6–7 years old: Emotional development

6–7 years old: Emotional development

As children grow, they learn how to manage and express their emotions. Follow your child’s emotional development from age 6 to 7.

Emotional development allows children to understand, express, and manage their emotions as they grow. Children also develop the ability to recognize and interpret the emotions of others, which helps them build relationships with those around them.

Emotional development: 6–7years old

At this age:

  • Your child is able to use their words to express dissatisfaction, anger, or sadness. They can also describe situations affecting their emotions.
  • They understand and find it easier to express complex emotions such as pride, guilt, and shame.
  • They are learning about ambivalence. That means they understand that we can sometimes feel a range of emotions about a single situation, such as excitement and fear at the idea of going down a big slide.
  • They can tolerate waiting for longer periods before their requests are answered.
Remember that not all children develop the same skills at the same speed. The material on this website is for general information purposes only. If you’re concerned about your child’s development, speak with a doctor.
  • Your child is becoming more aware of social norms. Accordingly, they’ll show or hide certain emotions depending on what is accepted by their friends or others in their immediate environment.
  • They see themself as a unique individual and are becoming more aware of their place in the world. They know what they like and what they don’t like and aren’t afraid to let you know about it.
  • They compare themself to other children their age. Since their self-esteem is still fragile, they may be self-critical or get discouraged if they feel they’re not as good as other children at performing a particular task or activity.
  • They know and understand the rules but like to test certain boundaries and may present careful arguments when faced with a refusal.
  • Your child is becoming more competitive. They may react strongly to successes as much as failures.
  • The notions of right and wrong are becoming clearer to them, and they understand the consequences of their actions, whether positive or negative. They also understand what lying means and how their actions impact others.
  • It can still be difficult for them to make choices that will impact their future because they’re not always able to evaluate the repercussions of their actions.

Little by little, your child is beginning to do the following:

  • Use more complex strategies to cope with emotional situations.
  • Become aware that events from the past can trigger an emotional reaction. For example, they can understand that their friend might be crying is because their father left for a one-week business trip.
  • Adjust their emotional reactions to outside expectations to ensure they’ll be accepted by a group of friends.
  • Be more self-critical; they can see what they did right or wrong in a situation, with the help of an adult.
  • Be less self-centred and enjoy making others happy with kind words and acts of kindness.
  • See the positive effects their actions have on others.

How can you help your child progress?

Your child is unique and will develop at their own pace. They have strengths and weaknesses and are becoming increasingly self-aware. You can support your child’s emotional development with these simple everyday actions:

When you talk to your child about happy events or hard things that happened that day,
they learn to express their feelings more accurately.
When you highlight your child’s successes by noticing the efforts they made to achieve them,
they understand that their skills and efforts helped them succeed. This is how they develop perseverance.
When you let your child make decisions and encourage them to complete a project,
they realize that their likes and dislikes matter. They also understand that their ideas are worthy of being considered.
When you have fun taking turns miming and guessing different emotions with your child,
they become even more familiar with the language of emotions.
When you help your child recognize the likes and interests of people around them,
they develop a more altruistic way of thinking, learn to accept differences, and figure out what makes others happy.
When you ask your child to do small chores around the house,
they develop their autonomy and feel involved in family life.
When you ask your child what they think about an emotional situation they experienced or heard about in a story,
they learn to better understand the language of emotions and consider the emotions of others.
When you help your child find solutions to a problem,
they gain confidence in their abilities and feel that they have more control over future difficulties that might arise.


Naître et grandir

Scientific review: Chloé Gaumont, M.Sc., psychoeducator
Research and copywriting: The Naître et grandir team
Updated: January 2022


Photo: GettyImages/Ridofranz



Please note that hyperlinks to other websites are not updated regularly, and some may have changed since publication. It is therefore possible that a link may not be found. If a link is no longer valid, use search engines to find the relevant information.

  • Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development. “Emotional development in childhood.” 2011. child-encyclopedia.com
  • Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development. “The self-conscious emotions.” 2011. child-encyclopedia.com
  • Ferland, Francine. Le développement de l’enfant au quotidien: de 0 à 6 ans. 2nd ed., Éditions du CHU Sainte-Justine, 2018, 264 pp.
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  • “Nos émotions.” emotion.ca
  • Passeport Santé. “L’enfant de 5 ans: qu’est-ce qui change à cet âge?” 2017. www.passeportsante.net
  • Portail Enfance et Familles. “Étapes du développement.” www.portailenfance.ca
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  • Sunderland, Margot. The Science of Parenting: How Today’s Brain Research Can Help You Raise Happy, Emotionally Balanced Children. DK, 2008, 288 pp.
  • Zeanah, Charles H., et al. Handbook of Infant Mental Health. 4th ed., Guilford Press, 2018, 678 pp.