Child Development 101:
The Elementary Years
Presented by: Dr. Dawn-Elise Snipes
Executive Director, AllCEUs

Continuing Education (CE) credits can be earned for this presentation at

~Review developmental tasks children accomplish at this stage
~Examine how children’s thinking patterns are different than that of both toddlers and adolescents
~Explore ways to assist children in enhancing their self esteem
Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development
~Ages 4-7 Intuitive thought substage
~Children are beginning to be able to evaluate things on more than one characteristic
~Cats, Dogs, Animals
~Math, Reading, School
~Able to use inductive reasoning, drawing general conclusions from personal experiences and specific facts
Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development

~Ages 7-11
~Concrete operational
~Abstract and hypothetical thinking is not yet developed
~If I do this, what are the potential results…
~Parenting: Help child write down options and discuss reasoning
~Chaotic environments may have made it difficult to predict outcomes
~Rule out Fetal Alcohol Spectrum
~Emotional dysregulation interfere with decision making  Teach distress tolerance and emotional regulation skills
~Develop reasoning and goal setting skills
Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development
~Ages 7-11
~Concrete operational
~Struggle with DEductive reasoning, or using a general principle to predict an event
~Again, chaotic environments interfere causing child to perceive the world as an unpredictable and threatening place
~Can also reinforce dichotomous thinking…every time I….
~Parenting/ Re-Parenting
~Embrace the concept of in general, but not always
~Rule out FAS
~If something does not conform to the principle, talk about what happened and revise the principle

Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development

~Ages 7-11
~Concrete operational
~Starting to be able to see (albeit not necessarily agree with) other people’s perspectives
~Encourage perspective taking
~Identify three explanations

Irrational Thoughts and Cognitive Distortions
~Think of Examples for Children and Adults
~All or Nothing Thinking (Dichotomous)
~Overgeneralization (Ineffective hypothesizing/inductive or deductive reasoning)
~Mental Filter (Focusing on only one aspect (centration))
~Emotional Reasoning (Inductive reasoning error)
~Should’s (Centration)
~Labeling with global, internal, stable attributions

~Biological Needs –Preventing Vulnerabilities
~Developing an effective, independent sleep routine
~Building blocks for healthy body and brain
~Mindfulness of eating for hunger and attending to nutritional cravings (dehydration, iron, calcium etc…)
~Awareness of the impact of stimulants and sugar
~Sets circadian rhythms
~Vitamin D


~Biological Needs
~Medical care
~Stress relief
~Self-esteem “I did that”
~Raise serotonin levels
~Develop healthy movement habits


~Safety (External and Internal)
~From physical harm
~Reduce trauma from low grade-chronic stress
~Home stress
~From emotional abuse from others
~Critical others
~Re-parenting— Address hypervigilance to verbal and nonverbal behavior


~Safety (External and Internal)
~From emotional abuse from self
~Teach mindfulness
~Explore attributions (will be difficult for younger kids)
~Global vs. Specific
~Internal vs. External
~Stable vs. Changeable
~Do self-esteem exercises
~Introduce the concept of Acceptance and Commitment
~Accept what is and who you are
~Commit your energies to becoming the best you that you can be

~Love and Belonging & Self-Esteem
~Autonomy vs. shame (toddler)
~Learning new skills and right from wrong.
~Child starts to assert opinions and a desire to do it on his/her own
~Initiative vs. Guilt (3-6 years)
~Learning to plan and achieve goals
~Developing social skills to initiate activities with others
~Initiative, a sense of ambition and responsibility, occurs when parents allow a child to explore within limits and then support the child's choice.

~Love, Belonging and Self-Esteem
~Industry (competence) vs. Inferiority (incompetence) (6-12 yrs)
~Self-efficacy and esteem through learning, creating and accomplishing numerous new skills and knowledge.
~Social stage of development leading to self esteem and social confidence or feelings of inferiority and inadequacy
~Children in elementary school are mastering new physical, interpersonal, emotional and cognitive skills
~They are striving to develop a sense of competence
~Parents can:
~Encourage risk taking
~Help the child evaluate and learn from failures
~Help the child begin to develop effective reasoning skills
~Deductive reasoning starts with a general hypothesis and develops a conclusion about a single person or event
~Inductive reasoning starts with an observation and works up to a general hypothesis

~Begin to identify and address thinking errors
~All or None Thinking
~In a reparenting scenarios
~Examine schemas that are still based in cognitive distortions  (i.e. All green vegetables are disgusting)
~Explore why they may have been created that way (inductive, primitive reasoning)
~Explore the functionality of maintaining the current thought structure

~Helping children develop effective cognitive strategies will help them
~Feel more effective and empowered
~Avoid using global, stable, negative, internal attributions
~Be more effective in relationships through
~Multiple perspective taking
~Plan and execute goals
~Effectively identify their own thoughts and feelings and communicate those