Developmental Milestones for Fourth and Fifth Graders
At a Glance
At this age, kids have growth spurts—and a growing need to be independent.
Fourth and fifth graders start to develop the ability to understand different points of view.
Ten- and 11-year-olds are increasingly interested in spending time with friends.
Fourth and fifth grade are years of growth in many ways—socially, academically, and physically. You may notice your child’s growth spurts, an increasing need for independence, and a desire to be accepted by peers.
If you’re not sure what to expect at this age, learn more about developmental milestones for 10-year-olds and 11-year-olds. But keep in mind that not all kids develop at the same pace.
Most kids grow steadily, only to speed up by age 11 or 12. As puberty approaches, girls and boys start developing at different rates. Girls tend to have their growth spurt between ages 9 and 11, while boys have theirs between ages 11 and 12. Most kids in fourth and fifth grade:
Have a bigger appetite and need more sleep
May be clumsy because of growth spurts
Use one hand and foot much better than the other (“Right/left dominance” starts at around age 7 and is set around fourth or fifth grade.)
Kids this age typically
start thinking more about abstract ideas and not just about things they can observe. They get better at organizing thoughts and planning, too. Don’t expect your child to be able to sort facts from opinions quite yet, though. That skill is still in process!
Most kids this age:
Realize that thoughts are private and that people see others differently than they see themselves
Start predicting the consequences of an action and plan accordingly
Can argue more than just one side of an issue
Begin to rely on friends, the news, and social media to get information and form opinions
Develop a better sense of responsibility and help out around the house (For example, kids may look out for younger siblings.)
Start understanding how things are connected (For example, kids may be able to understand the effects of climate change or how the mood of one person in the house can impact everyone else.)
Ten- and 11-year-olds have varying levels of maturity, physically and emotionally. They may reach milestones earlier or later than expected. But if you have concerns about your child’s development in any of these areas, it’s a good idea to check in with your health care provider. And share your concerns with your child’s teacher, so you can all work together to find ways to support your child.