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.


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 to 9 ounces of grains daily, including whole grains (1 ounce equals ½ cup oatmeal, ½ cup of rice, 5 whole wheat crackers, 1 slice of whole wheat bread, or ½ cup cooked pasta).
    • Have 2 to 3 ½ cups of vegetables daily (such as ½ cup baby carrots, ½ cup broccoli, ½ avocado, and ½ cup sliced peppers).
    • Have 1 ½ to 2 cups of fruits daily (such as 1 medium apple, 1 banana, and ½ cup berries). Fresh, frozen canned or dried all count.
    • Have 4 to 6 ½ ounces of protein daily (1 ounce equals 1 egg, ¼ cup of beans or lentils, 1 tablespoon peanut butter, or ¼ cup tofu). Protein foods include beans, lentils, tofu, nuts and nut butter, poultry, fish, eggs and meat.
    • Have 3 cups of dairy or suitable substitute daily. This includes whole cow’s milk, whole plain yogurt, or unsweetened fortified soy beverage.
    • Drink water at or between meals for thirst.

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

Comprehensive After School System of NYC (COMPASS NYC)

NYC Department of Youth & Community Development (DYCD)

Afterschool programs for students

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

School Food

NYC Department of Education (DOE)

Free school breakfast and lunch

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

School-Based Health Centers (SBHC)

NYC Department of Education (DOE); NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene (DOHMH)

Free health care in schools

Students can get free health care in their school.