CHILDREN (9-11 Yrs) DEVELOPMENTAL MILESTONES

Children (9-11 Years)

Your child’s growing independence from the family and interest in friends might be obvious by now.

Healthy friendships are very important to your child’s development, but peer pressure can become strong during this time. Children who feel good about themselves are more able to resist negative peer pressure and make better choices for themselves.

This is an important time for children to gain a sense of responsibility along with their growing independence.

Also, physical changes of puberty might be showing by now, especially for girls. Another big change children need to prepare for during this time is starting middle or junior high school.

Middle Childhood Children 9-11 Years Positive Parenting American SPCC
Middle Childhood Children 9-11 Years Positive Parenting American SPCC

Emotional/Social Changes (9-11 Years)

Children in this age group might:

  • Start to form stronger, more complex friendships and peer relationships. It becomes more emotionally important to have friends, especially of the same sex.
  • Experience more peer pressure.
  • Become more aware of his or her body as puberty approaches. Body image and eating problems sometimes start around this age.

Thinking & Learning (9-11 Years)

Children in this age group might:

  • Face more academic challenges at school.
  • Become more independent from the family.
  • Begin to see the point of view of others more clearly.
  • Have an increased attention span.

Positive Parenting Tips (9-11 Years)

Following are some things you, as a parent, can do to help your child during this time:

  • Spend time with your child. Talk with her about him/her friends, her accomplishments, and what challenges she will face.
  • Be involved with your child’s school. Go to school events; meet your child’s teachers.
  • Encourage your child to join school and community groups, such as a sports team, or to be a volunteer for a charity.
  • Help your child develop his own sense of right and wrong. Talk with him/her about risky things friends might pressure him to do, like smoking or dangerous physical dares.
  • Help your child develop a sense of responsibility—involve your child in household tasks like cleaning and cooking. Talk with your child about saving and spending money wisely.
  • Meet the families of your child’s friends.
  • Talk with your child about respecting others. Encourage him/her to help people in need. Talk with him/her about what to do when others are not kind or are disrespectful.
  • Help your child set his own goals. Encourage him/her to think about skills and abilities he would like to have and about how to develop them.
  • Make clear rules and stick to them. Talk with your child about what you expect from him/her (behavior) when no adults are present. If you provide reasons for rules, it will help him/her to know what to do in most situations.
  • Use discipline to guide and protect your child, instead of punishment to make him/her feel badly about themself.
  • When using praise, help your child think about his/her own accomplishments. Saying “you must be proud of yourself” rather than simply “I’m proud of you” can encourage your child to make good choices when nobody is around to praise him/her.
  • Talk with your child about the normal physical and emotional changes of puberty.
  • Encourage your child to read every day. Talk with him/her about their homework.
  • Be affectionate and honest with your child, and do things together as a family.
Middle Childhood Children 9-11 Years Healthy Bodies Positive Parenting American SPCC

Children (9-11 Years)

  • Provide plenty of fruits and vegetables; limit foods high in solid fats, added sugars, or salt, and prepare healthier foods for family meals.
  • Keep television sets out of your child’s bedroom. Limit screen time, including computers and video games, to no more than 1 to 2 hours.
  • Encourage your child to participate in an hour a day of physical activities that are age appropriate and enjoyable and that offer variety! Just make sure your child is doing three types of activity: aerobic activity like running, muscle strengthening like climbing, and bone strengthening – like jumping rope – at least three days per week.

Join the conversation, engage, and connect on our Positive Parenting forum.

Whether you need advice or if you have advice to give, our forum is the place to connect with a growing community committed to the care of the next generation.

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Click for References & Sources

  1. Information Courtesy of CDC.
  2. Positive Parenting Tip Sheet for Children 9-11 Years CDC.

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