10-Year-Old Development Milestones

Medically Reviewed by Poonam Sachdev on September 24, 2023
4 min read

As your child grows, every year seems interesting, and age 10 is no exception. It’s a year when they undergo big changes in all areas of their life, including physical growth. They're also starting to solve problems logically and are likely to be more independent.

Girls’ physical development at 10

Your daughter is getting stronger and building on her balance and coordination. She’ll probably have lots of energy and enjoy running, riding bikes, dancing, and swimming. This might be a good time to encourage her to play team sports or another physical activity such as karate or golf.

At 10, girls might start showing the first signs of puberty, too, which may include developing body hair and breasts. As she enters puberty, encourage your daughter to talk openly about how her body is changing. This may help avoid issues that she could have with body image later.

Girls’ social development at 10

Most 10-year-old girls are very loving toward their families and respect their parents as authority figures. Their friendships become more complex and emotionally important, especially with other girls. They have a strong sense of right and wrong. But they also begin to experience peer pressure. They also probably want time in their room and more privacy.

Girls’ academic development at 10

The academic abilities of a 10-year-old will vary considerably, but ideally, most girls will have good writing skills and enjoy reading books that are more challenging.

They should be able to do most of the following:

  • Point out the main idea of what they read
  • Explain how the author used facts to back up their ideas
  • Understand information detailed in drawings, timelines, and charts
  • Take notes, organize facts, and write reports from the material
  • Take part in class discussions and share their own ideas

In math, they should be doing more difficult word problems and working with fractions and decimals.


Boys’ physical development at 10

Your son is likely getting better with his balance, stamina, and coordination. His ability to play team sports is also probably stronger. He should be able to use fine motor skills to do more detailed activities such as painting, skateboarding, and dancing.

They’ll have a lot of endurance and can do things such as riding their bike, running, and playing for longer periods.

Boys’ social development at 10

At 10, your son is likely building stronger ties with his friends and classmates. He may have a best friend or even a romantic interest. Most of his friendships will be with other boys who share the same interests as him, such as sports, gaming, clubs, or other groups.

At 10, boys become more skilled physically, and they’re likely to become more competitive. They might have more arguments with siblings and start questioning authority. And they may also start experiencing peer pressure.

Your son may soon hit puberty, so his voice could start to deepen and he could start to get some facial hair, though most boys hit puberty around age 12.

Boys’ academic development at 10

Your son’s brain continues to develop and his interests may be changing. But his attention span is increasing, and his judgment is improving.

At 10, boys are most likely skilled at reading and writing and can speak clearly. They're developing abstract and critical-thinking skills, can follow detailed directions, make plans, and reason through problems. They also tend to see things as either right or wrong with no middle ground.

They should be able to read and understand challenging books and work through mathematical problems, including fractions, multiplication, and long division.

  1. Be affectionate and tell them you're proud of them.
  2. Show your support by attending all their activities and being involved in their school.
  3. Be positive in your feedback. Focus on their successes.
  4. Meet the parents of their friends.
  5. Set the rules and stick to them. Use discipline, rather than punishment, to guide them.
  6. Start teaching them responsibility by giving them household chores such as cleaning, and begin talking to them about saving money.
  7. Limit their screen time to no more than 2 hours a day. And start teaching them about online safety, like not giving their personal information (passwords, pictures, home address, or phone number) to anyone.
  8. If you think your child is struggling in school, talk with their teacher about ways you might help them with schoolwork and keep them interested in learning.

You, your family, your child's teachers, and caregivers will follow your child's milestones in a process called developmental monitoring. Watching your child grow to see if they meet classic developmental stages in playing, learning, talking, behaving, and moving for their age is critical, especially so you can identify potential issues as early as possible.

You can even use a checklist of milestones from the CDC to make sure your child is hitting them as they should.

In the U.S., about 1 in 6 children have developmental or behavioral disabilities, but most go undiscovered until they are in school. By then, setbacks can have serious effects on their learning.

If you think your child might be missing or has missed a milestone, talk to your doctor.

At your child's annual well visit, your doctor or nurse will likely:

  • Check their height and weight
  • Calculate their body mass index(BMI) 
  • Check their blood pressure, vision, and hearing
  • Perform a physical exam: 
    • Listen to their heart and lungs
    • Check the curvature of their spine
    • Look for signs of puberty
  • Update their immunizations and make sure they're current on vaccinations

In addition, your doctor may look for signs of conditions that could develop later in life, including tuberculosis, high blood cholesterol, and anemia.