8 Years

Discover tips, tools, and support for this age

Your eight-year-old’s personality is growing! At this stage, they may develop a strong sense of right and wrong and form close friendships. Setting up playdates will help your child feel more secure and supported.   Learn more below about your child’s development, resources available during and after school, and free events across NYC. 


Skills children develop as they play, learn, speak, act, and move are called milestones. Learn about milestones to help you understand your child's development and act early if you have concerns.

Around 8 years old, many children:

  • Social

    • Develop a strong moral sense of right and wrong
    • Show more concern for the well-being of others
    • Develop a sense of privacy
    • Have playmates of the same gender
  • Communication

    • Talk about experiences, thoughts, and feelings
    • Use polite phrases such as "please" and "thank you"
    • Know different tenses, such as past and future, and other grammar
    • May have favorite subjects at school
    • Are often excited to talk about what they want to do when they grow up
  • Learning

    • Understand and can carry out instructions with multiple steps
    • Create simple stories
    • Understand conversations between other children
    • Know months and seasons
    • Begin to read books on their own
  • Physical Development

    • Catch a tennis ball in one hand
    • Have more strength in the large muscles of the arms and legs
    • Change direction while running, throw with better aim, and jump or climb better
  • Health

    • Have 5 ounces of grains daily (such as 1 cup of breakfast cereal plus 1 large tortilla)
    • Have 1 ½ cups of vegetables daily (such as 3 medium carrots)
    • Have 1 to 1 ½ cups of fruits daily (such as 1 medium or large apple OR 1 to 1 ½ cups 100% fruit juice)
    • Have 4 ounces of meat and beans daily (such as 1 small chicken breast plus 1 egg)
    • Have 2 ½ cups of milk daily
    • Do 1 hour of medium- to high-intensity physical activity each day, including many 15-minute periods of activity
    • Are not inactive for 2 hours or more, unless sleeping
    • Sleep about 9–11 hours per day
    • Stay on schedule with shots

Act early by talking to a doctor, teacher, or social worker if your child:

  • Act Early

    • Complains about stomach or headaches before going to school
    • Can't tie shoelaces
    • Wets the bed at night
    • Doesn't respect the personal space of others
    • Has little concern for the feelings of others
    • Has trouble finding the right word when talking
    • Can't get dressed on their own
    • Gets tired easily with every activity
    • Can't ride a bike without training wheels (if taught)


Find the support your family needs to thrive

Comprehensive After School System of NYC (COMPASS NYC)

NYC Department of Youth & Community Development (DYCD)

Afterschool programs for students

COMPASS NYC has hundreds of programs for young people in kindergarten through 12th grade.

School Food

NYC Department of Education (DOE)

Free school breakfast and lunch

NYC students can enjoy free breakfast and lunch every school day.

School-Based Health Centers (SBHC)

NYC Department of Education (DOE); NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene (DOHMH)

Free health care in schools

Students can get free health care in their school.