moments of insecurity and look for encouragement from people they trust
  • Desire for perfection with the related potential to be self critical
  • May experience guilt and shame
  • Want to behave well, but aren’t always paying attention to directions


It’s important to recognize that human development is a delicate process; and it’s never the same for every child. If you do feel concern for your child’s developmental trajectory, then by all means consult a medical professional for an opinion.

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