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Milestones: Age 8

How children use media has a lot to do with who they are. Although no two kids are exactly alike, children generally go through the same stages of development. Knowing these stages can help you encourage your child to use media in new and creative ways.

8 year old boy

Your 8 year old says...

  • I am interested in things and people outside of my home.

    What you can do: Use the Web, TV and movies to introduce your child to new places, people and ideas. Encourage him to pursue his interests. For example, he may be ready to join a club or an after-school activity.

  • My friends are very important to me, and I might have a best friend. Sometimes, I feel pressure from the kids around me.

    What you can do: Your child's friends may get to watch movies and TV shows that you don't allow (or vice versa). Help your child understand that it's okay for families to make different choices and have different rules.

  • I am bold and willing to try something new. Still, sometimes I am afraid of failing or being blamed for something. I might still be afraid of the dark. One of the ways I get over a fear is by facing it.

    What you can do: Your child may be drawn to video games, TV shows and movies that scare him. Help him talk about what he sees, reminding him that he is safe. Your child may not talk voluntarily about things that are frightening, so you'll have to ask. Sometimes it helps to start with general questions about what's scary about a TV show, which will allow him to express his feelings.

  • I can be very dramatic, losing myself as I play a character.

    What you can do: Give your child chances to play different characters and roles - like those from TV shows and movies that he finds appealing. Ask him what he does and doesn't like about different characters and why. Let your child know that boys and girls can play any role they want.

  • I need some help getting organized. I have chores and homework to do.

    What you can do: Introduce your child to a calendar, either one in a computer program or one that he makes out of paper. Also, help him create folders - perhaps on the computer for electronic files and out of paper for take-home assignments - where he can store and find class work.

  • I love to build things and experiment with putting things in order. I play with construction sets, dolls, science kits, arts and crafts sets and sports equipment.

    What you can do: Help your child find Web sites, computer software, TV shows and movies about things that interest him. Also, provide him with tools that allow him to make and do things.

  • I am beginning to read more on my own, but I still like it when you read to me.

    What you can do: Encourage your child to read when using the computer. Take turns when reading books together. Also, help your child search online for books that he may enjoy.

  • I'm better at talking than I am at writing.

    What you can do: Encourage your child to talk about what he sees and hears on TV, in movies, in books and on Web sites. Ask him open-ended questions that don't just have "yes" and "no" answers.

  • I am proud of my family.

    What you can do: Tell your child more about your family history, showing pictures, home movies and maybe researching your genealogy on the Web. Use TV programs and Web sites to introduce your child to people and places from cultures different from your own.

  • My interest in space is starting to grow.

    What you can do: Help your child explore earth sciences by introducing her to Web sites and TV shows about the planets and the galaxy.

  • I am very interested in right and wrong and have a hard time when I've done something 'bad.'

    What you can do: Talk to your child about what TV and video characters do. Point out positive behavior. Your child is forming opinions about how he fits in the world and wants your guidance.

  • I'm interested in the past.

    What you can do: Introduce your child to Web sites and TV shows that let him explore historical periods. Point out people from different cultures and places who have experiences that are different from his.

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