Your Simple List of 8-year-old Milestones

Jan 5, 2022

by Camille Everett

Creator of Be That Place

Handwritten notes and lunchtime chats from students kickstarted Camille's mission to help families teach sex ed at home. She is a graduate of Utah State University with a bachelor’s in Secondary Health & English Education. She loves having real conversations while devouring bowls of chocolate peanut butter ice cream.

Your simple list of eight-year-old milestones

Eight-year-olds are delighted over unexpected surprises — little things like ice cream for breakfast or an unplanned trip to the park. Their sense of humor is unmistakable. It’s the kind that gets you laughing because they’re laughing so hard at their own joke. You can’t help but smile with an 8-year-old in the house.

These kids often experience a big growth spurt during this time, so you may end up buying new shoes and pants partway through the year. Not to mention that their clothes may wear out pretty fast since 8-year-olds tend to play hard. They have a LOT of energy. 

With a new sense of independence, these kids dive into their latest adventure. And even though it might be frustrating to us, they want their parents to be positive and happy with their desire to explore.

Adventure, you say? Sounds like we should join in the fun. After all, these kids thrive when receiving quality attention from us, even if it’s for short amounts of time throughout the day.

Social & emotional milestones


  • Are easily frustrated when activities don’t go quickly or smoothly.
  • Love to share humor.
  • Can change emotions quickly, and may bounce between dramatic outbursts and insensitive comments.
  • Enjoy being in groups for work and play, usually of the same gender.
  • Like to compare their abilities, such as how fast they can run or how many dance moves they can do.
  • Want positive feedback from peers as much as from adults.
  • Begin to deal with peer pressure to think or behave in a certain way.
  • Are often in a hurry.
  • Understand the concept of right and wrong.
  • Are impatient and generally dislike waiting.
  • Regularly express criticism of others, especially family members.
  • Express interest in saving money and planning for things they want to buy.

Cognitive milestones


  • Are endlessly inventive, curious, and creative.
  • Have a growing interest in and understanding of fairness.
  • Have lots of ideas that they love to share with anyone willing to listen.
  • Are really focused when working on something but still don’t have a long attention span.
  • Often believe they can do more than they actually can do — they’re more interested in what they are doing than how to do it.
  • Enjoy creating as well as the final creation, although they are often sloppy and impatient.
  • Are interested in logic especially when trying to discover how things work or how things are put together.
  • Problem solve in a more organized sequence.
  • Have a black and white perspective. They often don’t yet understand complex issues because they comprehend things as one of two opposites: great or terrible, beautiful or ugly, easy or hard. 

Sexual development

Eight-year-olds MAY…

  • Want and need privacy.
  • Become more curious about adult male and female bodies — they may want to see these bodies naked.
  • Conform to stereotypical gender roles and perceived appropriate behaviors, even when these gender roles are not taught in the home environment.
  • Be ready to hear basic concepts about the upcoming changes of puberty.
  • Show an increased interest in pregnancy and childbirth and may ask for more details.
  • Be ready to learn about both male and female reproductive anatomy to better understand the process of pregnancy and childbirth.
  • Take more notice of sexual attitudes and behaviors displayed in videos or other online material, images and song lyrics.
  1. Yardsticks: Child and Adolescent Development Ages 4-14 by Chip Wood
  2. Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS). “What is Normal Childhood Sexual Development?” Families are Talking, vol. 3, no. 4, 2015,
  3. National Center on the Sexual Behavior of Youth (NCSBY). Accessed 20 May 2021.
  4. The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN). “Sexual Development and Behavior in Children.”