Ask many seasoned parents and they will tell you that the age of nine seems to be when things start to shift and their child seems to be leaving childhood behind and looking forward to the upcoming years of adolescence. These days, nine is considered the beginning of the “tween” years, the place where children launch into puberty. Although every child is an individual and each person develops according to his or her own individuality and developmental time-table, there are some developmental stages and achievements that are typical for the nine-year-old. Here are some of the typical things you can expect from a nine:
Nine-year-olds are awakening to the realities of the world on a rapidly-changing basis. This is the age where a lot of the last vestiges of magical thinking and imaginative play are left behind. Parents may notice a moodiness or crabbiness where there was once a light-hearted child. It may seem your nine-year-old is critical of everyone and everything – including himself. This is all very typical.
It may seem a paradox, by as your child is becoming increasingly aware of his separateness and independence from parents and family, he also wants very much to be like all of his peers. He will not want to be “different” and belonging to a group can be very important to a nine-year-old. It can sometimes be hard for parents to see their unique little creature suddenly trying to walk, talk, dress and act like “everyone.” Clothes and appearance may become important for the first time around the age of nine. This is quite normal social development.
Some kids may enter a growth spurt around the age of nine, while others may wait a year of so. Still others will grow in sporadic bursts for the next few years. A nine-year-old may start to feel a little klutzy, but will likely still enjoy energetic and boisterous physical games. Small motor skills seem to see a burst in development around the age of nine as well. Children this age may take up a hobby or start to show passions and interests in specific subjects.
Doing well at school and sports may also become important to a nine-year-old, and a child this age may start to show signs of perfectionism and/or procrastination as he or she focuses on outcome rather than enjoying the “process” as he or she has in early childhood.
Nine can be a bumpy year for parents, but it is really just a little bounce before the onset of adolescence. Overall, children this age will be quite able to manage their own physical care and showing increased signs of responsibility and the ability to follow directions.