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How a Child’s Brain Changes Ages 7 to 8

Posted April 25, 2013

As I wrote in my article on April 23, 2013, “How a Child’s Brain Changes Ages 6 to 7, I learned that our kids’ brains change quite a bit as they grow up.  These changes can generally be mapped by age, with each child hitting all the milestones at their own pace.  

This is according to a great article, “Mind Reader – Your Child’s Blossoming Brain, Age by Age: a Road Map of the Awesome (and Aggravating) Changes” by Holly Pevzner (February 2013).  

So here’s a description of what’s going on with your child’s noggin for ages 7 and 8.

7 Years Old “The Comedian”
At age 7, “Children are learning that language is not always literal, and they experiment with it,” says Sarah Nyp, MD.  Ms. Nyp is a developmental behavioral pediatrician at Children’s Mercy Hospitals in Missouri.  

What does this mean?  Well, your little one is now able to start exploring how she can use words and language to tell jokes that may even make sense!  And, these riddles are actually funny as well. There’s nothing like a child’s laughter, it’s priceless.  I know that when my daughter starting telling jokes, she seemed like she was really proud of them.  And she seemed to really enjoy getting the reaction from her audience.  She tells jokes all the time now, and repeats her favorites from time to time.  For example, I know why a banana went to the doctor (because he wasn’t peeling well)!  LOL that is so funny and clever!  Of course, many of her jokes aren’t that funny, but I like to encourage her sense of humor by laughing and reacting positively anyway.  “That’s a good one!” I exclaim, when she tells me that the chicken crosssed the road because it wanted to sit in the bean bag chair before the fox stole it.  Huh?  (Like Mother, like daughter I suppose since I'm usually thinking about my bean bag company!)

fox in bean bag chair

I highly recommend that you encourage your children to explore language and their ability to create clever wordplay.  You can do this by being silly yourself and joking around as well.  Perhaps you can have a dinner game where everyone comes prepared with a joke or two to start off the meal with a great bonding time of laughter.  Hey, why not print out a bunch of family-friendly jokes from the internet and creating joke cards that family members can pull from a jar at each meal?  Maybe throw in a few “Create our own joke” cards to encourage creativity.  

Plus, laughing as a family is just plain awesome.

Tell jokes to encourage creativity and family bonding
Make joking around a part of every day to encourage creativity.

Take the brain map below... according to the Journal of Education and Human Development, by exercising the right-brain stuff, you will also be exercising the left-brain stuff.  That's nothing but good stuff all around for our kids!

Brain Map

8 Years Old “The Downsizer”
This is the age when kids start to understand and recognize their strengths and weaknesses.  At eight, the brain starts to wittle down some of the connections it made earlier so it can be more efficient.  The brain begins to work faster, which means your child will become much more aware of herself.  This is when she will start to measure herself up to other kids and begin to determine what her real skills are.  That means if she’s been taking dance lessons for a while, but notices that she still has two left feet compared to Jane who apparently is ready to go on tour with Justin Bieber, she may ask to try something else.  

Although I totally understand that we don’t want to teach our children to be quitters, there are times when letting them decide on their own that they just don’t want to pursue something anymore is okay (especially if they don’t seem to be progressing in it and all they get out of it is frustration and disappointment).  Don’t keep telling them they are great at something when they aren’t.  At 8, they will know that you are not being truthful.  Go ahead and let her quit, but by all means encourage her to find something else to try.  Maybe ballet doesn’t float her boat, but hip-hop gets her motor running!  Be her cheerleader and support her in whatever activity she selects.  Encourage practicing and help keep her on track with lessons.

Maybe Your Kids Likes Hip Hop over Ballet
Support what makes kids feel accomplished at.

I love seeing my daughter truly having fun and enjoying the activities she has chosen.  I never want to force her to do an extra-curricular/ non-school activity that she continues not to excel at.  She tried ballet and tap dance, but ended up absolutely loving hip-hop.  So that's what she's been doing now for a couple years.  No one, especially kids, should have to endure constant disappointment or feeling like a failure just to stick to something and not be a “quitter”.  You absolutely do NOT want to compromise their self-esteem and confidence at this age or beyond.  Encourage what she likes and is good at and that will help her build a great foundation for trying new things later in life.

Did your children go through these stages at 7 and 8 years old? What did you see them do or hear them say?  They must have told some doozy jokes!  Please share!

Stay tuned for Part 3: how does the brain change in 9-10 year olds!

Yours truly, Jade

Jade is the founder and CEO of Ahh! Products. Find her on

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