5-12 year olds – behaviour

5-12 year olds

5-12 year olds

5-12 year olds

As your child grows, there are lots of changes and challenges for them and for you as a parent. Going from 5 years old – when kids are cute and little – to 11 years old – when kids are growing into adolescents with hormones and the beginnings of more independence.

School is a big part of life during this time and that brings with it not just academic pressure but friendship issues and how different they may be from other kids. They are becoming aware of themselves, of other people and of the world.

The main challenges I faced were…

  • school – we had to keep an eye on any struggles with work, especially homework, and to get to know how they learn and needed to manage their work. Children can get lost in the school system so as a parent, I felt my role was to work with them and pick up on any potential problems. As an example, homework stresses were removed with one of my children when we asked them to make sure she was given written instructions and not verbal, which made her stressed because she didn’t have anything to refer to.
  • friendships – these seem to change a lot, especially with girls. Friends one minute, being left out the next and there’s not a lot we can do about it apart from cuddle and make a few suggestions and, for a while, offering a biscuit might work too.
  • mums and other kids – on the whole this was really positive for me but getting to know other kids when they come for tea or for play dates is a learning curve in itself. Different likes and dislikes and needs and getting to know other mums who could be more laidback or uptight than me. In the end, I found my tribe and I pretty much stuck with them.
  • bloody sleepovers – I hate them with a passion and I held off for as long as possible but there is an inevitability to them. I found that during sleepovers with younger children, they tended to sleep as normal but the older they got, the more wide-awake-over it became. Invest in ear-plugs – good ones!
  • playing out – this was a hard transition and it was when rules and trust really came into their own. When they wanted to start playing out in the street, we had boundaries on where they could go, who with and how often they had to pop back. I often found myself wandering around the block to see them, or I ended up with kids in and out of my house but it was nerve wracking and a sign of growing independence.

But these are fun years, when children’s personalities really start to shine, when they start to develop skills and passions, when they are still children who play and explore and the world is fun and pretty simple.

Behaviour: 5 years old

  • a longer attention span
  • becoming an expert on favourite things
  • communicating well
  • making more decisions about food, clothes and play
  • can tired and emotional at times


Behaviour: 6 years old

  • tantrums
  • seeks praise and reassurance
  • doesn’t like being away from you
  • doesn’t like criticism or getting things wrong


Behaviour: 7 years old

  • complaining
  • can be dramatic
  • more aware of feelings
  • aware of what other people think


Behaviour: 8 years old

  • can be sensitive
  • fighting with you
  • starting to experience differences with friends
  • aware of right and wrong


Behaviour: 9 years old

  • friends become important
  • closer friends
  • pushes back against you
  • can show disrespect and being selfishness


Behaviour: 10-12 years old

  • promises are important
  • they remember everything

what your child might need…

  • play
  • time with you
  • time to talk about their day and how they feel
  • listen to them
  • simple rules and clear boundaries as they get older
  • praise, encouragement and positivity
  • allow them some time and space to be independent

what you might you need…

  • to avoid arguments – pick your battles
  • be consistent especially withroutine, boundaries and discipline
  • allow them to push against you – they may be testing boundaries
  • give yourself a break when you need it
  • try to communicate with each other


Janine Smith | a specialist in pregnancy, birth and parent support

About Janine 659 Articles
As an experienced and qualified practitioner, I specialise in pregnancy, birth and parent support - my aim is to listen, inform, support and reassure when needed. I have worked with parents since 2002 and I set up Birth, Baby & Family in 2011 to provide good information, different voices and links to the best products and services for families.