How Is the Late Childhood Stage Defined?

In general, late childhood is defined as from around age 7 up to age 12, according to WebMD and Dr. Kay Trotter. It involves physical changes associated with puberty, cognitive changes, emotional changes and relational changes.

As late childhood approaches, pre-adolescents go through a number of different changes. The specific time frame varies, but the types of changes remain the same.

  • Physical changes – during late childhood, most children begin to experience puberty. Physical changes include the development of breasts and onset of menstruation in girls. Boys will see facial and chest hair appear, and both boys and girls will experience hair growth on their genitals and under the arms.
  • Cognitive changes – as seen on WebMD, the third stage in the Piaget cognitive stages of development is the concrete operational stage. It is the late childhood stage, age 7 to 11, when children begin to demonstrate logical and concrete reasoning.
  • Emotional changes – moral development occurs in late childhood, as adolescents tend to apply the Golden Rule to their actions. Disorganization and forgetfulness is common. Most cannot think in abstract or hypothetical ways.
  • Relational changes – there are increased interactions with the opposite sex, but most remain with same-sex peers. Late childhood preteens are closely attached to their parental figures, and most conflict arises with siblings.