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The Grade School years bring new opportunities and new challenges for developing social relationships and emotional skills needed to be successful. 

Remember, not all kids develop at the same pace. But there are some milestones you can expect kids to meet around roughly the same age. See this list of social and emotional milestones at different ages.

 If your child isn’t hitting many of these milestones, learn more about trouble with social skills. Keep track of what you’re seeing and share your concerns with your child’s health care provider. Together you can come up with a plan to help your child build social and emotional skills.


Ages 5–6 years

  • Enjoy playing with other kids and are more conversational and independent
  • Test boundaries but are still eager to please and help out
  • Begin to understand what it means to feel embarrassed

Ages 7–8 years

  • Are more aware of others’ perceptions
  • May complain about friendships and other kids’ reactions
  • Want to behave well, but aren’t as attentive to directions
  • Try to express feelings with words, but may resort to aggression when upset

Ages 9–10 years

  • Share secrets and jokes with friends
  • May start to develop own identity by withdrawing from family activities and conversations
  • Are affectionate, silly, and curious, but can also be selfish, rude, and argumentative