Kids' Characteristics by Age

God makes every child special and unique.  Our role is to find the abilities God has placed within them and then call them up to walk in His ways and fulfill their special destiny.

We are to help children discover who they are in Christ and how He can work through them to further God's kingdom.

This is very clear in Psalm 139:14-16.  Look what it says.

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,  I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be."

While every child is unique, there are some general attributes that all kids experience as they grow up.  Let's look at a few of these.  These are from a research company called Cengage learning.

Ages 3-5 (3 through kindergarten)
  • extremely active
  • need frequent rest periods
  • large muscles are more developed than those that control fingers and hands
  • eye-hand coordination is still developing
  • bodies are flexible and resilient
  • most have one or two friends, but those friendships change quickly
  • play activities contributes to their social, emotional and cognitive development
  • show preferences for gender of play peers
  • awareness of gender roles is evidence
  • tend to express their emotions freely and openly with frequent anger bursts
  • jealousy among peers is common
  • tend to have much affection for their teacher and actively seek approval
  • begin to develop a theory of mind
  • becoming skillful with language
  • competence is encouraged by interaction, interests, opportunities and more

Grades 1-3
  • extremely active so need breaks like recess
  • may have difficulty focusing on small print or objects
  • tend to be extreme in their physical activities
  • bone growth not complete
  • more selective in their choice of friends
  • likely to have a best friend
  • like organized games
  • sensitive to criticism
  • begin to understand that there are different ways to know things and that some ways are better than others
  • being to understand that learning and recall are caused by cognitive processes that they can control

Grades 4-5
  • boys and girls become leaner and stronger
  • obesity can become a problem for some kids at this age
  • gender differences in motor skill performance are apparent
  • relative calm and predictability in physical development
  • peer groups become powerful and begin to replace adults as the major source of behavior
  • friendships are more selective and gender based
  • organized play continues to contribute to social, emotional and cognitive development
  • develop a more global, integrated and complex self-image
  • self-image composed of self-description, self-esteem and self-concept
  • disruptive family relationships, social rejection and school failure may lead to delinquent behavior
  • can think logically, although such thinking is constrained and inconsistent
  • simple memory tasks - children can perform as well as adults
  • performance is limited with complex memory tasks
These insights can be very helpful as you minister to children.  Remember these when you are preparing lessons, activities, games, etc.  Every stage of a child's life is an opportunity to share with them how much Jesus loves them and how they were created for a special mission from God.