Unit 8.1 developmental milestones for 9 to 12 year old children

Social and Emotional

  • Begins to realize that adults are not always right
  • May test authority limits, talk back and show signs of rebellion
  • Want to be their own person and make their own rules
  • May enjoy competitive sports
  • Learning to see other’s point of view
  • Better able to control their emotions, but feelings are easily hurt
  • Very conscious of appearance and want to conform to peers
  • Worry about not fitting in, not being invited to a party
  • May develop a “crush”
  • Difficulties dealing with failure
  • May tattle to gain attention and to enforce rules
  • Developing a strong sense of what is right and wrong

Cognitive & Language/Communication

  • Reading and writing skills improving with every year
  • General knowledge base is expanding
  • May perform better in some school subjects than in others
  • Daydreams about future events
  • May start to think about future career
  • Can understand concepts without direct, hands-on experience
  • Memory abilities are expanding
  • May be able to judge behaviour and anticipate consequences of actions
  • Able to understand abstract concepts
  • Able to express themselves well
  • Understands emotions
  • Will have periods of being talkative and periods of withdrawal
  • Can carry on extended conversation


  • Increased body strength and dexterity
  • Improved coordination
  • May experience a growth spurt
  • May show bodily changes indicating upcoming puberty
  • Girls may begin to menstruate
  • Boy’s voices may begin to crack
  • Require about 10 hours of sleep a night to keep up with energy levels
  • May appear gangly with long limbs
  • Eyes reach maturity
  • May find hobby/exercise that they enjoy more than others
  • Can complete all self-care routines
“He who teaches children learns more than they do” – German Proverb