10.2 Physical Growth in Middle Childhood
Middle childhood spans the years between early childhood and adolescence, children are approximately 6 to 11 years old. These children come in all shapes and sizes: height, weight, abilities, and disabilities. Physical growth rates are generally slow and steady during these years. However, growth spurts do occur during middle to late childhood (Spreen, Riser, & Edgell, 1995). Typically, a child will gain about 5-7 pounds a year and grow about 2 inches per year. They also tend to slim down and gain muscle strength. As bones lengthen and broaden and muscles strengthen, many children want to engage in strenuous physical activity and can participate for longer periods of time. In addition, the rate of growth for the extremities is faster than for the trunk, which results in more adult-like proportions. Long-bone growth stretches muscles and ligaments, which results in many children experiencing growing pains, at night, in particular.373
Children between ages 6 and 9, show significant improvement in their abilities to perform motor skills. This development growth allows children to gain greater control over the movement of their bodies, mastering many gross and fine motor skills that were beyond that of the younger child. Riding a bike that is bigger or running longer and further is a big improvement in gross motor skills. Eye-hand coordination and fine motor skills allow for children to become better at writing and cutting. Sports and extracurricular activities may become a part of the lives of children during middle childhood due to their physical growth and capabilities.