9-Year-Old Child Development Milestones (2022)

If you have a 9-year-old at home, you may find yourself engaged in long, detailed conversations about saving the whales or whether there should be an additional day added to the weekend. You might feel happy and proud to see your child becoming more thoughtful about these types of issues, while also feeling a little overwhelmed by their passionate discussions about them.

Nine-year-olds are maturing emotionally and becoming more cognitively advanced. They are continuing to grow taller and stronger and they may be mentally ready to excel in sports and other physical activities. But don't be surprised when they suddenly become tired, moody, or change interests day-to-day. Age 9 can be a bit of a roller coaster, and we are here to help guide you through it.

9-Year-Old Child Development Milestones (1)

9-Year-Old Language and Cognitive Milestones

At 9 years old, you'll continue to witness lots of language growth in your child as well as cognitive developments. Let's break them down.

Adult-Like Speech

By age 9, the baby-talk of earlier years is mostly gone. Nine-year-olds can mostly speak with the same grammatical patterns as adults, and people who don't know your child well will generally be able to understand them. "At this age, children gain the ability to verbalize feelings and emotions clearly to others," says Liza Tibayan, a curriculum and implementation specialist at Stratford School.

You can encourage your child's development in this area by reading aloud to them and spending time talking with them.

More Sophisticated Literacy Abilities

You may find yourself more interested in reading your child's homework assignments at this age. Nine-year-olds can effectively express themselves in writing. In the early elementary grades, children are still mastering the ability to form words and sentences. By 9, you will see that your child has a more sophisticated ability to put complete thoughts or feelings on paper.

Your child may spend more time combing the shelves at the library and you may find them staying up late to read the next chapter of their book. You can expect your 9-year-old child to be able to read different types of fictional and non-fictional works, including biographies, poems, historical fiction, suspenseful series, and more.

In fourth grade, your child may also be expected to produce varioustypes of writingincluding book reports, essays, fiction, and historical fiction. Nine-year-olds will be able to use research material from the library and the internet to gather information for reports on various subjects including historical events and figures.

Increased Attention Span

Whether it’s reading suspenseful books, playing baseball, or finding out all they can about the world of "Star Wars," your child will pursue their interests with diligence and focus. They will want to work on a subject, topic, or a particular part of the curriculum until they become skilled and master it.

Your child's fascination with fossils and prehistoric life may suddenly fizzle out as they become interested in baking projects or drawing their own cartoons. While 9-year-olds have longer attention spans, they also shift their interests rather quickly.

Mastery of More Complex Mathematical Concepts

Math becomes much more complicated in thefourth grade. Nine-year-old children will tackle multiplication and division of multiple digits and start learning about fractions and geometry. They will learn how to make graphs and charts using data and will work on word problems that require analytical and logical thinking.

(Video) What to expect 7-9 year olds

By the end of fourth grade, 9-year-old children will know how to add and subtract fractions, know about different angles and how to measure them, and be able to collect, organize, and share data in reports and presentations.

Spatial Intelligence

Nine-year-olds begin to understand the concept of space in a more abstract way. They are better able to visualize objects in space and they can draw conclusions about where an object will be or what it will look like from a different perspective. Following lego building set instructions, playing games like Tetris, or completing spatial awareness puzzles can help your child build their spatial intelligence.

9-Year-Old Movement, Hand, and Finger Milestones

Nine-year-olds are continuing to develop physically. Both their gross and fine motor skills are becoming more precise. Following are some of the milestones you will see in this area.

Refined Fine Motor Ability

Children continue to refine their fine motor skills at 9 years old. "Writing becomes faster, smaller, and more fluid," notes Tibayan.

Kids at this age will generally fasten snaps, buttons, and zippers with ease, and they are able to dress and groom themselves. "If they haven't already, by 9, children can get dressed and brush their teeth without any help, in part due to their improved finger ability," notes Pierrette Mimi Poinsett, MD, a pediatrician and medical consultant at Mom Loves Best.

At this age, children may enjoy utilizing their refined hand abilities by working with tools like a hammer or a screwdriver, sewing, or drawing detailed images with a pencil. "Many 9-year-olds are also able to engage in painting, model building, and jewelry making," says Dr. Poinsett.

More Graceful Gross Motor Ability

Nine-year-olds generally grow stronger and more coordinated. They have had time to perfect their gross motor skills, such as jumping, skipping, or running, and you may now see a new ability to move more gracefully and purposely. "Enhanced coordination and improved fine-motor skills leads to more enjoyment of active play such as swimming and playing tag," notes Tibayan.

At this age, kids may be ready to excel in activities like gymnastics, ice skating, or basketball. "I see 9-year-olds showing a newly-gained interest in physical games such as jump rope, softball, and soccer," notes Dr. Poinsett. Their improved cognitive functions also allow them to make rapid decisions required to play team sports skillfully.

10-Year-Old Child Development Milestones

9-Year-Old Emotional and Social Milestones

As 9-year-olds mature, you will see significant changes in their emotional awareness and how they relate to their peers. Let's take a look at how your child may develop emotionally and socially at this age.

(Video) Development During Middle Childhood

Anxiety

Your 9-year-old may no longer ask you to check for monsters under the bed, but instead, they may express concerns about things like crime, storms, or anxieties about a parent dying one day. Children at this age become more aware of real-world dangers and disasters. Fears about realistic events may replace fears they had as younger kids.

These kinds of anxieties are generally a common part of development. But if your child seems excessively anxious or has physical symptoms such as frequent stomach aches, reach out to their pediatrician.

Developing Sense of Justice

Your 9-year-old might become emotionally invested in the plight of an endangered species or show interest in donating to a food bank. As their reasoning skills advance and they are more able to put themselves in others' shoes, their sense of justice begins to arise.

This milestone is key in developing a greater moral sense of empathy, so try to validate your child's concerns and discuss the different ways that people can make a difference.

Sense of Identity

Many 9-year-olds will have a strong desire to belong to a group and establish their place within the social order of their school. They may enjoy being a part of groups like scouts or sports teams. "Nine-year-olds can form solid friendships," notes Dr. Poinsett. "They are sensitive to the feelings of others as they develop empathy."

While most 9-year-olds will want to expand their social circles, they will still seek refuge with family if ever they feel insecure. At 9, children are still greatly influenced by their parents.

Plays More With the Opposite Sex

During the early elementary years, children tend to play with kids who are the same sex as them. Around age 9, many children will begin to interact more with children who are of a different sex. Around the same time, many children may experience their first romantic feelings, although they will tend to keep this information to themselves.

Other Key Milestones

  • Nine-year-old children can recognize that different people have different perspectives and may see a situation differently.
  • They may be moody, and may be upset one minute and then fine the next.
  • They can work cooperatively toward shared goals.
  • They are better at communicating needs and wants in socially appropriate ways.

7-Year-Old Child Development Milestones

(Video) School-Age Stage of Child Development from 6 years old through 12 years old.

Other Milestones for Your 9-Year-Old

Many 9-year-olds are not quite to puberty yet, but some may start to mature physically. Girls are more likely to start puberty by now than boys. Girls may develop breasts or start to grow pubic hair. Boys' testes may enlarge, thicken, and redden.

If your 9-year-old starts puberty on the earlier side, they may feel self-conscious if it is something that others might notice. For instance, girls may hit a growth spurt and be much taller than their peers. This may draw unwanted comments from other kids or adults. And if your child begins to develop breasts, they may feel embarrassed if most of their peers have not.

Validate your child's feelings on their developing body and help them to feel as comfortable as possible. That might mean going shopping for a training bra, or it might mean allowing them to wear looser clothing if that's what they prefer. Following your child's lead and respecting their need for privacy will help them feel self-confident as they experience physical and emotional changes.

How to Help Your 9-Year-Old Learn and Grow

Help your 9-year-old thrive by encouraging developmentally appropriate routines and activities. "Make sure your child spends at least an hour a day engaged in physical activities," says Dr. Poinsett.

Reading aloud to your child is still important at this age to promote literacy and language skills. Requiring your child to read independently each day, while allowing them to choose their reading material, will help foster a love of books.

Children of this age also tend to crave a certain level of organization in their life and will often keep track of their daily activities and schedules. They will still need 10 to 11 hours of sleep per night, but it may be more difficult to enforce an earlier bedtime. It may be helpful to allow some freedom, such as allowing your child to read in bed if they aren't tired.

Nine is a great age to take advantage of your child’s growing social awareness. Social service projects that help others or that support the environment can be great ways to help kids feel like they can contribute to society.

It’s also a good time to start talking about puberty, regardless of where your child is in the process. Talking openly about what changes your child can expect can make the transition easier.

How to Keep Your 9-Year-Old Safe

Nine-year-olds are becoming more mature but they still need to have clear safety rules in place. Here are a few things to enforce at this age.

Car Seat Safety

You may be surprised to learn that your 9-year-old still needs a car seat. Many children have not reached the height of 4 feet 9 inches required to ride without a booster seat at this point. If they have, they should still ride in the back seat and always wear a seat belt.

Helmet and Gear

Nine-year-olds may enjoy riding bikes or scooters, as well as activities like rollerskating or skateboarding. At this age, kids are becoming more coordinated, but they should still always wear a helmet while riding. They should also wear any protective gear that is made for the sport or activity they are participating in.

(Video) The stages of development of an 8 years old child.

When You Aren't With Your Child

Nine-year-olds may want to spend more time with friends for long periods of time as they become more independent and their peer group grows in importance. Whenever you are not supervising your child, it is important to know where they are and ensure a responsible adult is present.

You should always know where to find your child and have a way to contact one another. If your 9-year-old spends time at home alone or with siblings, set ground rules for what they can and cannot do while the adults are away.

Do You Understand the Latest Car Seat Guidelines?

When to Be Concerned

All children develop at slightly different rates. If your child is a little behind in one area or another, there’s a good chance they'll catch up soon.

But if your child seems to be missing important developmental milestones, it’s important to seek professional help. Early intervention is key to addressing developmental delays and learning disabilities.

Most children are stronger in some areas academically than others. If your child is having a tough time in a particular subject, it may be appropriate to supplement school instruction with tutoring or extra homework help. If your child is truly struggling, it is possible that they have a learning disability that makes higher-level academics more challenging.

If your child is struggling to make friends or has trouble managing emotions, talk to their pediatrician. Social skills deficits and mental health issues can grow worse over time if left unaddressed.

What Parents Need to Know About Free Tutoring

A Word From Verywell

Nine years old is a special time as your child stands on the cusp of childhood and early adolescence. Kids this age are interesting, passionate, and curious about why things are the way they are. You may be frustrated yet proud when they challenge your authority and their points actually sound pretty valid. Perhaps the greatest thing about parenting kids at this age is the moment you realize that they are teaching you something new for the first time.

FAQs

What milestones should a 9 year old have? ›

Your 9-year-old may be more coordinated and get better at things like kicking, throwing, catching, and showing balance. Some kids will take a leap forward in sports like soccer, baseball, or basketball. They also may start to see themselves as athletic or unathletic.

What stage of cognitive development is a 9 year old? ›

Named by the Swiss developmental psychologist Jean Piaget, the concrete operational period (as it is called) is the stage during which children begin applying logic and reasoning to concrete events.

What do you think are the general physical characteristics of children aged 9 to 12 years? ›

PHYSICAL DEVELOPMENT

Most young people ages nine to 12 will: Experience a growth spurt with significant weight gain, muscle growth, and genital maturation (Growth spurt begins earlier for girls; lasts longer for boys, who end up taller).

What do kids do at the age of 9? ›

Sensory and motor development

Most children by age 9: Enjoy active play, such as bike-riding, swimming, and running games (like "tag"). Become increasingly interested in team sports. Get dressed, brush their hair, brush their teeth, and get ready without any help.

How developed is the brain at 9 years? ›

At this stage, children typically:

Develop critical and abstract thinking skills. Develop their own games with complicated rules. Become skilled in reading, writing and use of oral language. Begin to express creative skills through writing, acting, inventing and designing.

How can I improve my 9 year old's cognitive skills? ›

10 Ideas for a Family Fresh Start: Improve Cognitive Skills
  1. Play Outside. Outdoor playtime has been shown as a particularly effective way to improve cognition in kids. ...
  2. Go on Field Trips. ...
  3. Put on Music. ...
  4. Learn Shapes and Colors. ...
  5. Ask a Lot of Questions. ...
  6. Encourage Help With Chores. ...
  7. Do Art Projects. ...
  8. Look in the Mirror.

Which is typical of a 9 year olds language skills? ›

Their language skills are becoming more abstract and complex. Children are also beginning to read and write more difficult sentences than they typcially use in their conversatons. Analytical skills and other complex organization skills are aquired and children use speech and language for many social purposes.

What is a 9 year old considered? ›

Middle Childhood (9-11 years of age)

What time should a 9 year old go to bed? ›

Sleep: what children need

need
June 2015. The term information need is often understood as an individual or group's desire to locate and obtain information to satisfy a conscious or unconscious need. Rarely mentioned in general literature about needs, it is a common term in information science.
https://en.wikipedia.org › wiki › Information_needs


At 5-11 years, children need 9-11 hours sleep a night. For example, if your child wakes for school at 7 am and needs approximately 10 hours sleep per night, your child should be in bed before 9 pm. Some children fall deeply asleep very quickly when they go to bed.

What happens at a 9 year old physical? ›

This will include listening to the heart and lungs, look at the back for any curvature of the spine, and checking for the signs of puberty. A parent, caregiver, or chaperone should be present during this part of the exam. Siblings should stay in the waiting room to give your child privacy.

What social skills have children learned by the age of nine or ten? ›

At this stage, children will exhibit many of these characteristics: Learn to cooperate in group settings and group games; dislike playing alone. Spend a lot of time talking with peers. Develop lasting friendships and begin to handle peer pressure.

How much does a 9 year old grow? ›

Kids tend to get taller at a pretty steady pace, growing about 2.5 inches (6 to 7 centimeters) each year. When it comes to weight, kids gain about 4–7 lbs. (2–3 kg) per year until puberty starts. This is also a time when kids start to have feelings about how they look and how they're growing.

What can 9 year olds do at home? ›

Fun learning activities for 9-year-olds
  • Action games. Play paper and pencil games such as Call My Bluff and Categories. ...
  • Keep reading together. Children aged 9 still enjoy being read to and it's a great way to develop their vocabulary and listening skills. ...
  • Maths games. ...
  • Cook together.

How long can a 9 year old focus? ›

4 years old: 8-12 minutes. 5-6 years old: 12-18 minutes. 7–8 years old: 16-24 minutes. 9–10 years old: 20-30 minutes.

At what age does 100% of the brain fully develop? ›

Brain Maturity Extends Well Beyond Teen Years Under most laws, young people are recognized as adults at age 18. But emerging science about brain development suggests that most people don't reach full maturity until the age 25.

How many brain cells does a 9 year old have? ›

Roughly 100 billion. The number of brain cells a child will have and develope into adulthood is hereditary.

How can I boost my 9 year olds self esteem? ›

How Parents Can Build Self-Esteem
  1. Help your child learn to do things. At every age, there are new things for kids to learn. ...
  2. When teaching kids how to do things, show and help them at first. ...
  3. Praise your child, but do it wisely. ...
  4. Be a good role model. ...
  5. Ban harsh criticism. ...
  6. Focus on strengths. ...
  7. Let kids help and give.

How do I increase my 9 year olds attention span? ›

Improve your Child's Attention Span
  1. Provide A Balanced Breakfast. ...
  2. Consider the Feingold diet. ...
  3. Limit Television And Video Games. ...
  4. Teach Self Talk Skills. ...
  5. Find Out What Interests Your Child. ...
  6. Promote A Strong Physical Education Program In The School. ...
  7. Enrol Your Child In A Martial Art Class.

Why is my 9 year old so disrespectful? ›

Disrespectful behavior often comes down to kids having poor problem-solving skills and a lack of knowledge about how to be more respectful as they pull away. Often when kids separate from you they do it all wrong before they learn how to do it right.

How do you discipline a 9 year old who won t listen? ›

Discipline: Top Do's and Don'ts When Your Kids Won't Listen
  • Don't view discipline as punishment. Discipline may feel as though you're punishing your kids. ...
  • Do find opportunities for praise. ...
  • Do set limits and keep them. ...
  • Do be specific. ...
  • You're their parent, not their buddy.
1 Apr 2021

Why is my 9 year old so angry? ›

Anger issues in kids can be caused by conditions like autism, ADHD, anxiety or learning disorders. Kids with these conditions often have meltdowns around school or homework or when they don't want to do something. The good news is that children can learn skills to help them control their feelings.

Is it normal for 9 year olds to talk to themselves? ›

According to child psychologists, it's common for young kids to talk aloud to themselves as they go about their day—and it shouldn't be judged as being weird or negative in any way.

Is 9 years old still a kid? ›

Around 9 to 12 years old, your child will enter their “tween” years. Also called pre-teenagers, tweens are at the age where they're leaving childhood and entering adolescence. With the onset of puberty during this stage, your child will experience a great number of changes and perhaps you as well as a parent.

How many words do 9 year olds know? ›

I've seen a number of different statistics cited in the literature; Nagy & Scott (2000) report that children learn between 2,000-3,000 words per year. Others have cited that kids can learn up to 5,000 per year (Miller & Gildea, 1987).

What age should a child go to bed on their own? ›

Experts generally recommend around the age of 3 is when children are capable of self-soothing and can move to independent sleeping.

Is 10 hours sleep enough for a 9 year old? ›

How much sleep does a kid need

need
June 2015. The term information need is often understood as an individual or group's desire to locate and obtain information to satisfy a conscious or unconscious need. Rarely mentioned in general literature about needs, it is a common term in information science.
https://en.wikipedia.org › wiki › Information_needs
? School-aged children (5 to 12 years old) need 9 to 12 hours of sleep each night, says pediatric sleep specialist Vaishal Shah, MD.

Should you go to bed at 9? ›

If your school or work schedule requires you to be up between 5:00 and 7:00 a.m., these are the suggested bedtimes: School-age children should go to bed between 8:00 and 9:00 p.m. Teens should try to go to bed between 9:00 and 10:00 p.m. Adults should try to go to sleep between 10:00 and 11:00 p.m.

What should a 9 year old know about puberty? ›

Kids should know these things about puberty: Girls become more rounded, especially in the hips and legs. Girls' breasts begin to swell and then grow, sometimes one faster than the other. Girls and boys get pubic hair and underarm hair, and their leg hair becomes thicker and darker.

What can a 9 year old do when bored? ›

101 exciting things to do with kids ages 9-12
  1. Set up easels and paint pictures outdoors.
  2. Visit your local science museum.
  3. Learn how to knot friendship bracelets.
  4. Go to a coffee shop and write poetry.
  5. Put on an impromptu play.
  6. Put together a scavenger hunt.
  7. Bake a loaf of homemade bread.
  8. Build and launch a model rocket.
9 Jun 2022

How much should a 9 year old? ›

Main Digest
Babies to Teens Height to Weight Ratio Table
8 Years57.0 lb (25.85 kg)50.5" (128.2 cm)
9 Years62.0 lb (28.12 kg)52.5" (133.3 cm)
10 Years70.5 lb (31.98 kg)54.5" (138.4 cm)
11 Years81.5 lb (36.97 kg)56.7" (144 cm)
100 more rows
30 Nov 2017

What are the 9 cognitive skills? ›

Cognitive Skills
  • Sustained Attention. Allows a child to stay focused on a single task for long periods of time.
  • Selective Attention. ...
  • Divided Attention. ...
  • Long-Term Memory. ...
  • Working Memory. ...
  • Logic and Reasoning. ...
  • Auditory Processing. ...
  • Visual Processing.

Is there a growth spurt at 9 years old? ›

A major growth spurt happens at the time of puberty, usually between 8 to 13 years of age in girls and 10 to 15 years in boys. Puberty lasts about 2 to 5 years.

How much do girls grow after 9? ›

For most girls, puberty occurs between 8 and 13 years old and the growth spurt occurs between 10 and 14 years old. They grow just 1 to 2 additional inches in the year or two after getting their first period. This is when they reach their adult height.

What should a 9 year old know about puberty? ›

Kids should know these things about puberty: Girls become more rounded, especially in the hips and legs. Girls' breasts begin to swell and then grow, sometimes one faster than the other. Girls and boys get pubic hair and underarm hair, and their leg hair becomes thicker and darker.

What time should a 9 year old go to bed? ›

Sleep: what children need

need
June 2015. The term information need is often understood as an individual or group's desire to locate and obtain information to satisfy a conscious or unconscious need. Rarely mentioned in general literature about needs, it is a common term in information science.
https://en.wikipedia.org › wiki › Information_needs


At 5-11 years, children need 9-11 hours sleep a night. For example, if your child wakes for school at 7 am and needs approximately 10 hours sleep per night, your child should be in bed before 9 pm. Some children fall deeply asleep very quickly when they go to bed.

How do I know if my 9 year old is gifted? ›

Characteristics of Gifted Children
  1. High level of intensity. ...
  2. Enjoys learning; rapid learner. ...
  3. Depth of perception. ...
  4. Keen sense of observation and extraordinary memory. ...
  5. Sophisticated language and thought process. ...
  6. Ability to recognize more options. ...
  7. Dislikes repeating or practicing something they already know. ...
  8. Perfectionist.

Is hitting puberty at 9 normal? ›

The average age for girls to start puberty is 11, while for boys the average age is 12. But it's perfectly normal for puberty to begin at any point between the ages of 8 and 13 in girls and 9 and 14 in boys.

How do I deal with my 9 year old daughter attitude? ›

How Should I Discipline A Tween for Attitude Problems?
  1. Watch your own tone. Think about how you tend to talk when you're angry or stressed. ...
  2. Use natural consequences. ...
  3. Offer a chance for a “do-over.” Sometimes, preteens don't even realize that they're not using a great tone of voice. ...
  4. Pick your battles.
16 Jul 2020

What age should a child go to bed on their own? ›

Experts generally recommend around the age of 3 is when children are capable of self-soothing and can move to independent sleeping.

Is 10 hours sleep enough for a 9 year old? ›

How much sleep does a kid need

need
June 2015. The term information need is often understood as an individual or group's desire to locate and obtain information to satisfy a conscious or unconscious need. Rarely mentioned in general literature about needs, it is a common term in information science.
https://en.wikipedia.org › wiki › Information_needs
? School-aged children (5 to 12 years old) need 9 to 12 hours of sleep each night, says pediatric sleep specialist Vaishal Shah, MD.

Should you go to bed at 9? ›

If your school or work schedule requires you to be up between 5:00 and 7:00 a.m., these are the suggested bedtimes: School-age children should go to bed between 8:00 and 9:00 p.m. Teens should try to go to bed between 9:00 and 10:00 p.m. Adults should try to go to sleep between 10:00 and 11:00 p.m.

How does a gifted child behave? ›

They often are aware of their own impulsiveness and irrationality, and they show emotional sensitivity. They are extremely curious about objects, ideas, situations, or events. They often display intellectual playfulness and like to fantasize and imagine.

Are gifted children born or made? ›

The research shows that while children are born with the potential to be gifted, the environment and nurture plays an important role in developing those innate abilities. In fact, researchers estimate conservatively that environmental influences can add 20-40 points on measured intelligence.

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2. What is the most important influence on child development | Tom Weisner | TEDxUCLA
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