Physical development: six to twelve

Middle childhood is one of the healthiest periods in life. Kids have fewer illnesses because previous exposure has lead to greater immunity.

The first years of middle childhood is a period of steady growth. Girls have a growth spurt starting between nine and ten years. In boys, it starts at age 11. As a result, at 11 years of age, girls are generally taller and heavier than boys.

The average annual increase in height and weight is 6cm and 2kg respectively. The average height of six year olds is approximately 1.2m. Most six year olds weigh approximately 20kg. At 12 years, the average child is 1.5m tall and weighs 40kg.

Bones grow longer and this can cause growing pains, especially at night. The arms and legs grow faster than the torso and the centre of gravity descends to the pelvic area. Children grow stronger and the relative strength of boys and girls is similar during middle childhood.

Gross motor skills are well developed at this age and enable children to participate in a range of physical activities. However, children in this age group are more prone to sports injuries as the skeleton and ligaments are still immature.

Most of the fine motor skills required for writing develop between the ages of six and seven.

At age six or seven, children lose their 20 primary teeth and start to develop permanent teeth. Their new teeth initially look too big for their faces which gives them a “buck teeth” look until their facial structure grows.

(Ilse Pauw, Health24)

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