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Child Development Tracker

Home » 8 to 9 »

Social and Emotional Growth

Supporting Activities

It's My Life

In this action/word game, your child will think about dealing with everyday emotions. Go, Go Diego!

Your child is the writer and illustrator for these real-life student scenarios. Story Strips


This game allows you and your child to practice solving real life problems together. You've got to be kidding!

Books for Your Child

Reading to children every day is a great way for them to learn new skills. Try these books for third graders.

Eight-year-olds enjoy sharing their viewpoints on a variety of topics. They have a clearly-developed sense of self-worth and may express frustration in response to activities that they perceive as areas of personal weakness. Eight-year-olds begin to understand the concept of masking emotions and can vary their use of coping strategies to deal with challenging situations. In peer interactions, they may start to engage in leadership, goal-setting, elaborate fantasy play and an assortment of interactive games. Eight-year-olds still rely on adults for a sense of security, but are proud of their independence and will want to express it. Under emotionally-stressful circumstances, they will seek adults in less direct ways but still need contact.

Initiative, Engagement, and Persistence

  • Readily communicates needs and wants to adults and relies on their support in increasingly indirect ways. However under stress, will seek direct (e.g. physical) contact from secure-base adults and enjoys such contact even when not stressed. Sense of self as an independent person is evident in interactions with adults and peers. Has capacity to take others' perspectives, problem-solve in social situations. Identifies a best friend. May want to be part of the adult world and be frustrated by personal limitations. May feel confident in expressing viewpoints and asserting needs.

  • "More likely to describe self based on behavioral characteristics and tendencies (e.g., says, "I don't get into fights."). Starts to describe and explain thoughts, feelings and knowledge (e.g., says, "I am feeling sad today because of what happened at school."). Has a more clearly formulated sense of competence in particular areas (e.g., says, "I am good at art and bad at multiplication."). Is more realistic in self-assessments. Begins to use personal and situational resources to cope with frustrations or negative information about self. Becomes more balanced in coping with failure or frustration. May demonstrate awareness of task goals and expectations, and so may "gear up" for upcoming activities or assignments."

  • Demonstrates knowledge of social customs for when and to whom certain emotions are appropriate to express (e.g., receives an undesirable gift, and demonstrates arousal by biting lip, but says, "Thank you for the doll."). Becomes increasingly able to mask true feelings when it is understood how expressions might affect others.

  • "Is typically more dramatic, explosive, demanding and outgoing than last year. Increases use of self-management skills, stable emotional expressions and use of more indirect methods of self-control (e.g., reading a book, leaving a group that is losing control). May still insist on having own way but is able to listen to reason. May act rude or unreasonable if things do not go as desired, but will recognize behavior and apologize. May start to independently experiment with shifts in routine and will make better transitions when the schedule changes. Relies less on predictable routines and activities to maintain attention or a steady emotional state. Has a more complex emotional life made up of mixtures and blends of feelings (e.g., an emotion like "frustration" can be directed at self and at a situation, and can be combined with "resolve and focus" or "disappointment and resignation"). Increasingly seeks out peers to help cope with uncomfortable emotions, but is beginning to rely on own resources, too. Continues to develop additional coping alternatives for challenging situations, including cognitively-oriented coping strategies for situations in which he has no control (e.g., thinks, "I know how to do this because I've done things like this before." or "This is not something I know how to do; I can try and see what happens. Whatever happens is OK since this is all new.")

Social Development

  • Communicates needs, wants and emotions in healthy ways. Consistently recognizes the views of others in classroom interactions. Has become a good partner in play, shares ideas, sees others’ points of view and can work cooperatively toward a shared goal. Participates in games with more abstract rules; enjoys making up elaborate fantasy games and situations.

  • Values friends greatly and makes them an increasingly important part of life. Friends are those with whom she cooperates, exchanges good deeds and shares experiences. Critical features of friendship include mutual trust, shared interests, a willingness to give and take, the ability to respond to each others’ needs and desirable qualities like kindness. Having at least one close friend (a best friend) is a key developmental accomplishment at this age. This year is also when children first begin to experience loneliness based on missing a close friend.

  • Notices the impact of personal behavior on others and may modify behavior as a result; realizes that others have a similar awareness. Recognizes also that people can be aware of each others’ thoughts, feelings and perspectives. Is conscious of the fact that mutual awareness influences each person’s view of the other (e.g., says, "He won’t be mad that I ate his cookie because he knows that I forgot my snack and was so hungry.").

  • Shows skills at settling conflicts with peers and may demonstrate leadership in this area. Can talk things through and consider various perspectives when resolving differences. Is also able to stay friends after a conflict and continue to work together.

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