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4 Things I've Learned In HDFS305

We've learned a lot of material about middle childhood development throughout the semester. Here's a summary of four concepts that stuck out the most to me.

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1. Children are still learning how to manage their emotions

Emotional development during middle childhood is a work in progress. By middle childhood, children are already aware of basic emotions, such as happiness, sadness, and fear, and are learning more complex, self-conscious emotions, like pride, shame, and guilt. Children develop strategies for emotion regulation, become more aware of the emotional states of others, and develop emotional competence. A school-aged childhood who is emotionally competent isn't likely to express their negative emotions like the image above.

2. Identity development begins in middle childhood

Children in middle childhood begin to construct a sense of social identity. Erickson's psychological theory says that children ages 6-12 are in the stage of industry versus inferiority. Children in this developmental stage are trying to develop feelings of self-worth and competence while challenged with feelings of worthlessness and inferiority due to their newly-emerged awareness of others and ability to make social comparisons. As depicted in the image, children are likely to think about themselves in relation to others and can struggle with conflicting perceptions of themselves and their capabilities.

3. Exercise is important

According to the CDC, obesity affects 18% of 6 -11 year olds in the U.S. For children, regular exercise is beneficial in reducing physical and mental health risks and improving their attention span in the classroom. Engaging in moderate to high level structured and purposeful physical activity, like the kid pictured above, is a good way to promote children's physical development and encourage healthy habits well into adulthood.

4. Children are affected by their environment

Like the chain reaction above, children in middle childhood are affected by their environment. Family systems theory says that the family is an interconnected system where individual members and subsystems impact the child's development in a unique way. Similarly, ecological theory strives to look at how different systems within the child's environment can play a role in their development. Regardless of which theory you use, there is a common theme found that children's development is influenced by the context they are in whether it be within their families, their school, their community or beyond.

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