The preteen years are full of changes. Between the ages of nine and eleven, your child grows more independent. Friendships become important, and peer pressure gets stronger. Body image and eating problems also sometimes start around this age.
Knowing what to expect during these years helps you face the challenges of parenting a preteen. Annual Well-Child Care Visits checkups are just as important for preteens as they are for young children.
Here are some normal things that happen to most children between 9-11 years old.
Look for these developmental changes between the ages of 9 and 11
- Forms stronger friendships. Friends become more important.
- Wants more independence from parents and family.
- Feels pressure to fit in with friends and classmates.
- Pays more attention to his or her body and looks.
- Understands more about how others think and feel.
- Pays attention for longer periods of time.
How to encourage your preteen’s healthy development
You still play an important part in your child’s life, even as he or she gets older. You can help your preteen grow and develop in these ways:
- Make sure your child gets enough sleep. Doctors recommend 9-12 hours for preteens.
- Talk with your child about the normal changes of puberty.
- Be involved with your child’s school. Meet her teachers and get to know the families of her friends.
- Talk about risky things friends might ask your child to do, like smoking, drinking, or dangerous physical dares.
- Set limits for how and when your child is online and on social media.
Make appointments for back-to-school health checkups for your children.
They'll each receive a free backpack with school supplies during their visit.
For children ages 3 to 13.
Available through Friday, August 18, 2023.
*The milestones listed here are just some of the milestones for children ages 9-11. For a full list of milestones, see the CDC’s Developmental Milestones or talk to your doctor.