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Now we are eight: life in middle childhood

Family dynamics Social wellbeing Children New Zealand

The report explores children’s thoughts, feelings and experiences in the 'golden age' of middle childhood. It adds value to the collection of longitudinal information that collectively shapes a taonga to help ensure all our children are well supported by strategies and policies that are likely to enhance their wellbeing from their earliest years.

Key findings:

  • The majority of New Zealand children are growing up healthy and happy in families that are enabled to positively support their health and wellbeing.
  • Many of the children are already developing a strong sense of their own identity by the time they are eight, especially in the area of ethnicity, gender and body image.
  • The children are digital natives, who are increasingly more likely to interact with friends and family online than any generation previously, which presents both challenges and opportunities for them and for their families.
  • Sadly, however, there remains a significant proportion of children who are growing up in families burdened with the multiple stressors associated with economic, material and social hardship, which unfortunately translates to poorer overall wellbeing outcomes and limited opportunities for these children.
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