As a parent, it’s important to understand the typical development of your children at certain stages of their lives. There are several great resources to find the general developmental expectations for different age groups. Here are some of the most important skills your child should have developed by age 5, age 9, and age 11.

By Age Five,

Experts who study Kindergarten readiness, and understand what it takes for your child to move out of the toddler stage and into school, generally share that your child should be very comfortable with many foundational developmental skills. They should be able to jump, climb, and dance and should show enjoyment during these activities. They should also have control over moving their body at a slow or fast pace with ease. As far as their cognitive abilities, you should notice your child becoming more independent. For example, your child should begin dressing and bathing themselves, their drawings should start to resemble reality, etc. For their language abilities, your child should be able to express ideas, opinions, and feelings and should be able to describe pictures and short stories. Socially, your child should enjoy engaging in group activities and games and they should be able to recognize and understand the rules of games. They should be able to accept the feelings of others, and friendships should start to become important to them. They should also begin developing a sense of self-worth and recognize themselves as a unique, capable being. Lastly, your 5-year-old may begin to develop an appreciation for art, such as music and painting – or generally begin to decide which activities they prefer over others.

At 9 years old,

Children begin to become more socially independent from their family at this stage. This is where having a strong sense of self-worth will be extremely important for your child. If they have a strong self-image, they will have a solid set of values and feel confident when making decisions about who they want to become friends with and what sort of behaviors they will or will not tolerate. A sense of responsibility should be encouraged by creating opportunities for appropriate responsibilities.  This will create a balanced development for your child. As far as skills, you should begin to notice that your child understands the challenges that come with school. They should be able to comprehend when reading and writing longer sentences, and understand fractions and other arithmetic operations. As you give them more responsibility, their decision-making capacity should be evident, and you should notice that they do not allow themselves to be pressured by others. Children at this age should start to learn how to manage their own behavior and should be able to differentiate right from wrong with less help from parents. Childhood fears should absolve if previously present, but you may notice that your child has a degree of anxiety in new situations. They should be able to set and achieve their own goals, again with some help from adults. Finally, you should notice that they are curious about their life experiences and they begin building relationships with others.

At about 11 YEARS OLD,

Your child should start to become more independently organized. You should notice that a lot of the things your child is learning at this age are no longer things that you can help them with, but rather long-term learning that you support them to do on their own. For example, learning their certain abilities and strengths. Their increased intellectual ability that they should display at this age should allow them to have a better memory and better reading comprehension skills. They should have a significant increase in abstract thinking and hypothetical reasoning. This will allow them to develop more complicated, mentally challenging skills.

Children at this age should be able to create unique ideas that go from being abstract to being explored in detail. Through this exploration, they should develop a good understanding of a wide array of disciplines. It is here that we see children with a heightened sense of self-worth and there may be new challenges with learning, or you may notice that they really excel in one subject or another. At this stage, many children begin to believe that if they have difficulty in a particular area of learning that they will never overcome it. Your child will begin to develop a deeper sense of empathy and of their own feelings. Emotions during this stage will continue to be slightly exaggerated. Therefore, guidance from parents continues to be very valuable and

necessary. Friends become more important than ever around this age, and you should notice that your child has a desire to be in direct contact with their friends even outside of school. Friends will play an important role in personal and social development. It is a vital responsibility of the parent to instill in their child that any amount of success in school and with relationships requires constant and consistent effort. If the child can grasp that concept at this point in their life, they will have a very strong sense of ability and work ethic to carry with them as they continue to develop.

To ensure that you are staying on top of your child’s development, you can utilize a government funded website that will give you new expectations and guidelines to follow every two months. Sign up for a subscription at www.acf.hhs.gov.

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