nine_340x427.jpgBrain Development

  • is highly concerned about fairness
  • may be a perfectionist
  • uses reference books with increasing skill
  • becomes immersed in a hobby or project, then drops it for another
  • generally follows instructions
  • is developing personal standards of right and wrong
  • accelerated growth of the prefrontal cortex continues
  • organization for memory continues
  • organization and logic of thought increases
  • capable of concrete problem-solving
  • shows interest in reading fictional stories, magazines, and how-to books
  • may develop special interest in collections or hobbies
  • fantasizes and daydreams about the future
  • enjoys planning and organizing tasks
  • becomes more product and goal oriented
  • has great ideas and intentions but has difficulty following through
  • enjoys games with more complex rules
  • from 8-9 children learn best through positive feedback due to the development of their cognitive controls centre in the brain, meaning negative feedback, or learning from your mistakes, remains a challenge


Inside the Brain

  • the brain strengthens its ability to learn as myelination of fibres speeds associations between senses and ideas
  • some research suggests by age 8 or 9, synaptic growth in some areas of the brain will be limited compared to the early years and will continue to be throughout life
  • children are no longer learning to read but are reading to learn


Emotional Development

  • becomes self-absorbed and introspective
  • tends to be critical of self
  • begins to see that parents and authority figures can make mistakes and are not always right
  • often likes rules, rituals, secret codes and made-up languages
  • has better control of anger
  • shows interest in opposite sex by teasing, joking, showing off
  • tends to see things are right or wrong, with no room for difference of opinion
  • takes comfort in knowing others experience similar troubling feelings


Social Development

  • has ideas and interests independent from parents
  • does not like anything "different"
  • enjoys being a member of a club
  • has increased interest in competitive sports
  • may belittle or defy adult authority
  • prefers spending time with friends than with parents
  • may sometimes be verbally cruel to classmates with harsh ‘put downs’ and snide remarks
  • wants to talk, dress, and act just like friends
  • is involved in informal clubs and small groups of the same sex
  • begins to just sit and talk with friends


Physical Development

  • has increased body strength and hand dexterity
  • shows improved coordination and reaction time
  • girls are generally as much as two years ahead of boys in physical maturity
  • girls may begin to menstruate
  • acquires greater small muscle coordination
  • has increasing dexterity
  • favours active, highly charged games and sports
  • wants to excel in sports and recreational skills
  • becomes more interested in clothing and appearance
  • laughs at bathroom humor

As every child is unique and there is a wide range of what’s ‘normal’ at every age, it’s important to remember these lists are guidelines only. If you are concerned about your child’s development, see your doctor.

Sources: AboutKidsHealth, The Hospital for Sick Children, Health A-Z, Developmental Stages, Ontario Ministry of Child and Youth Services, Ontario Early Years Centres: A Place for Parents and Their Children,The Developing Brain: Birth to Age Eight, by Marilee Sprenger, Your Child’s Growing Mind: Brain Development and Learning from Birth to Adolescence, by Jane M. Healy, Ages and Stages, by Lesia Oesterreich, M.S.,extension human development specialist, Human Development and Family Studies, Iowa State University and “Learning from mistakes only happens after age 12, study suggests,” from Science Daily, Sept. 27, 2008.