Cognition in Middle Childhood

Your child's functioning (highly questionable) brain

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How is your child's brain changing?

Brain growth at this stage is dictated not only by biological influences (genetics), but by outsides forces like experience. The brain grows in the following ways:

-white matter increases and allows for more communication between neurons, which are the building blocks of the brain. This increase in different areas of the brain help develop coordination and motor skills.

Your child's brain has grown in size and that is expected, and this growth aids in the development of skills previously presented at a lower level.

Cognitive Development

Can your child...

-do complex tasks

-discuss events going on around them and around the world

-get humor that previously wasn't acknowledged

Thanks to several researchers and theorists we understand these cognitive changes that children go through as they develop. One such theorist, Jean Piaget suggests that these changes are not just taught or experienced but constructed.

Cognitive development in middle children include the improvement of processing speed, breadth and depth of knowledge, logical thinking skills, language skills, memory strategies, and metacognitive skills.

School Helps Your Child Grow!

How is school affecting your child's growth?

Beyond learning the essentials (reading, writing, and arithmetic), students learn a variety of things within the school environment. The following are a list of things that help student achieve academically that they experience while at school:

- Strong leadership from the principal

-Clear mission shared by teachers and staff

-Small class sizes

-Communication between parents and teachers

-Support and respect for cultural diversity

These are just a few. School functions as way for students to grow academically and cognitively.

Middle Child Relationships

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Reflect on your friendships from middle school. Think about how easy or hard it was for you to make friends. Turn to the person next to you and share your experience. Take the next five minutes to reflect and discuss your experiences. Then with your partner discuss the difficulties that face your children when it comes to building relationships in an era when socialization is predominantly done on social media sites.

Friendships are important for development and growth

Children do not just need friends to be social, but to grow and develop. Studies prove that friendships have positive affects on the emotional and social growth of children. In their book The Life Span, Patricia Broderick and Pamela Blewitt say, "Healthy friendships, are marked by mutual give-and-take, allowing both partners to feel affirmed, understood, and respected" (232). It is hard for children to embody this skill and they experience betrayal and hurt often as they develop their friendship making skills.

The bad experiences your children have with friends throughout their development will add to their development and help them process the complex structure of friendships. As you reflected on your own experiences, it is clear that we've all probably learned a lesson or two from failed friendships that helped us along the way, even into adulthood.