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Development In Younger Children

The primary school years from 5-11 are still a time when your child is developing quickly, emotionally and physically. By the end of this period your child will be beginning adolescence and starting high school!

These years are important for helping your child build healthy habits and to have the confidence and self esteem, that will help them thrive and get ready for more independence.

  • As children grow they start to become more confident communicators who are able to be understood and understand others.

    *Click here* to take a look at our 'Talk and Play' pages.

  • Gross motor skills use big muscle groups. If your child has lots of opportunity to be active and use their muscles they will continue to improve their skills. Now is often a time that children get the chance to try out different physical activities and find out what they like and are good at.

    Encouraging your child to be active is really important. They might enjoy sports and activities at out of school clubs. Physical activity can be something you do together too; you can be a role model for your child as well as enjoying time with each other.

    They can really begin to enjoy exercise habits that will help to keep them healthy throughout life. It can take a bit of time to find the thing your child really enjoys.

    Take a looks at the links below for some ideas;



  • Fine Motor Skills use the small muscles in the hands and wrists and are more developed now. There are lots of skills that will be easier for your child now, like getting themselves dressed and tying shoelaces. They will be working on their writing skills too and enjoy making things.

    The skills your child has developed so far will continue to grow.

    It is good to encourage activities where your child has to use their hands.

    • Most children really enjoy making things and drawing. This can help your child improve their writing skills too. It will also help them build their attention span, and is a good way to relax.
    • Learning to cook will give them the chance to learn to chop, mix and serve food. This is an important life skill and they will be proud of themselves too.
    • Learning a musical instrument can help develop fine motor skills too. They might be able to go to a music group after school or they could have a go at teaching themselves from YouTube.


  • Children are learning more about the world around them and what is expected of them.
    Have boundaries at home that your child understands and has to keep to. They will be able to understand there are some rules at home and at school that they need to stick to.

    Your child can begin to learn how to organise themselves. They will need your help to start with.

    • Get their things ready for school with them the night before.
    • Get them in the habit of getting any school homework done on time.
    • Help them follow instructions for games, activities or recipes when you cook together.
  • Your child will still rely on you to help them feel safe, secure and loved. They are having to get used to other people being in their world like friends and teachers. You still have a big influence on helping them feel confident and believe in themselves.

    They will be learning how to make friends. This can be hard and they will need your support to work out how to cope with the ups and downs childhood friends bring. Set aside time to check in with your child and see how they are feeling.

    It can be hard for children when they first experience friends being unkind to them or worry that they don’t fit in. Helping your child feel good about them self and talking about their worries can give them the tools to cope.

    • Continue to praise your child and show that you enjoy being with them. Encourage them to join in with sports and activities they enjoy.
    • Let them talk through friendship problems with you and try not to step in too soon. Help them think of things from other people’s points of view.
    • If you do worry your child is being bullied talk with your child about the importance of getting help together. Read more on our anti-bullying page *here*.

    Helping your child develop self confidence and self esteem is important – find out more about helping your child build resilience *here*.

  • Firstly remember that each child will develop at their own pace.

    Talk to your child's teacher; tell them about your worries – they may be able to work with you to build your child’s skills and advise on any next steps needed.

    If you are worried you can contact our Just One Number team on the details below to talk through your concerns. 

Who Can Help?

You can contact the Healthy Child Programme by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or texting Parentline on 07520 631590. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.

Young people aged 11-19 can text Chat Health on 07480 635060

The Patient Activation Measure (PAM) Health Questionnaire will help you to think about your knowledge, skills and confidence in understanding and supporting your baby or child’s health. The results of this can help us, to support you, in setting goals and priorities in a way that is right for you and your family. On completion of the questions you will be signposted to some self care resources which are tailored to your responses. This will help you to take steps to improve your family's health and wellbeing. *Click Here* to find out more. 



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