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Milestones for 9-Year-Olds

Children usually progress in a natural, predictable sequence from one developmental milestone to the next. But each child grows and gains skills at his or her own pace. Some children may be advanced in one area, such as language, but behind in another, such as sensory and motor development.

Milestones usually are grouped into five major areas: physical growth, cognitive development, emotional and social development, language development, and sensory and motor development.

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Physical growth and development

Most children by age 9:

  • Grow about 2.5 in. (6 cm) and gain about 7 lb (3 kg) in a year.
  • Start to show a growth pattern related to gender: girls are starting to get taller and weigh more than boys.
  • Lose about four baby teeth each year. These are replaced with permanent teeth.

Thinking and reasoning (cognitive development)

Most children by age 9:

  • Know that objects have uses and can be classified into different categories. For example, they recognize that a carrot is something to eat and is a type of vegetable.
  • Can read and understand longer sentences up to 12 words.
  • Can add and subtract 2-digit numbers, understand fractions, and are learning how to borrow and carry values.
  • Like organization and planning, such as making plans ahead of time with friends.
  • Think independently. Most children are improving their decision-making skills.
  • Can accomplish increasingly more complex tasks and projects in school, such as book reports.

Emotional and social development

Most children by age 9:

  • Recognize basic social norms and appropriate behavior.
  • Can control their anger most of the time.
  • Have caring, solid friendships.
  • Have gained a strong sense of empathy, which is understanding and being sensitive to the feelings of others.
  • Have more stable emotions than in the previous year. Mood swings may still occur, but not as frequently as before.
  • Have overcome most fears that were common in earlier childhood. But they often start having more anxiety from common stressful situations, such as school performance.
  • Are curious about relationships between boys and girls. Few will admit to this interest-most will insist that they are horrified by the opposite sex.

Language development

Most children by age 9:

  • Read frequently and enjoy books.
  • Often read with a goal of learning about something of interest.
  • Have speech patterns that are nearly at an adult level.

Sensory and motor development

Most children by age 9:

  • Enjoy active play, such as bike-riding, swimming, and running games (such as "tag").
  • Become increasingly interested in team sports.
  • Get dressed, brush hair, brush teeth, and get ready without any help.
  • Use simple tools, such as a hammer, by themselves.
  • Like to draw, paint, make jewelry, build models, or do other activities that use their fine motor skills.
By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical Reviewer Louis Pellegrino, MD - Developmental Pediatrics
Last Revised May 16, 2011

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: May 16, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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