During this stage of development, children are learning to become a part of the larger world through school, activities, and friends. Children become more independent, begin to understand cause and effect, and learn to reflect on their own actions. During this stage it is important to encourage development in these areas.
Media and School Age Children
Media can be a wonderful addition to the lives of school age children; however, it is important to be aware of what media and how much media are appropriate and inappropriate at this stage of development.It is also important to note that the Academy of Pediatrics recommends that that parents set media limits for their children based on the individual child.
It is important for parents to take the time to look at the quality and content of the television and movies their children watch. At this age, children are very vulnerable to suggestion. Seeing violence, alcohol, tobacco, and sexual behavior in the media can be harmful.
Parents also need to monitor how much time their children spend in front of the screen in order to avoid an increased risk of obesity and sleep deprivation. Since children of this age group are now in school, they understand the concept of time, as well as weekdays versus weekends. This is the ideal time to establish time limits for media.
Finally, advertisements in both TV and movies can have powerful effects on school age children (as well as adults). Try to eliminate exposure to commercials by watching commercial free programming (such as Netflix) or by recording shows and skipping through the commercials. This is also the perfect time to introduce media literacy to your children, as around age 7, kids are able to understand persuasive intent. They will feel empowered by knowing the “tricks” behind advertising.
In addition to reading the materials required by your child’s teachers, let her choose books that interest and challenge her. As with other media, endeavor to make sure that the books your child reads are developmentally appropriate.
Children of this age will likely enjoy listening to popular music on the radio and to music that they own. They may start asking for an mp3 player, or other personal music device. As with television, be aware of the content of the music they listen to by listening to the lyrics to make sure they are consistent with your family’s ideals.
Playing video games with others (whether with their friends or family members) can be a social activity for children, which encourages cooperation and patience. Video games that include a physical or fitness component can also encourage children to be active.
Developmental Themes Source: Kliegman, R. and W.E. Nelson (2011). Nelson textbook of pediatrics. Philadelphia, PA, Elsevier/Saunders.