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Eleven- to Twelve-Year-Olds

Ages and Stages Photo Gallery


Updated March 27, 2011

The preteen years can be among the most challenging for parents and most confusing for kids.
Preteen on a swing.

Preteen on a swing.

Photo (c) Shelly Perry
The preteen years can be among the most challenging for parents and most confusing for kids. The middle to late school age years are a time of great change in your child's life. In addition to starting puberty, her mind will also grow to understand logical and abstract thinking and she will develop the moral standards by which she will live her.

You can also expect your preteen child to begin to move away from her family as she develops her own identity and also becomes more influenced by her friends. This makes it important to talk to your child often to make sure that you are an even bigger influence in her life.

What You Need To Know About Your Preteen

  • Encourage self esteem and a positive self image in your child.
  • According the latest car seat guidelines, children should sit in a belt-positioning booster seat until they are "old enough and large enough" for the seat belts to protect them properly, which usually isn't until they are 4 feet 9 inches tall (57 inches) and are between 8 and 12 years old. And remember that kids shouldn't usually sit in the front seat until they are over 12 years old.
  • Watch for the warning signs of drug use, including a sudden change in her behavior or personality, decreased performance in school, or changes in which friends she associates with.
  • Supervise your child's use of computers, computer games, movies, and know what they have access to at their friend's homes.
  • At the 11- to 12-year old checkup, you can expect a complete physical exam, a review of nutrition and sleep schedules, measurement of your child's height, weight and blood pressure. Your child will also receive her immunizations, including Tdap, Menactra, and Gardasil (girls only), and any other shots she is missing, such as the Varivax booster if your child hasn't had chickenpox.
  • Common School Age Problems

Preteen Health Topics

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