9-Year-Old Child Physical Development

Children running in a gymnasium.
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Nine-year-old children are on the brink of adolescence. In the next few years, they will experience significant changes in physical development as they enter puberty and their preteen years. Parents can help make this transition easier and smoother by talking to their children about what changes they can expect and answer any questions they may have.


Nine-year-old children can vary greatly in size. Some children may be taller or shorter than others. You can also expect to see some differences in body shapes, with some children being naturally stockier or skinnier than others.

Body image issues can arise in some children at this age as children approach their preteen years. The important thing is to remember that 9-year-old children are still influenced in large part by their parents’ attitude toward physical activity and body image. When parents make physical fitness, healthy food, and positive attitudes about weight and body image a priority, they set a good example for their children to follow.

Some 9-year-old children may experience the beginning of puberty. Typically, puberty starts sometime between 8 and 12 for girls and 9 and 14 for boys. If you haven’t had a discussion with your child about the physical and emotional changes he or she can expect during puberty, now is a good time to approach the topic with your child and keep the lines of conversation going.

Coordination, Motor Skills

The motor skills of 9-year-old children are smoother and stronger than when they were younger. This increased body control allows 9-year-olds to work on strengthening physical skills such as speed and strength in sports and other physical activities such as dance.

You can expect to see a wide range of physical abilities among children this age. Some 9-year-olds will have better coordination, balance, and endurance than others. Some may be able to excel in a sport such as skating or swimming on a competitive level while others may simply enjoy playing in a team sport such as baseball or soccer.

Teeth, Personal Care, and Hygiene

The increasingly finely-tuned fine motor skills and developing the maturity of 9-year-old children will make it possible for them to handle their personal hygiene without adult supervision. That said, many 9-year-olds may need reminders to brush their teeth, wash their hands, and bathe. Nine-year-old children may be able to clip their own fingernails and toenails, depending on how dexterous they are.

Some 9-year-olds may need to wear braces, which can make cleaning teeth tricky. If your child is wearing braces, be sure to talk to your dentist about proper cleaning and care of teeth. Nine-year-old children are also continuing to lose their baby teeth. Generally, most children have their permanent upper and lower lateral incisors by now, and some may be losing their cuspids and molars.

It is probably less necessary to supervise the brushing of teeth as closely as you did when your child was younger; however, it is a good idea to try to peek in once in a while to make sure that your child is still being diligent about brushing thoroughly and flossing. Similarly, your child may still occasionally need reminders to wash behind their ears and take especially good care to wash armpits and the groin area.

Setting these good healthy habits will ensure that your child is ready to care for his ​personal hygiene once puberty begins and the production of sweat and body oils naturally increase.