Most middle schools have sixth, seventh, and eighth graders, which means kids may be as young as 11 or as old as 15 during their years there. Between those ages, kids grow in different ways and at their own pace. You just have to walk into a middle school to see the huge variation in both physical and emotional maturity.
There are certain skills middle-schoolers are working toward developing by the time high school rolls around. Not sure what to expect in these years? Learn about the developmental milestones you can expect at this age.
As puberty begins, kids are likely to go through some big physical changes. If you’re wondering why you seem to be buying new clothes more often than usual, it’s because growth spurts are common now. And though girls tend to develop earlier than boys, there’s a big difference in physical milestones among individual kids.
Still, most middle-schoolers:
Become a little less coordinated as height and weight change quickly
Start showing uneven development in skills like agility, balance, strength, and flexibility (For example, they may be able to run fast, but not gracefully.)
Need more rest since so much energy is being used for growing
Have a difference between body and brain growth; may be more mature physically than cognitively or emotionally
In middle school, language skills typically develop much more quickly than they did the past few years. You might notice that your child can better understand what people communicate—with or without words.
In middle school, kids often:
Use metaphors, slang, text speak, and other ways of talking
Are interested in having discussions, debates, and arguments (sometimes just for the sake of it)
Middle school is a time of major social and emotional growth. Your child may struggle to fit in even while looking for ways to be an individual. Don’t be surprised if your opinions seem to matter less or if your child doesn’t ask for your advice as often as before—that’s pretty common. It’s not uncommon for middle-schoolers to do these things:
Keep in mind that kids develop at different paces and this is particularly true of middle-schoolers. But if your child isn’t meeting a number of these milestones or is struggling with school or friendships, talk to your child’s teachers to get their perspective. It can help you discover possible trouble spots and talk through next steps.