Children grow and change every year. This piece, written by the experts at Open Doors, is meant to help map out what to expect, and suggest ways to help them thrive as they meet new challenges mentally, physically, emotionally and socially.
How Their Minds Are Growing
Nine to eleven year olds are building their abstract thinking skills and enjoy reasoning. This will often emerge when you are arguing with them about rules and expectations.
Many are able to organize and plan more effectively, they are proud of this ability, and look for opportunities to use it in their everyday life.
They begin to imagine their future, and what they may become or do.
They have a sense of what is fair and what is needed to make groups and group activities work smoothly.
They enjoy complexity in games and verbal exchanges.
They show empathy, and build loyal friendships with peers.
How Their Bodies Are Growing
Girls are generally as much as two years ahead of boys in physical maturity, and a few may begin to menstruate. This can cause great unease and deserves a parent’s calm and quiet care and support.
How Their Social And Emotional Selves Are Growing
At this age, kids begin to see that parents and authority figures can make mistakes, too. They sometimes use this awareness in arguments, simply a part of developing autonomy and sense of worth. We can help by respecting their opinions.
Romantic interest is often shown through teasing, but social groups and friends become increasingly important.
Looking After Their Mental Health
At this age, behaviour is still the main way that your child will communicate any distress. Look for connections.
9-11 year olds feel discomfort if they sense criticism from peers. Watch for withdrawal from groups or loss of interest in activities.
Children (especially boys) who struggle at school may feel discouraged and decide school is not for them. Watch for learning problems that need attention.
Girls who enter puberty at this age feel vulnerable and may not have social supports to help them manage. They need extra support, and to be treated according to their real age— adults must remember they are still kids at heart.
Children who seem to be worriers, or have a lot of fears are now at an age where they can build skills that help them challenge and tame those worries.
With every new stage in a child’s life, we have to rethink our approach to parenting, so we help our children and ourselves master new challenges. At Open Doors, we can help you make sure you get advice and support to help your family thrive through all stages of growth and change.Here’s how to get in touch with us: Carleton Place Office 40 Bennett Street 613-257-8260 Perth Office (By appointment only) 613-264-1415 Smiths Falls Office 88 Cornelia Street W. 613-283-8260 Toll Free 1-877-232-8260 www.opendoors.on.ca