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Middle Childhood (9-11 years of age)

elementary girl

Developmental Milestones

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.

Here is some information on how children develop during middle childhood:

Emotional/Social Changes

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 and Learning

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

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 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 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 her to help people in need. Talk with her about what to do when others are not kind or are disrespectful.
  • Help your child set his own goals. Encourage him 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 her (behavior) when no adults are present. If you provide reasons for rules, it will help her to know what to do in most situations.
  • Use discipline to guide and protect your child, instead of punishment to make him feel badly about himself.
  • When using praise, help your child think about 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 her.
  • Talk with your child about the normal physical and emotional changes of puberty.
  • Encourage your child to read every day. Talk with him about his homework.
  • Be affectionate and honest with your child, and do things together as a family.

Child Safety First

More independence and less adult supervision can put children at risk for injuries from falls and other accidents. Here are a few tips to help protect your child:

  • Protect your child in the car. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends that you keep your child in a booster seat until he is big enough to fit in a seat belt properly. Remember: your child should still ride in the back seat until he or she is 12 years of age because it’s safer there. Motor vehicle crashes are the most common cause of death from unintentional injury among children of this age.
  • Know where your child is and whether a responsible adult is present. Make plans with your child for when he will call you, where you can find him, and what time you expect him home.
  • Make sure your child wears a helmet when riding a bike or a skateboard or using inline skates; riding on a motorcycle, snowmobile, or all-terrain vehicle; or playing contact sports.
  • Many children get home from school before their parents get home from work. It is important to have clear rules and plans for your child when she is home alone.

Healthy Bodies

  • 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.

For More Information

CDC’s "Learn the Signs. Act Early." Campaign
For more details on developmental milestones, warning signs of possible developmental delays, and information on how to help your child’s development, visit the "Learn the Signs. Act Early." campaign website.

CDC’s Parent Information (Children 0―3 years)
This site has information to help you learn how to give your child a healthy start in life.

CDC's Essentials for Parenting Toddlers and Preschoolers
Learn ways you can help build a safe, stable, and nurturing relationship with your child.

CDC's Breastfeeding Information.
This site has answers to frequently asked questions about breastfeeding.

CDC's Healthy Weight Information.
Tips for Parents – Ideas to help children maintain a healthy weight.

CDC's Protect the Ones You Love
CDC’s Injury Center has information on how you can protect your child from drowning and other common causes of injury.

Bright Futures
Bright Futures provides information on what to expect as your baby grows, including parenting tips. Patient/parent education handouts are available for your child’s regular check-up visit with your healthcare provider from 2-5 days of age until 18-21 years of age.

Choose My Plate- Preschoolers
The U.S. Department of Agriculture provides information on health and nutrition for 2 through 5 years of age.

HealthyChildren.org
AAP’s Healthy Children website provides information on feeding, nutrition, and fitness for all developmental stages from infancy to young adulthood.

Just in Time Parenting (JITP)
Quality, research-based information to families at the time it can be most useful.

Let's Move - Child Care
You will find information on physical activity for young children and on ways to keep them moving.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
NHTSA has information on safety recalls and safety tips for children riding in motor vehicles, walking, biking, playing outside, waiting at school bus stops, and more.

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. (NICHD)
Visit NICHD to learn how to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and about safe sleep environments.

Vaccines
View the child immunization schedule and find out if your child's vaccinations are up to date.

World Health Organization information on infant nutrition
This site has information to promote proper feeding for infants and young children.

CDC’s "Learn the Signs. Act Early." Campaign
For more details on developmental milestones, warning signs of possible developmental delays, and information on how to help your child’s development, visit the "Learn the Signs. Act Early." campaign website.

CDC’s Parent Information (Children 4−11 years)
This site has information to help you guide your child in leading a healthier life.

CDC's Essentials for Parenting Toddlers and Preschoolers
Learn ways you can help build a safe, stable, and nurturing relationship with your child.

CDC's Healthy Weight Information.
Tips for parents – Ideas to help children maintain a healthy weight.

Bright Futures
Bright Futures provides information on what to expect as your baby grows, including parenting tips. Patient/parent education handouts are available for your child’s regular check-up visit with your healthcare provider from 2-5 days of age until 18-21 years of age.

Building Blocks
SAMHSA’s Building Blocks help parents, caregivers, and educators of children ages 3 to 6 in creating safe, supportive, and nurturing environments for young children to help them grow up mentally healthy and drug-free.

Choose My Plate- Preschoolers
The U.S. Department of Agriculture provides information on health and nutrition for children 2 through 5 years of age.

HealthyChildren.org
AAP's Healthy Children website provides information on feeding, nutrition, and fitness for all developmental stages from infancy to young adulthood.

Just in Time Parenting (JITP)
Quality, research-based information to families at the time it can be most useful.

Let's Move - Child Care
You will find information on physical activity for young children and on ways to keep them moving.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
NHTSA has information on safety recalls and safety tips for children riding in motor vehicles, walking, biking, playing outside, waiting at school bus stops, and more.

CDC’s Parent Information (Children 4 — 11 years)
This site has information to help you guide your child in leading a healthier life.

CDC's Healthy Weight Information.
Tips for parents – Ideas to help children maintain a healthy weight.

CDC's Youth Physical Activity Guidelines Toolkit
This site has information on how to help children be active and play.

KidsQuest
KidsQuest is a CDC website designed for students in fourth, fifth, and sixth grades, to get them to think about people with disabilities and some of the issues related to daily activities, health, and accessibility.

BAM! Body and Mind
CDC’s BAM! Body and Mind is a website designed for kids 9 through 13 years of age to give them the information they need to make healthy lifestyle choices. The site focuses on topics that kids told us are important to them—such as stress and physical fitness—using kid-friendly lingo, games, quizzes, and other interactive features.

Bright Futures
Bright Futures provides information on what to expect as your baby grows, including parenting tips. Patient/parent education handouts are available for your child’s regular check-up visit with your healthcare provider from 2-5 days of age until 18-21 years of age.

Choose My Plate - Children over 5.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture provides information on health and nutrition for children over 5 years of age.

HealthyChildren.org
AAP's Healthy Children website provides information on feeding, nutrition, and fitness for all developmental stages from infancy to young adulthood. Visit this website to learn more about emotional problems, learning disabilities and other health and development concerns.

Just in Time Parenting (JITP)
Quality, research-based information to families at the time it can be most useful.

Let's Move-Parents
Five simple steps for parents towards creating a healthy environment at home.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
NHTSA has information on safety recalls and safety tips for children riding in motor vehicles, walking, biking, playing outside, waiting at school bus stops, and more.

StopBullying.gov
StopBullying.gov provides information from various government agencies on how kids, teens, young adults, parents, educators and others in the community can prevent or stop bullying.

SAMHSA's KnowBullying app
A free app for parents to help prevent bullying, created by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Agency (SAMHSA).

Teens Health
Visit this site for information on healthy eating and exercise for children and teenagers, safety tips for your child at home when you can’t be there, and other important health and safety topics.

CDC’s Parent Information (Teens 12— 19)
This site has information to help you learn how to guide your teen to be safe and become a healthy and productive adult.

CDC's Healthy Weight Information.
Tips for parents – Ideas to help children maintain a healthy weight.

CDC's Pregnancy Prevention for Teens.
Tips and information especially for teens and designed with input from teens.

American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry has many fact sheets for parents on child and adolescent health and development.

BAM! Body and Mind
CDC’s BAM! Body and Mind is a website designed for kids 9 through13 years of age, to give them the information they need to make healthy lifestyle choices. The site focuses on topics that kids told us are important to them—such as stress and physical fitness—using kid-friendly lingo, games, quizzes, and other interactive features.

Bright Futures
Bright Futures provides information on what to expect as your baby grows, including parenting tips. Patient/parent education handouts are available for your child’s regular check-up visit with your healthcare provider from 2-5 days of age until 18-21 years of age.

Choose My Plate
The U.S. Department of Agriculture provides information on health and nutrition.

HealthyChildren.org
AAP's Healthy Children website provides information on feeding, nutrition, and fitness for all developmental stages from infancy to young adulthood.

Just in Time Parenting (JITP)
Quality, research-based information to families at the time it can be most useful.

Let's Move-Kids
Five simple steps for kids towards growing up healthy.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
NHTSA has information on safety recalls and safety tips for children riding in motor vehicles, walking, biking, playing outside, waiting at school bus stops, and more.

National Institute of Mental Health
The National Institute of Mental Health has information on mental disorders affecting children and adolescents, including anxiety and depression.

StopBullying.gov
StopBullying.gov provides information from various government agencies on how kids, teens, young adults, parents, educators, and others in the community can prevent or stop bullying.

SAMHSA's KnowBullying app
A free app for parents to help prevent bullying, created by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Agency (SAMHSA).

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
SAMHSA works to improve the quality and availability of substance abuse prevention, alcohol and drug addiction treatment, and mental health services.

Teens Health
Visit this site for information on healthy eating and exercise for children and teenagers.

 



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