LATER CHILDHOOD (7-12 years)

APPROXIMATE AGE, HEIGHT AND WEIGHT TABLE.

At 7 years: Height between 3ft. Oin. And 4ft. 5in.

Weight between 2st. 101b. And 4st. 101b. At 8 years: Height between 3ft. Gin. And 4ft. 8in.

Weight between 2st. 111b. And ost. 51b. At 9 years : Height between 3ft. 9in. And 4ft. LOin.

Weight between 3st. 41b. And ost. 131b. At 10 years : Height between 3ft. Llin. And 5ft. Oin.

Weight between 3st. 81b. And Ost. 71b. At 11 years : Height between 4ft. Lin. And 5ft. 3in.

Weight between 3st. 131b. And 7st. 71b. At 12 years : Height between 4ft. 2in. And 5ft. 5in.

Weight between 4st. 21b. And 8st. 21b.

Height and weight should roughly corre-spond, e.g. the child at 7 3ears standing 3ft. 5in. Should weigh abouj 2st. 101b., the one standing 4ft. 5in., 4st. 101b. Add about 2-31b. Per inch.

Girls weigh slightly less than boys during most of the period, but are outstripping them in both height and weight about or just after 12.

Table of Contents

CHARACTERISTICS OF THIS PERIOD

THESE years constitute a filling-out period of childhood, a period of steady, somewhat slow, ph sical growth in which, as it were, the body consolidates after the rapid growth between 5 and 7. This steady growth may, however, be interrupted, hindered or arrested by improper diet, bad living conditions, in-sufficient sleep and rest, or disease.

Acute new disease is rare during these years, the sturdy body being able to ward off outside perils, but the after-effects of previous infectious diseases or fevers often show themselves, and should be attended to without delay, so that the trouble may be cured before the next period of rapid growth (12-14 years) makes its heavy demand upon stamina and energy. Teeth, eyesight, ears, tonsils and adenoids, and any swollen glands need especial watchfulness.

At 7 years of age the boy is as a rule taller, heavier and more mature than the girl; by 12 or shortly afterwards the reverse is the case. Sexual differences are pronounced by 10 years, and thereafter the need for more and more dissimilar treatment, in every way, of boys and girls becomes marked. The Senses

CHILDREN under 12 have not de- velopcd fully focused sight; especially for near objects their vision is still defective. Not until the age of 12 at least should they be expected to read (or allowed to for long periods) the ordinary printed type suitable for adults (about 15 mm. High). Myopia (short-sightedness) frequently develops during these j-ears, and once detected should be immediately rectified by spectacles.

Hearing, on the other hand, has practically reached mature acuity. Children certainly appear to hear rather better at 12 than at 7, but this is in all probability due to increased understanding of the meaning of sounds, to what we might call intelligent anticipation.

Ability to discriminate the pitch of sounds is good enough at 7 for musical education to begin; children of 7, 8 or 9 sing inaccurately not because they cannot distinguish between the notes, but because they cannot control the muscles used in singing, or because they are being badly trained.

From about the age of 7 the sense of touch, which in children is definitely superior to that in adults, begins to degenerate. Girls from about 8 onwards become increasingly superior to boys. Manual Dexterity Increases HP HERE is only slow growth in actual muscular strength between 7 and 12, less than might be expected from the increases in height and weight; but manual dexterity increases and improves very markedly. Control of the finer muscles, especially those of the fingers, is being acquired, and how well may be judged from the extensive variety of tools a boy of 11 (who has been given plenty of opportunity) can handle with confidence.

Closely connected with this is a steady increase in what is called muscle-senso, that is, the ability to appreciate weight movement, position, through the limb3, hands and fingers. The Urge to Make Things

Everything should be done to encourage and develop both dexterity and muscle-sense; both for the childs sake and also because, unencouraged or thwarted, the urge to handle objects and to mako things can have most vexatious domestic consequences – fathers carpentering tools are blunted and notched, mothers work-basket is rifled, the family ornaments are smashed and the dining-room clock dis-embowelled. There is in these children a remarkable urge to make things, which will find expression in one way or another – in destruction if not in construction. Attempts to Create GETS of tools, toys that can be put together and taken apart, real models that require working (e.g. aeroplanes that wound up will fly, and model railway systems), workbaskets, drawing, painting and modelling outfits, all satisfy the urge to make. The power to draw improves markedly, and children delight in boldly-executed sketches, especially in colour, which they put on good and thick. They prefer strong, bright colours; coloured chalks are even better than paints.

It should be particularly noted in all these attempts at creation that it is the job in hand which matters, not the skill with which it is done or the final result, which may be, and often is, discarded as soon as completed, or even before.

An Age of Experiment

This is an age of experiment, and children must be expected to flit from one interest to another. Parents who insist that a child shall at this age stick to any and every job he begins, are working against Nature. Those who complain that he does not concentrate are asking from him what he cannot yet give.

Aa a matter of fact, the power of sustained voluntary attention increases rapidly between 7 and 12, but interest is quickly exhausted. Misunderstanding on this point leads to a great deal of worry on the part of parents, and often of teachers. Restless activity is the predominating note of these years, especially between 9 and 12; the child is practically tireless, both physically and mentally, but he is easily bored; and once interest goes from an object or occupation, that object or occupation ceases for him to exist.

Many opportunities of forming lifelong interests are missed by parents who do not understand the nature of children at this ago. A child evinces interest in some- thing; the parent puts it off with a half-promise or a refusal; the child cannot wait; away goes interest to soine other centre, and the chance is lost.

In the same way, many a lifelong distaste is acquired because a parent insists upon an unnatural concentration after all interest in the object or pursuit has evaporated.

Self-Assertiveness

INTERESTS during these years become more objective; the child thinks less and less about his own personal movements and sensations, and transfers his attention increasingly to external objects, realistic occupation, specialized branches of know-ledge (e.g. books , aeroplanes, and domestic pets). He is becoming matter-of-fact and practical.

A feature of growth that frequently dis-tresses parents, especially with boys, is the self-assertiveness of these years, and particularly the later ones. It shows itself in the boys games, which he plays against rather than with others, always trying to beat them in something – running, jumping, throwing, fighting; in the eagerness with which he seizes upon anything that increases his speed – a bicycle, for example; or takes part in games showing him in a dashing and superior part – ball games particularly, which have something (the ball) of which he is the owner and master and can use at his will. His Own Rival

When there is no one else to beat he will strive with himself – run quicker between two points than ever before, throw stones or a ball at a mark with greater precision, and BO forth. When we remember that at the same time (usually towards 10 years) the boys pugnacious instincts develop strongl , we see the reason for much of the quarrelsomeness and unpleasant rudenesa boys show – and can perhaps pardon it.

In girls, this self-assertiveness shows itself in milder forms, and the pugnacious instincts are not developed so strongly, though it must be admitted that even they quarrel and are fractious and obstinate. They love to dress up, to recite, sing, dance, act before an audience, to be the object of applause and admiration.

The Urge to Wander

TOWARDS the ago of 9, the child wants to be more and more out of doors, to wander farther afield, to explore the countryside or the neighbouring streets. It is now that he will frighten his parents by being absent from home for a whole day; he will turn up, however, in the evening, quite unconscious that he has done anything out of the ordinary.

Occasionally this urge to wander shows itself in playing truant from school, though owing to the greatly increased attractiveness of modern schools, and the fact that universal compulsory attendance at school is now so accepted by everyone as to be a habit, this is much rarer than it used to be. Expeditions to interesting places delight him.

This desire to wander, the development of the pugnacious instincts and of the spirit of rivalry, explain the gangs that boys begin to form about the age of 10, and the warlike and adventurous exploits they indulge in, exploits that all too frequently for the mothers peaco of mind and rest of body result in torn coats, missing buttons, bruised knees and ruined shoes. Homo-made swords, pistols, daggers, catapults, Indian wigwams and tents are favourite toys, and games are largely of raids and attacks, pitched combat, defences, robber hunts – in short, battle, murder and sudden death.

Impossible Heroes

A DVENTURE, in fact, dominates the boys life at this time (10-12); it shows itself in his every occupation and interest. In addition to battle games, all sorts of hunting expeditions are popular – fishing for minnows, birds-nesting, tree-climbing, butterfly hunting, and so on. When this instinct is denied legitimate satisfaction, it often shows itself in undesirable ways, such as robbing gardens oi petty theft.

When a child of this age steals, whether money from home or from companions at school, or objects from neighbouring gar-dens or shops, parents should first ask themselves what thoy are doing wrong. The child steals, not because of moral depravity, but because some natural outlet for his youthful interests is blocked, and Nature must find a way to express itself.

Not only in active pursuits does this love of adventure manifest itself. The boy demands adventure in his reading and in his films. Hence the perennial popularity of the penny dreadful, with its impossible here of a hundred fights, its adventure piled upon adventure, its breathless rush of incident. Do not despise this type of reading; it does a boy no harm; it satisfies his soul, and he will soon grow out of it. Girls from g to ia f IRLS, naturally, are not so dominated by the spirit of adventure, though the freedom and the open-air fife of the modern girl are showing that, given the chance, the girl of 9-12 can be fully as daring in most respects as her brother.

She has not, however, his passionate love for fighting and hunting, and is more inclined to take a domestic view of everything. For example, boys love, in their reading, stories of big-game hunts; girls rather prefer stories of domestic animals. In place of the wigwam and the dug-out of the boy, the girl finds satisfaction in games of home and school, in singing, acting, dancing.

One fundamental mental difference between men and women is beginning clearly to manifest itself; the boy is becoming more and more the realist – for him, 465 adventure and hard knocks, which are concrete facts; the girl is becoming the romantic, the dreamer of dreams and seer of visions – without which mans all too practical imagination plods but steadily along the ground. Interest in Animals

CHILDREN of both sexes from show an intense interest in animals, and are most anxious to keep pets. Any such pets, howevor – rabbits, pigeons, goldfish – should be carefully supervised by adults, for, great as the childs love may be for his pet, it frequently (until the age of 10 or so at least) does not run to regularity of feeding or cleaning.

Boys embrace all animals, from lions at the Zoo to caterpillars in a matchbox, within the scope of their interest; girls prefer domestio pets, and particularly any which can be nursed.

In the following sections some of the more important points briefly mentioned above are treated in more detailed fashion, along with items of interest concerning the child between 7 and 12.

Clothes. In view of the active out-of-door life of children during these years it is well for clothes to be as hard-wearing and simple as possible. Grey flannel shirts, open at the neck, grey coats and short trousers are ideal for boys; the simple tunic costume adopted at many schools is best for girls. Jerseys, sweaters, or pullovers are very desirable articles, and often to be preferred to coats or frocks, as they are less liable to get torn.

Unless the school demands them, hats and caps are probably unnecessary garments at this age, except in cold or wet weather. Boys especially lose them and spoil them very quickly; while the fresh air and sunlight stimulates healthy growth of the hair. A light straw hat should be worn on very hot sunny days.

Tight collars and garters hinder the circulation of the blood and may cause obstruction. Braces are better than belts, as the latter, if too tight, have a bad effect upon the digestive organs. Elastic in girls knickers should not be so tight a3 to leave red marks round body or thighs.

Grazes. Between the ages of eight and eleven particularly, children are for ever flitting from one interest to another. The craze is soon over, to be replaced by another.

Some of these crazes are traditional or seasonal. Wo all know the marble season, the spinning-top season, the conker season, the fireworks season. Others are caused by developments in our civilization, which give opportunity for satisfaction of instinctive desires; e.g. cigarette cards and motor-car numbers give opportunity to collect. But the majority of crazes are inspired by special and accidental circumstances; a boy brings a modol yacht to school, and everybody in the class starts trying to make model yachts.

Crazes may be sensible or they may ba absurd, such, for example, as repeating some stock phrase on any and every occasion; but they are always closely allied to the interests which command the attention of boys and girls at this age – collecting, malting, or doing – and there is always the possibility of a craze which is encouraged and developed becoming a life interest. Some crazes, of course, are dangerous or objectionable, and have to be forbidden at once: otherwise it is best to let these sudden passions burn themselves out, which as a rule they very quickly do.

Father, Influence of. During the first half-dozen years of a childs life the father has to play second fiddle to the mother, who is, as far as the child is concerned, the dominating influence in his or her life. But towards the age of seven, eight or nine, a boy beginsreally to discover his father, to want to talk to him, work with him, play with him, and generally to be like him (always provided that the fathers previous attitude has not made this impossible; in that case the boy will fix upon some other male adult).

This is the fathers chance to make a real companion of his son; for about three or four years he can, if he tries, be the boys hero, and his guide, philosopher and friend. If he misses his opportunity, the chance of the two ever getting really to know and respect each other will very likely never occur again. Girls do not turn to their father in the same way at this age, but at a much later one.

Food and Children between 7 and 12 have usually, as a result of their tireless activity, enormous appetites. They are frequently, however, so interested in outside activities – school, games, com-panions – that they are apt to forget meal-times and to be very late for meals, to bolt what is set before them, and to want to rush away the moment their plates are empty. They will even fail to finish a course, saying they have had enough or finding some complaint about the food, in their eagerness to be out and away again.

Three rules faithfully observed will be of great aid to both parents and children. (I) Give plenty of nutritious, easily digested, and varied food. (ii) Insist upon every meal being eaten deliberately. (iii) Pay special attention to breakfast. (1) As before , milk, butter, eggs, green vegetables and ripe fruit should all bulk largely in the diet. Milk, served in various ways – as a drink, with porridge or cereal foods, in soups, custards, junkets, puddings, etc is still best as the basis of the diet.

Allow at least a pint and a half per day for each child. Use the top milk for drinking, the bottom for soups and puddings. Delay the era of tea and coffee: if the child must have these drinks, make them weak and use plenty of milk.

Vary the diet as much as possible; this interests the child in his food and so tends to prevent bolting. Interest also stimulates the flow of saliva and so aids digestion. Cooked food should be under-rather than over-done, especially eggs, which, hard-boiled, are apt to make one bilious. Once a day is sufficient for meat. Avoid as before, rich, spiced, twice cooked, or merely filling food (e.g. large buns). No bits between meals, except the mid-morning lunch of milk and a biscuit. Give supper (a light meal of soup, or custard, i.e.. containing milk) some considerable time before bedtime. 2. This is the age of carelessness about personal habits . Meals are rather an interruption to more engrossing activities, and so are shovelled in as quickly as possible and bolted without proper mastication, the teeth and jaws thus lacking exercise and the stomach being called upon to do more than its duty.

Dental troubles and constipation are frequent results of this overhaste (though it is important to remember that carelessness now may show no obvious results for many years). It is a safe plan to have a fixed period of time for meals – e.g. half an hour to be taken over breakfast, whether the meal occupies that or no. Children will soon eat more slowly then to fill up the time. 3. Lack of food early in the day is rarely made up later. The scrambled, hurried breakfast means an irritable or lackadaisical child later. The body is in the morning rested and toned up by sleep, and so fitter then to perform its functions; the child (especially when school has begun) has his hardest and longest stretch of work between breakfast and dinner. A good foundation is half the battle.