Your Daughter at 11: Milestones

Medically Reviewed by Amita Shroff, MD on July 05, 2023
4 min read

At age 11, your daughter may already be going through a growth spurt and starting puberty. If not, you probably don’t have long to wait. Hang on -- things are changing rapidly.

They’re likely to stand somewhere between 4 and 5 feet tall at this age. Their weight will probably be somewhere between 70 and 100 pounds. But at this age, your daughter has likely entered puberty and is at the peak of a growth spurt. They might grow as much as 4 inches a year during this time.

Their breasts have likely started to develop and they are probably beginning to get both pubic hair and underarm hair. Some girls this age will have their first menstrual period. In general, the taller and heavier a girl is, the earlier puberty will occur.

As they grow, your daughter will likely gain body fat as part of puberty. They might start to get pimples. At the same time, your daughter may still be getting some of their permanent teeth -- particularly the ones toward the back.

During this time, your daughter needs at least an hour of physical activity a day and should be getting 9 to 11 hours of sleep a night.

Time spent watching television or playing with electronic devices should be limited to 2 hours a day or less.

To fuel this growth spurt, their diet should be high in fruit and vegetables and lower in fats, added sugar, and salt. It also should include as much as 3 cups of low-fat or nonfat dairy products a day.

At 11, your daughter’s brain is still developing. They can grasp abstract concepts and is starting to understand shades of gray in the world, rather than seeing things in black and white. But they may not fully understand all the consequences of their actions yet.

Their academic performance may be uneven, and their interests could shift, even though their attention span is longer. They may start learning mathematical concepts like variables, ratios, and negative numbers, and start reading books that are more challenging. They might also be reading or writing independently.

Your daughter will also be developing their ability to think logically and solve problems systematically. They should be able to understand and consider others’ points of view.

They should understand how their behavior affects others and have a sense of what’s right and wrong. However, the emotional ups and downs of adolescence may disrupt this process from time to time.

At 11, your daughter will likely start spending more time with friends and less time with your family. They may start to assert their own identity and push back against your authority, leading to potential conflicts.

At this age, friendships may be based more on shared values and trust rather than just common interests. Having friends among their peers can help them navigate the emotional ups and downs of adolescence. Romantic interest in others might start to emerge around this time.

They might also become more self-conscious about their body at this age and the new awareness they all have at this age. It is important to reassure your daughter that age and progression of puberty is a spectrum and genetics is important. Some of the new awareness is going to be a natural result of the changes they’re undergoing. But sometimes, these concerns can lead to problems like eating disorders and body image issues.

Your daughter might start trying to emphasize their individuality by changing how they dress, what they listen to, watch or read, or how they look. Their friends may offer them a friendly environment to try out new ideas.

However, some girls this age will start to experiment with riskier things, such as substance abuse, smoking, sex, or self-harm. You should discuss the dangers involved in these behaviors with your daughter. If you haven’t talked about sex yet, maybe it’s time. 

With the everywhereness of social media - from TikTok to Instagram - your daughter may already be exposed to sex. The American Psychological Association recommends monitoring social media use among 10- to 14-year-olds, because of the brain development during this age period and due to an immature level of self-control that isn’t fully developed until adulthood.

Make sure that social media use is based on your child's maturity level, knowing that age-appropriateness varies based on self-regulation skills, intellectual development, comprehension of risks, and home environment. 

At your daughter’s annual medical checkup, your doctor should examine:

  • Their height and weight
  • Their physical development, including signs of puberty (you should feel free to be present for this part of the exam)
  • Any signs of unusual curvature of the spine
  • Their vision
  • Their immunization records, making sure they're current on vaccinations