growing_up_digital_644x362.jpgBrain Development

  • is eager to learn and master new skills
  • is proud of doing things well
  • is concerned about personal capabilities
  • has internalized standards of right and wrong to some degree
  • children are no longer learning to read but are reading to learn
  • 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


Inside the Brain

  • accelerated growth of the prefrontal cortex continues
  • organization for memory continues
  • the brain strengthens its ability to learn as myelination of fibres speeds associations between senses and ideas


Emotional Development

  • fluctuates between dependent child and independent pre-teen
  • becomes increasingly self-conscious
  • 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


Social Development

  • does not want to be "different"
  • confides constantly in best friend
  • seeks approval for being "good" from significant people
  • becomes preoccupied with the opposite sex
  • 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
  • relates to peer group intensely and abides by group decisions
  • succumbs to peer pressure more readily
  • continues to participate in small groups of same sex
  • can be fickle


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
  • is energetic and spirited
  • physical growth and development varies enormously among this age group
  • is usually awkward
  • strives to be physically fit
  • is fascinated with how the body works
  • continues to revel in bathroom humor
  • may be curious about drugs, alcohol, and tobacco

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.