What's normal behavior for 10-year-olds

Friday, April 02, 2010

Being 10-years-old is a big adjustment for most kids. Expert Chip Wood from CHILDREN IN THE CLASSROOM: AGES 4 TO 14 describes it as a rite of passage from early childhood to the tween years.

Is your 10-year-old on target for the big changes to come? Is he or she acting "normal" compared to other 10's around the country? This week's blog will take a look at the transition to double digits and describe what is typical and terrific for 10-year-olds.

The great news is this is the golden end of childhood. Children are now comfortable in their own skins, generally at peace with themselves, their teachers, parents and siblings. They can chill out and gather their energy for the storm of adolescence to come. Tens can concentrate better on book reports, research, group projects, and class trips. They have great memories and are open to education about the human body, childbirth and child rearing. There is a "sturdiness" about ten that is easy to observe in playgroups or 5th grade classrooms. The same rules that 10-year-olds now readily accept will be challenged next year at age 11, argued about by age 12 and rebelled against by many 13-year-olds. So enjoy the cooperative spirit while you can!

Outdoor playtime is still critical. It helps your 10-year-old bounce back from fatigue and do heavier school work. Try kickball, tag, and dodge ball; 10-year-olds also love unusual activities like a ropes course, overnight camping, rock collections, collecting baseball cards or teddy bears. They're great organizers and like to have an orderly bedroom, classroom and lifestyle. Here's your chance to establish good habits with all their organizational skills. Snacks are also important to keep their energy high.

Tens are usually truthful, as they develop a more mature feeling about right and wrong. They're still sensitive to fairness issues, they listen well and can concentrate for longer periods of time. Many love reading at this age. They're usually very productive with school work and pay close attention to form and structure. Good subjects at this age include geography, world records, facts about sports and TV shows, singing, poetry and plays.

The only caveat with 10s is they still have quick tempers that can lead to physical outbursts or tears. But the problems are usually quickly resolved.

Favorite themes include time travel, friendships, geography, immigration, history, geology, double digit division and word problems.

Treasure this year with your 10-year-old! It's a gift.

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