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Your Child's Development (School-aged)

This information describes what skills your child is likely to develop between the ages of 6 and 18 years.

Movement and Physical Development

  • Enjoys many different activities
  • Practices skills in order to get better
  • Is fluid with movements and activities
  • Can jump rope
  • Can ride a bike
  • Can skip
  • Can chase

Social-Emotional and Self-Help Skills

  • Can think about the future
  • Can get dressed without help
  • Pays more attention to friendships and teamwork
  • Wants to please friends (experiences peer pressure)
  • Becomes aware of own body image

Learning, Thinking, and Problem Solving Skills

  • 6 to 9 years of age
    • Can tell time
    • Can understand complicated directions
    • Knows the day, month, and year
  • 9 to 12 years of age
    • Enjoys collecting things
    • Can write stories
    • Enjoys using the telephone, computer, and other electronic devices
  • 12+ years of age
    • Starts to think about the future
    • Compares him or herself to peers
    • Wants to be independent from parents

Speech, Language, and Communication Skills

  • Uses complete sentences

What can I do to help with my child's development?

  • Let your child be as independent as possible with self-care tasks and school activities.
  • Give your child choices and encourage him or her to complete a task.
  • Provide structure and a regular schedule.
Talk to your child's doctor if you notice that your child:
  • Shows only a limited range of emotions
  • Shows extreme behavior (unusually fearful, aggressive, shy, or sad)
  • Is unusually withdrawn and not active
  • Is easily distracted and has trouble focusing on 1 activity for more than 5 minutes
  • Doesn't respond to people
  • Can't tell what's real and what's make-believe
  • Doesn't play a variety of games and activities
  • Can't give first and last name
  • Doesn't use plurals or past tense properly
  • Doesn't talk about daily activities or experiences
  • Doesn't draw pictures
  • Can't brush teeth, wash and dry hands, or get undressed without help
  • Loses skills he or she once had
  • Does not like to change position
  • Does not like changes in environment (such as noise level or lighting)
  • Does not feel comfortable trying to balance on different types of surfaces

Although your child is undergoing cancer treatment and may not feel energetic, it is still important to encourage movement, communication, and play as part of his or her daily routine.

If you have questions about your child's development, ask your child's doctor if a referral to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) Physical and Occupational Therapy team would be helpful.

MSKCC Physical and Occupational Therapy
(212) 639-7833
Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 6:00 pm