Healthy Development 6-12


Middle Years Development

The middle years can be divided into two sections: 6-9 years, and 10-12 years, or the preteen years.

Children 6-9 Years

Children 6-9 years demonstrate a cluster of characteristics that parents and caregivers will recognize:

  • Gender separation in play
  • Increasing independence
  • Increased ability to accept responsibility
  • Beginning to enjoy organized sports activities (8 years)

What parents can do to help:

  • Provide for daily physical activity
  • Provide for “down time” for child-directed play
  • Encourage imaginative play
  • Find time to spend one-one time together

Children 10-12 Years


  • Many entering puberty
  • Relationships with peers are very important
  • Acceptance from peers very important
  • Connections to positive and supportive adults a need
  • Opportunities for independence are important

What parents can do to help:

  • Be sensitive to changes in peer relationships
  • Reinforce home values
  • Introduce new skills and activities that require complex movements
  • Support decision-making skills
  • Enable participation in a variety of activities
  • Allow for personal space and time

After-School Activities are Important for Pre-Teens!

School-age children, particularly pre-teens, can benefit from engagement in after-school activities such as sports, music, dance, theatre, cooking, and arts and crafts. Benefits include:

  • Enriched and broadened life experiences
  • Development of “non-academic” skills
  • New friendships
  • Reduced “screen time” away from TV and computers
  • Opportunities to connect with positive, mentoring adults in the community