Child Growth Stages: 9-10 Years

Your pediatricians will help you prepare for your 9 to 10-year-old's developmental stage. This is the time when your child may feel caught between being "a little kid" and a teenager: Too old to play with dolls but too young to wear makeup. Your child is heading into the "Tween" stage.

Body image issues arise during this age. Now is the time to prepare your 9-to-10 year old for puberty. Puberty in girls can begin as early as age 8 or as late as age 12. In boys, the onset of puberty can begin around age 9 through 14. Remember that all children in this age range develop differently so it is best to discuss with your child what physical changes he or she can expect, in themselves as well as other children their age. If you're not sure what to expect, have this discussion with your pediatrician.

A strong sense of self-esteem will be absolutely necessary at this age to help your child resist negative peer pressure. Although as parents, you are still your child's role models, there are new role models on the horizon. Therefore, it is more important than ever to know your child's friends and their friends' parents. At this age, children become emotionally attached to friends: Friendships with children that aren't appropriate role models or that have a negative influence on your child are best dealt with early. You'll also notice during this age that your child may develop a crush as well as a strong sense of what is right and wrong. Your child could overreact to what he or she perceives to be unfair or unjust.

Talk to your pediatricians about your child's activities, whether those activities are sports, gymnastics or dance. You'll notice that, at this age, your child has a wide range of physical abilities, increased body control and motor skills, speed, strength, coordination, balance and endurance. Some children will excel in competition while others may simply enjoy team play for fun. Safety is still an issue however, so helmets, knee and/or elbow pads should be required for biking, skating and sports that include swinging a stick (street hockey, softball, baseball, and lacrosse).

Until a child is tall enough to sit comfortably in a seatbelt, the back seat is the safest place to sit. It is quite possible that your child, depending on height, should still be using a booster seat. Airbags are painful to an adult when they deploy, leaving skin abrasions, even bruises, and feel very much like a punch in the face. Airbags can cause serious injury to a child so even though a fender-bender may not sound dangerous, injury from airbags can and will occur to a child sitting in the front seat.

You may not need to discuss your child's personal hygiene with your pediatricians. Your child has reached the age where constant supervision isn't necessary but checking up won't cause the world to end. Gentle reminders to wash behind the ears, armpits and groin area may be necessary from time to time. Personal experience teaches that some boys this age may require a thorough search for tell-tale signs of having actually used soap and water after spending thirty minutes in the bathroom. Don't be fooled by the sound of running water or his damp hair. Once your son understands that frequent spot checks by Mom or Dad - under the arms, around the neck, behind the ears and between the toes - equates to more time spent in the bathroom actually bathing might be just the solution to getting him to cleanse the first time. Dental care will be very important around 9-to-10 years old since this is when most children require braces. Your child will continue to lose baby teeth and grow permanent replacements so keep the dental appointments.

For more valuable suggestions on your 9-to-10-year-old child's growth stage, be sure to download and print our parent handout for 9-to-10-year-olds and don't hesitate to ask your pediatrician at Northwest Pediatrics during your child's 9-to-10 Year Development visit.

If you need a pediatrician, contact Northwest Pediatrics for well-care and immunizations. Our pediatricians share in the medical care of all patients. You may contact us with questions or stay up to date with your child's development by subscribing to our newsletter.