Your Daughter at 11: Milestones

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.

Your Daughter’s Body

She’s likely to stand somewhere between 4 and 5 feet tall at this age. Her 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. She might grow as much as 4 inches a year during this time.

Her breasts have likely started to develop and she is 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 she grows, your daughter will likely gain body fat as part of puberty. She might start to get pimples. At the same time, your daughter may still be getting some of her 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, her 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.

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Your Daughter’s Brain

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

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

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

She should understand how her 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.

Your Daughter’s Relationships

At 11, your daughter will likely start spending more time with friends and less time with your family. She may start to assert her 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 her peers can help her navigate the emotional ups and downs of adolescence. Romantic interest in others might start to emerge around this time.

She might also become more self-conscious about her body at this age. Some of this is going to be a natural result of the changes she’s undergoing. But sometimes, these concerns can lead to problems like eating disorders and body image issues.

Your daughter might start trying to emphasize her individuality by changing how she dresses, what she listens to, watches or reads, or how she looks. Her friends may offer her 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 had “The Talk” about sex yet, maybe it’s time.

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Checklist

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

  • Her height and weight
  • Her 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
  • Her vision
  • Her immunization records, making sure she’s current on vaccinations
WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Renee A. Alli, MD on April 19, 2019

Sources

SOURCES:

CDC: “Middle Childhood (9-11 years of age).”

Kail, R., and Cavanaugh, J. Human Development: A Life-Span View. Wadsworth Publishing, 2015.

Palo Alto Medical Foundation: “Teen Growth & Development, Years 11 to 14.”

University of Southern California, Keck School of Medicine: “Puberty -- Normal Growth and Development.”

Kid’s Health from Nemours: “Your Child’s Checkup -- 11 Years.”

American Dental Association: “Eruption charts.”

Michigan State University Extension: “9- to 11-year-olds: Ages and stages of youth development.”

Tennessee Children’s Cabinet, Kid Central: “Development.”

Stanford Children’s Health: “The Growing Child: School-Age (6 to 12 Years).”

Oregon State University Extension: “Middle Childhood and Adolescent Development.”

American Academy of Pediatrics: “Recommendations for Preventive Pediatric Care.”

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