12 Years

Tips, Tricks & Resources

What to Expect

Your child is developing fast during this exciting – and sometimes exhausting – time period! Their physical features may begin to change, and opinions and thoughts become more developed. As they begin to think more maturely, help them set goals! Scroll down and check out SONYC, the City’s free after school program for middle-schoolers, which provides a wide range of activities for all students in 6th through 8th grade.


Winter Nature Crafts

11:00 AM - 12:30 PM
Create crafts using natural materials found outdoors with the Urban Park Rangers.

Family Board Games

2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Kids can show off their gaming talents at the library as they make new friends and enhance skills.

Coloring for Kids

1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
The library provides fantastic coloring sheets and crayons for kids and parents or caregivers to enjoy together.


After school for middle schoolers

School's Out NYC (SONYC)

NYC Department of Youth & Community Development

SONYC offers a mix of activities, including leadership, Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM), literacy, academic help, sports, arts, and more.

School breakfast and lunch


NYC Department of Education

NYC students can enjoy free breakfast and lunch every school day.

Free health care in schools

School-Based Health Centers (SBHC)

NYC Department of Education/NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene

Students can get free health care in their school.


How your child plays, learns, speaks, and acts offers important clues about their development.

What most 12 year olds do at this age:

  • Social

    • Have more patience and greater ability to handle frustration
    • May have sudden impulses, make poor judgements on occasion, and become more confrontational
    • Become less emotionally dependent on parents and more capable of independent thoughts and actions
    • Start to develop their own moral principles
    • Display an increased desire for privacy and sensitivity about body
    • Enjoy the opportunity take on extra responsibilities
  • Communication

    • Display signs of being a thoughtful listener
    • Master ability to switch language style between more formal, more casual, and slang, based on audience
  • Learning

    • Display improved problem-solving abilities
    • Challenge adult knowledge
    • Use long-term memory to understand and solve complex problems
  • Physical Development

    • Display advanced signs of puberty, including growth of body hair
    • Have inconsistent growth spurts
    • Start to develop adolescent sleep patterns, sleeping longer and getting up later in the mornings
  • Health

    • Have 5 to 6 ounces of grains daily
    • Have 2 to 2 ½ cups of vegetables daily
    • Have 1 ½ cups of fruits daily
    • Have 3 cups of milk daily
    • Have 5 ounces of meat and beans daily
    • Have 1 hour of moderate and vigorous physical activity each day
    • Participate in many 15-minute periods of physical activity
    • Sleep about 9-11 hours per day
    • Are on schedule with immunizations

Act early by talking to a doctor, teacher, or social worker if your child:

    • Gets off topic in conversation often
    • Distances themself from previously close relationships
    • Starts to engage in high-risk behavior
    • Increasingly spends more time in front of the television
    • Starts to see their body weight change