The 5 Minute Checklist of Common 10-year-old Milestones

Jan 5, 2022

by Camille Everett

Creator of Be That Place

Handwritten notes and lunchtime chats from students kickstarted Camille's mission to help families teach sex ed at home. She is a graduate of Utah State University with a bachelor’s in Secondary Health & English Education. She loves having real conversations while devouring bowls of chocolate peanut butter ice cream.

Boys showing their collections to each other.

Ten-year-olds often like to talk. They are excellent at remembering information that most grown-ups forgot long ago. They find a lot of pride in the things that they know and love to share it.

They are becoming more mindful of what they think and feel about themselves, others and their environments. There is an increase in peer pressure and maybe even stronger expressions of likes and dislikes, what’s cool or not, or what’s smart or stupid.

Emotions are often still felt in extremes with a black and white outlook on life. But, when parents help these kids expand their emotional vocabulary, they become more aware of subtle nuisances of emotion. This extended vocabulary can be really valuable for kids to express and better understand their own feelings.

10-year-old milestones


  • Are generally happy, friendly, and easygoing.
  • Often look up to parents, teachers, coaches, or others in positions of influence.
  • Like creating a sense of order in their world which means they are also more capable with home and school responsibilities.
  • Like to be positively noticed for their contributions by peers, family, and others.
  • Want to show their competence through tangible products; they may become very interested in developing their talents in athletics, music, and art at this age.
  • Are eager to learn.
  • Enjoy talking and explaining.
  • Are usually honest since they are developing a better sense of right and wrong.

Social and emotional milestones


  • Are very social and enjoy being in large groups as well as mixed age groups.
  • Enjoy group activities and projects.
  • Are determining their likes and dislikes.
  • Are quick to anger and quick to forgive.
  • Like helping others which they often show by helping younger kids.
  • Are responsive to friendships and work to solve issues.
  • Are able to listen well and appreciate other perspectives.

Cognitive milestones


  • Have a strong desire to bring order to their world; they love collecting things and classifying things according to details.
  • Enjoy logic and remember rules.
  • Are willing to problem solve.
  • Love learning factual information and excel at memorization.
  • Are becoming more able to think abstractly.

Sexual development

Ten-year-olds MAY…

  • Experience the physical, mental, and emotional changes of puberty.
  • Start to have crushes on peers and people they look up to (teachers, celebrities, older teens).
  • Feel pressure to act in certain ways depending on their gender.
  • Watch media or listen to songs with sexual content.
  • Have questions about their bodies, emotions or thoughts.
  • Wonder about sexual behaviors, especially about behaviors they view in media.

Parents can play a big role in encouraging healthy sexual development. Being open about the changes of puberty is a great place to start. These conversations don’t need to be long or formal. Just little gold nuggets of information scattered throughout normal conversations can help them better understand the internal (mental and emotional) and physical changes that they are experiencing.


It’s worth noting that child development experts generally agree on the following 4 principles:

  1. The stages of growth and development follow a predictable pattern.
  2. Different children do not progress through stages at the same pace.
  3. A child progresses through the various parts of a stage at different rates.
  4. Each stage is uneven. For example, one stage may experience a lot of physical growth while another stage may experience a lot of cognitive development. 

According to the National Center on the Sexual Behavior of Youth, “A small but significant number (about 7 to 10 percent) of children are involved in more explicit sexual activity, including sexual intercourse, by the age of 13.”

  1. Yardsticks: Child and Adolescent Development Ages 4-14 by Chip Wood
  2. Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS). “What is Normal Childhood Sexual Development?” Families are Talking, vol. 3, no. 4, 2015,
  3. National Center on the Sexual Behavior of Youth (NCSBY). Accessed 20 May 2021.
  4. The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN). “Sexual Development and Behavior in Children.”