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Your textbook barely touches on physical development, but I think it is very important. Children grow more slowly than during early childhood or puberty - they gain about five pounds per year, and the average well-nourished child will be around 70 pounds by age 10.

Their strength and coordination improves significantly during this period. Strength and physical development are related to friendship. The child who looks very different, who is significantly overweight or who is not very coordinated (and, consequently, bad at the games that children play) is likely to have a harder time being socially accepted by the other children.

During middle childhood, boys and girls are about equal in physical abilities, but there tends to be more encouragement of boys to participate in physical activities. Both boys and girls increase in reaction time, that is the time it takes to respond to a stimulus, like a baseball that was thrown at a person. Reaction time at 14 is approximately half what it is at five. Slow reaction time (which is related to brain maturation) is why you may see a seven-year-old softball player catch a ball in her glove and then drop it. She does not yet have fast enough reaction time to close the glove before the ball falls out. You can honestly encourage your six-year-old that she will get better as she gets older.

Whatever sport she does, DO encourage her to get exercise as it is the single most important factor in the prevention and reduction of obsesity.

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