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Steps and Stages: Nine through Eleven-Year-Olds

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Children of this age develop a sense of self and find it important to gain social acceptance and experience achievement. Friends become increasingly important. Secret codes, shared word meanings and made up languages, passwords and elaborate rituals are important ways to strengthen the bonds of friendship. Close friends are almost always of the same sex, although children in this age group
are usually increasingly interested in peers of the opposite sex.

Be prepared to use all your "patience" skills if caring for children this age, as they tend to think that they do not need any adult care or supervision. Yet, when they are left to care for themselves, they are lonely, unhappy, and sometimes frightened.

PHYSICAL DEVELOPMENT

- girls are generally as much as 2 years ahead of boys in physical
maturity
- girls may begin to menstruate
- increases body strength and hand dexterity
- improves coordination and reaction time

INTELLECTUAL DEVELOPMENT

- interested in reading fictional stories, magazines, and how-to project
books
- may develop special interest in collections or hobbies
- may be very interested in discussing a future career
- fantasizes and daydreams about the future
- capable of understanding concepts without having direct hands-on
experience

SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT

- begins to see parents and authority figures as fallible human beings
- rituals, rules, secret codes, and made-up languages are common
- enjoys being a member of a club
- increased interest in competitive sports
- outbursts of anger are less frequent
- may belittle or defy adult authority

Portions of this page made possible by the National Network for Child Care - NNCC.
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