Child Development Stage: The Competency Years

child development stages

Got a child aged 5 through to 10?

If so, your child is in the ‘Competency Years.’  This is a stage of life known as ‘latency’, where children have the task of gaining a sense of competency. It’s the stage where they begin school and start to form relationships with other adults and other children.  These years can also be called the Opportunity Years as children at this stage are very malleable and generally take a great deal of notice of their parents’ thoughts and opinions. So take the time to influence your child’s thinking and values, while also mirroring back to them that they are capable of doing their own thinking as well.

Here are five opportunities available to you during this child development stage:

1. Opportunity to communicate: This is the stage for parents to develop processes of communication with their children that will take them into adolescence. At this stage they need parents who can help them process their feelings and thoughts about their new experiences.
2. Opportunity for independence-building: It’s also a time for parents to build on the independence skills that were initiated in early childhood so that children see themselves as being capable. It’s a good idea to add extra time to your schedule each day to teach children self-help skills and also to be available to talk about school.
3. Opportunity for socialisation: The lives of children in this stage are dominated by rules and routines. It is through rules that they learn right from wrong, and how they should behave. Later in the stage they start to think in terms of rights and responsibilities, which are more abstract concepts. Many will develop a strong sense of justice and can become incensed when a sibling, friend or teacher treats them or others unfairly.
4. Opportunity to develop healthy interests: Involvement in sport and outside interests builds confidence during this stage, and helps these kids let off steam as well. Now is the time to involve your daughter in sport before she becomes too self-conscious about her body, and before negotiating a social life takes precedence. This is a stage of generalisation where kids should experience different interests before narrowing them down in adolescence.
5. Opportunity to develop sleep processes for adolescence: Teens are notoriously sleep-deprived but sleep researchers tell us that good sleep habits developed during latency carry over into adolescence. Regularity and routine are the keys to getting a good night’s sleep during this stage.

Understanding the developmental tasks of child development stages helps you make the most of the Opportunities that each age presents. It also helps you make sense of what can seem to be nonsensical behaviour, as well as take the actions necessary to help your child meet his or her developmental needs.
To learn more about your child’s developmental stage and it’s special requirements visit my online parenting manual that is also known as Parentingideas Club. You’ll get a Parenting Guide to your child’s development stage when you join as well as a Year Ahead Planner on your child’s birthday to help you make the most of the year ahead. Take your FREE Trial now.


Got a 3 year old in your life…or know someone who has?  There are 12 top tips for raising tantalising three year olds ? Check them out on my blog.

Michael Grose

Michael Grose is the current Channel 9 Today Show parenting commentator, reaching parents Australia-wide on a regular basis.He is also the author of 8 parenting books, including his latest release Thriving! and the best-selling Why First Borns Rule the World and Last Borns Want to Change It.

A popular presenter, Michael Grose speaks to parents, teachers and principals on a regular basis.Michael comes from an education background, and has conducted post-graduate research into what makes healthy families tick.He's given over 1500 parenting presentations, including the first parenting seminar in Parliament House, Canberra.Michael is married with three adult children who have all successfully flown the parent nest.

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