7–8 years old: Cognitive and linguistic development

7–8 years old: Cognitive and linguistic development

What happens in your little one’s brain as they get older? Follow your child’s cognitive development from age 7 to 8.

Cognitive development refers to the acquisition of skills such as memory, attention, reasoning, and planning. These skills allow children to manage their emotions, thoughts, and behaviours, in addition to helping them store information, solve problems, exercise judgment, and understand the world around them. Cognitive development also includes language development, which is a child’s ability to communicate, understand speech, and express themself verbally. For school-aged children, this also includes reading and writing comprehension.

Cognitive and language development: 7–8 years old

Cognitive skills

At this age:

  • Your child is better at discerning what other people (e.g., their friends, their parents, other adults) are thinking and feeling in social situations. They can put themself in other people’s shoes, which makes them better at resolving conflicts and empathizing.
  • They can formulate hypotheses and imagine what-if scenarios. For example, they might think about and guess the ending of a story.
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.
  • They draw “transparent” characters or objects (e.g., houses with see-through walls).
  • They can solve simple math problems (article in French), such as those involving basic addition and subtraction. They also understand the concept of reversibility (e.g., 2 + 3 = 5, 5 − 3 = 2).
  • They understand the cause-effect relationship between an action and its consequence, both in daily life and in science experiments.

Little by little, your child will begin to do the following:

  • Imagine objects in their mind before creating them (e.g., an airplane made of building blocks) and follow a plan.
  • Plan and organize their own daily routines.
  • Add and subtract larger numbers.
  • Understand the strategies behind magic tricks and card games.
  • Understand money better (e.g., recognize that three quarters is worth less than a dollar).

Language skills

At this age:

  • Your child’s vocabulary includes words they hear at home and at school, as well as words they read in books.
  • They use longer, more complex sentences, which shows that their reasoning is evolving (e.g., “I’m going to play until you tell me it’s been 30 minutes”).
  • They can talk about something for increasingly longer periods during a conversation.
  • They can tell a story by focusing on the character’s purpose and emotions rather than a series of events.
  • They have a better grasp of puns and figurative expressions.
  • They can correctly spell approximately 500 words by the end of Grade 2.
  • They understand that a noun can be singular or plural.
  • They can read simple texts with more fluency.
  • They can read a variety of texts, such as stories, songs, articles, and instructions.

Little by little, your child will begin to do the following:

  • Get better at imagining what someone they’re talking to might be thinking.
  • Learn more vocabulary from the texts they read.
  • Read to learn new things.

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 encourage your little one’s cognitive development with these simple everyday actions:

When you encourage your child to reflect on and and talk about situations that you or others have experienced,
they learn that other people can feel a variety of emotions and have different reactions, depending on the situation. This will help them decode social situations more easily.
When you let your child play outside regularly,
they get to experience nature and spontaneously observe and understand certain phenomena, such as puddles freezing in cold weather.
When you encourage your child to read a little each day (link in French), whether on their own or with you,
they develop their reading skills and become more interested in books.
When you look at non-fiction books together (books about animals, transportation, countries, etc.),
your child learns new vocabulary while developing their curiosity and knowledge.
When you ask your child to calculate whether they have enough money in their piggy bank to buy something they want,
they learn about the meaning and value of money.
When you play cards or a board game together,
your child develops their ability to reason and strategize, and they can justify their actions when asked.
When you encourage your child to build objects with blocks or other materials,
they develop abstract thinking skills (i.e., the ability to imagine something that hasn’t been built yet).
When you talk to your child,
you give them an opportunity to recount their day in an organized manner.


Naître et grandir

Scientific review: Marie-Ève Bergeron-Gaudin, speech-language pathologist, and Noémie Montminy, doctoral student in psychopedagogy at Université Laval.
Research and copywriting: The Naître et grandir team
Updated: August 2021


Photo: GettyImages/doble-d


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.

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