9 Years

Discover tips, tools, and support for this age

Your nine-year-old is getting more independent. They may form closer friendships, which is an important part of development. They may also be more interested in activities outside of school and care about others’ feelings—but watch out for the peer pressure that can also come at this stage!

Scroll down to learn more about your child’s development, explore resources available during and after school, and find free events across NYC.

Trying to stay connected while you stay home?

While much of NYC remains closed because of COVID-19, you can take part in virtual activities of all kinds. Visit our Virtual Events page to find an activity that’s right for your family.


Skills children develop as they play, learn, speak, act, and move are called milestones. Learn about milestones to help you understand your child's development and act early if you have concerns.

Around 9 years old, many children:

  • Social

    • Begin to see the benefits of following social norms
    • Look for friendships based on common interests and nearness
    • Take part in activities outside of class
    • Begin to understand other people's points of view
  • Communication

    • Hold eye contact when listening
    • Share ideas and opinions in clear speech
    • Use slang that peers use
  • Learning

    • Have a longer attention span
    • Develop reading, writing, and everyday math skills in line with the Common Core Standards
    • Use reading and writing skills outside of school, for grocery lists, drawing, and other activities
    • Connect ideas, structure arguments, and unpack hard words
  • Physical Development

    • Begin to show signs of puberty
    • Show an increased awareness of their physical skills
    • Have control of both large and small muscles
    • Are able to swim (if taught)
    • Take part in movement activities on the playground with confidence
  • Health

    • Have 5 ounces of grains daily (such as 1 cup of breakfast cereal plus 1 large tortilla)
    • Have 1 ½ cups of vegetables daily (such as 3 medium carrots)
    • Have 1 to 1 ½ cups of fruits daily (such as 1 medium or large apple OR 1 to 1 ½ cups 100% fruit juice)
    • Have 4 ounces of meat and beans daily (such as 1 small chicken breast plus 1 egg)
    • Have 2 ½ cups of milk daily
    • Do 1 hour of medium- to high-intensity physical activity each day, including many 15-minute periods of activity
    • Sleep about 9–11 hours per day
    • Stay on schedule with shots

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

  • Act Early

    • Has little or no ability to see things from another's point of view
    • Shows frustration and poor self-confidence
    • Can't follow spoken and written directions in class
    • Is less able to keep up physical activity
    • Avoids messy play or the feeling of certain textures, like sand, paint, glue, or tape
    • Gets tired easily when doing a writing task
    • Often wanders off topic in conversation
    • Can't sit still


Find the support your family needs to thrive

Afterschool programs for students

Comprehensive After School System of NYC (COMPASS NYC)

NYC Department of Youth & Community Development

COMPASS NYC has hundreds of programs for young people in kindergarten through 12th grade.

Free 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.

Virtual Events

See what your family can do for free in NYC

Recipe Rescue

All Day
Enter DYCD's Recipe Rescue competition to take your favorite family recipe and make it healthier!…

Parks @ Home Jr.

All Day
NYC Parks experts are bringing all the secrets of the outdoors right to your doorstep!…

Virtual Science Fair

All Day
Celebrate Mathematics and Statistics Awareness Month by thinking statistically! Show off your skills and knowledge…