After a period of quiet mental development around 8 years, a lot happens again at the age of 9. But often, children are not as open with their thoughts and feelings as before.
All children are unique and develop differently. However, there are some characteristics that are common and typical for most children in an age group. These are described here.
The age ranges are not exactly accurate. To understand and recognize your child you may also need to read about the child’s development 6-7 years or about the child’s development 10-12 years.
The development is different at different times
The development is different at different times and can vary greatly from child to child, even between siblings. Even though children of the same age have reached different distances, it tends to level out gradually.
In connection with a new period of development, the child can sometimes become anxious, change his mood and need more closeness or attention than before.
There are individual conditions and events that can affect how a child develops, both in the short and longer term. For example, it may be if the child is born prematurely, has a disability or is involved in a major change in life.
- 0.1 You are important to the child’s development
- 0.2 Sometimes want to manage himself and sometimes be small
- 0.3 Friends are more important but the child needs moments with you
- 0.4 The age of 9 is a new phase of maturity
- 0.5 To be afraid of different things
- 0.6 If the child gets an outbreak
- 0.7 Understand that you cannot and do not know everything
- 0.8 The child often thinks of dangers
- 0.9 Common to think about death and other big issues
- 0.10 Understand what is equal and what is different
- 0.11 Children need to be involved in a major change
- 0.12 Usually children can and do
- 0.13 Good to get responsibility at home
- 0.14 Children develop through challenges
- 0.15 Becoming more critical to himself
- 0.16 Compare with others in school
- 0.17 Let the child be more involved
- 0.18 In school, the child learns a lot about how to be
- 0.19 Playing two or more together
- 0.20 Agreements and rules
- 0.21 To think about children of this age
- 0.22 Tips on what you can do
- 0.23 Good with all kinds of reading
- 0.24 When children have difficulty reading and writing
- 0.25 Different media
- 0.26 Usually children can and do
- 0.27 Tips on fun things to do together
- 0.28 It is important that the child is allowed to move
- 0.29 Still not quite able to be in the traffic itself
- 0.30 Early signs of puberty
- 0.31 Tips on what you can do
- 1 If you need support
You are important to the child’s development
The child needs you to develop. You are needed for food and nursing, but also for the child to be able to build up a good self-esteem and be stimulated in their development.
You need to be there and be active and involved.
What the child feels
After children have been more restless and intense when they were about 6, it often becomes a little calmer at the age of 8. Some children become a little more introverted and dreamy. They may also need to be able to be for themselves sometimes.
Sometimes want to manage himself and sometimes be small
As before, the child can quickly switch from wanting to manage himself to wanting to be small and needing help. Respect the child’s personal boundaries and the right to think and think in their own way. But the child may also need to talk about his or her thoughts with any adult. Try to understand when the child wants to be at peace and when they want to talk or need your support in some way.
The child may from time to time feel small and without any opportunity to influence. It is common for children to feel lonely, especially at the age of 9.
Friends are more important but the child needs moments with you
Many children still change their mood quickly and how they feel. One moment, the child may want to be close and needy in order to be able to succeed in the next moment.
Now friends, school and other activities outside the family are becoming more important. But even if the child suddenly has a greater need to be more with friends, they also need you as parents. It is important that you are there when the child needs you.
Many children still have a great need for closeness. Although contact with you as a parent is no longer as physical, the child needs quiet moments with a parent.
The age of 9 is a new phase of maturity
Now the child is entering a new period of maturity. But you may not notice it in the same way as when the child was six years old. The child may go away and not show or tell how they feel or think.
To be afraid of different things
It is also common for children to become dark and afraid of being alone. A child who has slept in his own room for several years may suddenly want to sleep in a parent’s bed. Such fears are common during the child’s first school year and it almost always goes away by itself.
Usually, you do not need to seek help, even if you are worried about the child’s behavior. Fears often go over and are part of the child’s development. But keep in mind that the child is really scared, and that it is not a way to fight or get attention.
If the child is worried about doing things, it is important that they get confirmation that it is a painful feeling. But the child also needs support in daring to do things that feel scary, otherwise they may be afraid of even more things. It is important that you support the child.
If the child gets an outbreak
Some children get angry and get an outbreak. Read more about outbreaks and what you can do.
What the child thinks and understands
Now logical thinking is evolving. This means, among other things, that the child can look more realistically at reality.
Understand that you cannot and do not know everything
The child realizes that parents have both good and bad sides and that they cannot know and know everything. This can lead to children questioning and discussing more and may not tell as much about what happens at school and in their spare time.
The child often thinks of dangers
As the child begins to discover the world outside the family more and more, they also become aware that there may be dangers from which the family cannot protect the child.
One way for children to try to control the unknown is by repeating a behavior many times and in exactly the same way. It could be, for example, not to walk on joints in the pavement’s paving or to not want to throw things, not even rubbish. Most children have this kind of behavior. Often it does not affect everyday life very much, but can lead to some conflicts.
It is part of the development and usually goes away by itself after a few months. Do not give it attention, but try to ignore it.
Common to think about death and other big issues
At the age of 9, many people are again thinking about the big life issues and want to understand. It is common for the child to think of such things as life and death, health and illness, love and hate, history and future. Many 9-year-olds are ponderers and may occasionally become anxious and depressed.
Understand what is equal and what is different
Now it is becoming easier to categorize things and to sort them in order of magnitude. It can be about understanding the difference between continent, country, city and neighborhood. Or to understand that a dachshund is a kind of dog, but that all dogs are not dachshunds.
At this age, children can begin to understand that the sum is the same no matter how large the various parts are. For example, the child may understand that a tall and narrow glass contains the same amount of liquid as a low and wide glass, even if it does not look like it. The child may also understand that you once were a child even though you are now an adult. Children are also usually able to describe how they thought when they came to a conclusion or solution to a problem.
Children need to be involved in a major change
Now children understand more complicated things and contexts, and they need to be more and more involved the older and more mature they become. Children of this age need to know that changes must take place, such as a move or a separation. Explain to the child why and tell how it will be.
Children need to know, ask questions and respond. Adults should take care of the feelings and issues that arise.
Usually children can and do
It is common for children aged 8-9 to do this:
- Are sensitive to criticism.
- Can think of how to learn things and plan their learning.
- Get more patience and wait better times. For example, children can wait to ask you something if you are in a bad mood, or stop beating if they get angry.
- Begin to understand that they cannot affect everything with their thoughts.
- Compare their life situation with others and do not want it worse than others.
- Interested in what it’s like to be an adult, how and what adults do. Compare how adult life differs in different families and in different parts of the world.
Children of this age also tend to do this:
- Am interested in reading, watching TV shows and internet if at all possible.
- Think it is important with rules and that they are respected. For example, you may knock on the child’s door before entering the room.
- Feel free to dress up and play fantasy games.
- Often have idols and friends. An idol can have characteristics that the child himself wants. A pretend friend may have characteristics the child has but does not really want to be known about.
- Think secrets are important. It can be part of belonging to a group. Children like to use secret languages or characters that not everyone can read, or form secret clubs.
Manages more responsibility and challenges
The child needs to feel that they can handle more.
Good to get responsibility at home
It is good for children to help and take some responsibility in the family’s everyday life,
Children need to feel that they are part of a context where they are needed. It is good for the child to have a specific role or task at home, something that they can feel proud of.
It can be hard for the child to remember day trips, fruits, gym bags, fit times, keep track of keys and find the right address. But coping with such things strengthens self-confidence and makes the child better at dealing with everything else in his or her life. It is good to start with a responsibility and then expand with more when it works, so that the child feels that they will succeed.
Many children can now start moving more freely in the community, for example, taking themselves to and from friends.
Children develop through challenges
It is developing for the child if they are given challenges that are a little more difficult than they are able to at the moment, but which are still possible to reach, perhaps with some help.
It is good if children on their own learn the limits of what they can, so that their self-esteem is not based on unrealistic expectations. Let the child try himself first before you possibly help. Then the child learns what they can and can’t do, and also gets the opportunity to feel satisfied and happy to be able to solve various problems themselves.
How the child thinks and thinks about himself
Before the age of 8, children often describe themselves based on how they look and what they can do. For example, “I can run fast and have curly hair”. At the age of 8, children also begin to be able to describe themselves based on how they are: “I am brave” or “I am shy”.
At about this age, children can also begin to understand that you can be in several different ways at the same time and have several contradictory feelings at the same time. You can feel both brave and scared, both sad and happy, and you can be angry with someone, but still like that person.
Becoming more critical to himself
Children of this age also become more aware of aspects of themselves that they enjoy less. But instead of blaming bad luck as before, if they can’t do anything, they put the blame more on themselves. If the child is often told that they are poor at math, to read, to play football and so on, it is easy for the child to stop trying to cope with these challenges after a while.
At the age of 9, children begin to become aware of what they look like and what others think of them. For many, it becomes more important, among other things, clothes and how they look.
Compare with others in school
In school, children are given many opportunities to compare themselves with others and also understand that there are differences in how different children can handle different tasks. Most children commute in confidence and self-esteem. Sometimes they feel good and well-liked, sometimes not. The child’s perception of himself develops and many children become more critical of themselves, especially if the child feels that they fail or are different in some way.
How the child is with others – social development
Playing with friends is important for children’s social development. By being with others, children can learn to pay attention, resolve conflicts and play.
Let the child be more involved
As the child matures, it is important that you both talk about and show that everyone feels different, both children and adults. That’s the way it should be.
The child needs to be more and more involved. Ask the child about experiences, opinions and suggestions, and respect and take these into account. Then the child feels more involved.
In school, the child learns a lot about how to be
In school, the child has his or her own social life outside the family. While the home and family provide security, the child is busy developing their relationships with peers.
The time at school together with your friends means a lot for children to learn the rules that apply when socializing with others. They learn to take care of others, to wait for their turn, to cooperate with others and to take responsibility for their actions. It is also at this age that children begin to form their own perceptions of what is right and wrong.
Playing two or more together
Children around the age of 9 often play two or three together, but also in larger groups. Which ones are best friends and who are in the gang can change quickly. The children can quickly become unharmed and then get back together just as quickly.
Agreements and rules
Children of this age tend to like agreements and preferably written contracts, where their signature is considered something valuable. It is good if you can sit down together in the family and talk through things that affect everyone. It is easier to stick to something that is written down and that you can refer to, both as a child and a parent. For children, it is valuable to be part of someone listening to their suggestions and also to learn to take into account what others want and want.
To think about children of this age
Good to know about children who are 8-9 years old:
- Music often becomes an increasingly important part of life, both to perform and to listen.
- Justice is important both between friends and family.
- Toy animals are still important, but many dream of having their own pet.
- The child wants to feel better than the adults, for example by exposing yourself to “insoluble” riddles.
- Many children are interested in things and things that can be unusual and a bit strange. For example, it is usually exciting with space, dinosaurs, magic and imaginative stories.
Tips on what you can do
Here are some tips on what can be fun at this age:
- Encourage the child to make contact and play with friends. Be interested in what they do together.
- Make sure there is time and space for the child to be alone, read, daydream or do homework. Allow the child time to do nothing and for free play where they can have an outlet for all their imagination. It is not good for children to have too much booked time. This can lead to excessive stress which can be bad for the child’s development.
- Have the child watch different kinds of television programs that provide knowledge about the adult world. You can have fun and good discussions based on these. Please look together.
- Let the child show what and how they can. For example, cleaning your room, making your bed or helping to cook.
- Let the child join a society where they can develop and become better at something. It can be football, theater, chess, horseback riding or whatever the child thinks is fun.
- Children who have younger siblings can sometimes take care of them without taking full responsibility.
Language and communication
The linguistic development is also a bit calmer now than during the child’s first seven years. The child gets better at arguing the more they learn to handle the language. Children who learn more than one language benefit from it by realizing that languages are structured in different ways and that they learn multiple language sounds.
That the child better understands how language works can also be noticed in the humor. It can evolve from kissing and poop humor to being more vocabulary and humor based on comedic situations in everyday life.
Good with all kinds of reading
Read for the child, read together and encourage the child to read for himself. It is good for the language development that the child reads whether it is books, comic books or other.
When children have difficulty reading and writing
Often reading and writing difficulties are discovered at this age. Such difficulties rarely mean that the child has problems with memory and understanding. It is also quite common for them to become good at something else.
There are different perceptions about how different screens such as computer, TV, tablet and mobile phones affect children. It is important that the time in front of the screen does not replace the time when you are together, or replace the time when the child is allowed to move and play outdoors. Many TV programs, video games and computer games that are adapted to the child’s age and ability can be fun and good as learning, but should not be the only way the child learns things.
You as a parent set boundaries around and teach the children how to handle different media. You make the decisions for your child that you think will be best. A general advice is to avoid extremes. Never allowing a child to come near a screen can give a disadvantage to other children. Giving children unlimited screen access is harmful and competes with other important activities.
Think about what you think your child is capable of. It can differ between children of the same age. Customize that child to look after their personality. Look with the child, talk about what you see and experience. It is always good for the child that you are familiar with what they are watching or playing. You or an older sibling may need to get in the game and help the child if needed.
You may need to limit the screen time. Too much screen time before bedtime often results in worse sleep. You can limit the time in a clear way by, for example, setting an alarm on ringing, and then allowing the child to finish the game and the current moment. Help the child finish by saying “now it is only five minutes left”. It also gives the child some time perception.
Do not allow children to watch adult films or play violent games. News programs for adults can also contain violence. Sit with the child when watching news programs adapted for children, in order to be able to respond to their questions and thoughts. Turn off unpleasant background noise.
Think about how you use media yourself when you are with your child. Children do as adults do.
Since friends are important to children of this age, many start chatting with each other over mobiles or computers. It is important to talk about what and how to write to each other, and what to do if someone you do not know for sure who is writing to one. As a parent, you protect your child by keeping track of his conversations at this age.
Here you can read more on the website “Surf calmly” about how you can talk to children and young people about their everyday lives online and with games.
Usually children can and do
At this age, it is common for the child to do this:
- Understand more how symbols are used, for example that the white dove is not only a bird but also a symbol of peace and of the good.
- Understands body language, tone and looks better. Can read and use things that are expressed in ways other than words.
- Understands better exaggerations, understatements and irony.
- Gathers and writes down words and facts.
- Writes poems and blogs. It can be about life and morality, for example around nature and events in the outside world.
- Uses a secret language when talking or writing to the best friend.
Tips on fun things to do together
Here are some tips on what can be fun at this age:
- Read and find stories and stories together.
- Watch TV together. Talking about what you have seen can be challenging. Let the child have their own experience and make their own interpretation.
- Play computer games with the child and talk about what is happening in the game.
- Tell us what it was like when you or older people were children. Many children are interested in what it was like in the past and how children lived then.
The body and how the child moves
The body grows at a constant rate without sprouting or stopping, and the child gains better control over his movements. Both the larger and the smaller movements get better. The heart and lungs endure more. The child becomes stronger and stronger.
At this age, it is common for children to become hungrier and eat more.
The length can vary by two decimeters between different children of the same age. It can be a pain to be much longer or shorter than others of the same age.
Now boys and girls are generally just as strong, enduring and have just as good mobility. Boys generally mature a little later than girls, but the differences between different children are greater than the differences between boys and girls.
The vast majority of children who develop late in terms of how they can move will eventually catch up. It can help to practice various movements that the child has difficulty coping with. This may include tying the shoes, cycling or unbuttoning buttons.
At this age, the child is aware of his or her body and gender.
It is important that the child is allowed to move
The child needs to play freely. It is important to feel both physically and mentally. The child has a great need to move, partly because of how the body grows and changes. Sitting still at school and at different screens means that the child needs to move.
Still not quite able to be in the traffic itself
To be in traffic requires maturity and experience that children do not yet have. Children have also not learned how to use, for example, sight and hearing. Their reaction time is also longer than that of adults. Read more about child safety.
Early signs of puberty
Children whose genetic parents had an early puberty are likely to enter puberty early. Some children may start showing signs of puberty at 8 to 9 years. A sure sign that the child is in puberty is that they begin to grow rapidly in the long run.
Read more about coming to puberty.
The body and appearance change as the child begins to reach puberty. If no friend has begun to experience the same changes, the child may feel confused, alone and different. The child may feel clumsy and insecure before being able to get used to his new body.
Talk to the child about what is happening, that it is completely natural and that the child can ask if they are wondering about something. You can also suggest that the child can talk to the school nurse on student health. There they can get information and answers to questions. There are also good books that you can give to the child or leave in front.
At this age, the child is usually more interested in the opposite sex. Often it is a curiosity that the child likes to hide from the adults when it is perceived as embarrassing. Sometimes, for example, children may play doctor with each other or look at each other without clothes.
The child can experience romantic feelings and fantasies, for both idols and other children in their vicinity.
Tips on what you can do
Here are some tips that are suitable for children of this age:
- Play and train together. Everything that makes the child move is good.
- Have the child try different sports. But don’t have too many activities.
- Explain what is meant by the right to one’s own body. Tell them that it is wrong for an adult to touch the child in a sexual way or for other children to touch them in a way that the child does not want. Teach the child to tell when something does not feel right. You can read the Save the Children website on how to talk to the child about their body and boundaries.
If you need support
Seek help if you need support or have questions about or worry about your child’s development.
Here are some examples of what you can do:
- Talk to your own network of friends, relatives and work mates, for example.
- Talk to other adults, such as classmates or other friends’ parents.
- Join parent groups, for example, in school.
- Contact student health at school. There, among other things, there are school nurse, doctor and curator. Read more about student health.
- Contact a health care center.
- Contact the municipality. Some municipalities offer parental support in groups or individually. Find information on your municipality’s website.