During the school years, your child’s physical development is mostly about learning and refining large and fine motor skills. You can help by making sure your child has a wide variety of creative, play, and organized activities.
  • Drawing, painting, knitting, hammering, sewing, and sawing. All these help develop fine motor skills.
  • Learning to play a musical instrument involves a great deal of manual dexterity.
  • Swimming, running, hiking, jumping, climbing. Get your child to do as many large muscle activities as possible every day.

For more information on optimal physical development, see the Health section’s information on nutrition, active living, immunization, and caring for your child’s eyes, ears, and teeth.

Reaching Puberty

As they approach adolescence, your child may start to experience the physical changes of puberty. It’s a good idea to prepare them for this by talking about puberty ahead of time.

Changes in Boys

Testosterone is the male hormone primarily responsible for the changes that occur in boys during puberty. Changes include: broadening of chest and shoulders and an increase in overall muscle mass. Scrotum, testicles, and penis grow. Boys experience erections, ejaculations, and nocturnal emissions (wet dreams-ejaculations during sleep) as their body practices for reproduction.

Changes in Girls

Estrogen is the female hormone primarily responsible for the changes that occur in girls during puberty. Changes include: hips widen as the pelvic bone changes shape, breasts develop, and fat tissue is increasing around hips, thighs, buttocks, and breasts. Girls’ reproductive organs change and the vulva, uterus, and vagina grow, ovaries mature, and menstruation starts.