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10-Year-Old Child Development: Cognitive Development

The fascinating ways in which the 10-year-old mind is bustling with activity


Family at breakfast
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For many children, 10-year-old child development is a phase that’s packed with learning and rapid-paced cognitive growth. Learning amps up significantly in fifth grade, as children begin preparation for the middle-school years; in fifth and sixth grade, kids begin to tackle more complicated materials in math, reading, and other subjects.

Parents may notice that 10-year-old children can often think and sound almost “grown-up.” Children this age are on the cusp of adolescence, and have the language skills and cognitive ability to gather information and formulate opinions and thoughts that are well-organized and thought-out. As such, many 10-year-old children can be pleasant company at dinner and at social gatherings, and can often express their thoughts on current events, books, music, art, and other subjects.

At the same time, they are still young children who may need to take breaks to just run around and play and take breaks during the school day. Thus, 10-year-old child development is a period that is a bridge between the world of young childhood and the older, more logical and mature thinking and reasoning that characterizes adolescence.

Reading, Writing, Math, and More
Reading skills have moved beyond learning to read, and most children this age are reading and enjoying more complex and lengthier chapter books. They may learn concepts such as metaphors and similes, and will continue to learn more difficult vocabulary words. They will be able to analyze stories, offer criticism, and write essays. Their ability to think logically will become more pronounced, and they will be able to write persuasive essays and argue viewpoints and opinions with more confidence and organization.

In math, fifth graders can be expected to work with fractions, hone multiplication and division skills, and learn more complex geometry concepts. You can expect your fifth grader to learn concepts such as symmetry of shapes; how to use formulas to calculate areas and volume of shapes; and possibly beginning early algebra.Your 10-year-old child will also be able to practice more mental math skills, and will be increasingly more able to use logic and abstract thinking to solve verbal math problems. When studying other subjects, such as history or social studies, 10-year-old children will hone their research skills and use resources such as library books and internet websites to gather and organize information for reports and presentations. Eager-to-learn fifth graders will delight not only in assembling and crafting their research, but will also enjoy having people recognize and appreciate their work when sharing their projects. One example of research and presentation can be a project that is planned, assembled, and executed in preparation for a science fair. As schoolwork becomes more demanding, any difficulty a child may have with reading, math, or other subjects will become more apparent. If you spot a problem, such as math anxiety or trouble grasping math concepts, now is the time to step in and help your child work through any hurdles. Homework will also become more challenging and time-consuming as the class work becomes more difficult and academic expectations increase for 10-year-old students. One of the aspects of 10-year-old child development will be transitioning toward more independence in managing and organizing school work and homework with less supervision by parents.

Reasoning and Concentration
Logical thinking and reasoning will also be a hallmark of 10-year-old child development. Parents can introduce newspapers and magazines geared toward kids at this age, and make it a habit to discuss current events during family time, such as at the dinner table. Parents can also encourage kids to discuss books that they’ve read. At this age, children are hungry for information, and parents and teachers can take this opportunity to encourage and nurture this natural love of learning.

Ten-year-old children are also able to concentrate for prolonged periods of time, and may spend an hour or more concentrating on a task or an interest, such as a favorite book or a game. Parents can take advantage of this increased ability to focus by cultivating any talent or interests, such as for playing a musical instrument.
Read More About Your Ten-Year-Old Child's Development

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