Seven-year-olds enjoy having and making friends, and take pleasure in imitating the actions of friends and peers at school. They may prefer structure and routines, but may also choose to work or play independently when frustrated. Children this age often choose to develop games with rules and are likely to treat peers with respect during play. In addition, they start to experiment more with handling their emotional and social lives independently; they show that they can take some initiative socially and that they have the capacity to understand others' actions and feelings.
Still very much reliant on adults for a sense of security as at 6. Can communicate needs in more sophisticated ways (e.g. using words) and across larger distances and time spans. Sense of self-worth and security in self is emerging and growing and displayed in confident interactions with peers and adults. At times will prefer peers to close adults. May imitate the actions of friends in an effort to feel sense of security and belonging and will prefer familiar peers. May express feelings that things are frequently unjust.
Describes self based on external characteristics and behavioral characteristics and traits (e.g., says, "I like to play ball and I have a cat."). Begins to differentiate personal competence across particular areas (e.g., says, "Math is hard but reading is easy."). Can be highly self-critical and may require frequent reinforcement. May walk away from a group game or family project because of a sense of inferiority.
Is able to describe the causes and consequences of various emotions, most often on the basis of situational factors that can be readily observed (e.g., says, "He got mad because the kids were mean to him.").
Regulates emotions and controls impulses in most situations. Reacts to situations impulsively when under stress, tired or feeling insecure. Shows improved self-management skills (e.g., may want to work alone in a quiet space when frustrated). Values routines and may find transitions uncomfortable. Will be open to shifts in the schedule, but prefers consistency. Shows more complex emotional expressions over time. Starts to use self-calming strategies (e.g., taking deep breaths; repeating phrases) to cope with uncomfortable emotions.
Joins in playground games and regularly works with peers in the classroom. Is likely to display good sportsmanship and treat others with respect during play. Can take others' point of view when supported to do so. Will be more demanding and critical of others under stress. Begins to participate in games with rules. Enjoys creating rules and guidelines for various situations.
Typically develops several close friendships that are mutual and based on a mixture of time spent together (e.g., classmates), shared attributes and overlapping interests. Will identify a best friend that shares interests and activities.
Will notice the impact of personal behavior on others and realizes that others have a similar awareness.
Is increasingly able to handle conflict independently. Can start to negotiate and work on solutions when conflicts arise, but may not always be successful.