Physical Development of 10-Year-Olds

Your 10-year-old is neither a little kid nor an adolescent. At this point, even if she still likes to play with dolls she may roll her eyes when you try to kiss her on the cheek in front of her friends. Because of this, you may not be sure how to parent your older elementary school-aged child. While you should make parenting decisions based on her emotional maturity level, you may also gain some insight if you consider your 10-year-old's physical development.

Ten-year-olds can vary significantly in physical and emotional maturity levels. (Image: Kane Skennar/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Puberty in Girls

Girls typically enter puberty before boys, from ages 8 to 13. According to the Children, Youth and Women's Health Service of Australia, girls may start to see signs of breasts by 10 or 11, their hips may begin to take shape and they may menstruate as early as age 11 or 12. In the coming years, a 10-year-old can expect to see other physical developments, including increased body fat, pubic hair, body odor and additional skin oil production. Early body developments are signs of changes to come and they can cause a 10-year-old girl to have feelings that range from anxiety to elation.

Puberty in Boys

Boys may enter puberty as early as age 10, but some not see many changes of that nature until they are 15. Initial physical development your 10-year-old boy may include enlargement of the testes, penile growth and growth of pubic hair. These initial signs signal impending changes, which include a darkened scrotum, a deeper voice, sperm production, erections and ejaculation, increased muscle mass, body odor, additional skin oil production and more body hair.

Height and Weight

Most children typically grow at a steady pace of about two-and-a-half inches and gain about 7 lbs. per year -- potentially with some periods of slower and faster growth -- until they reach adolescence. Because girls tend to enter puberty earlier than boys, 10-year-old girls are typically taller and weigh more than boys of the same age. According to the 2005 Advance Data from Vital Health and Statistics by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average weight of a 10-year-old girl in 2002 was almost 88 lbs. and the average height was 56.4 inches. In the same year, the average weight of a 10-year-old boy was almost 85 lbs. and the average height was 55.7 inches.

Gross Motor Skills

Your 10-year-old child is in the process of fine-tuning self-initiated movement. For example, she should be able to perform fitness skills in areas such as such as agility, coordination, speed, reaction time and balance with some proficiency, according to She should also be able to execute a variety of movement combinations and know how to adjust her speed, force and direction depending on what the situation calls for. She should have increased physical endurance to withstand a longer jog or bike ride.

Fine Motor Skills

Your 10-year-old's fine motor skills should continue to develop, which can mean clearer handwriting as well as the ability to cut in increasingly complex patterns and create more detailed artwork. He may also brush up on his fine motor skills by learning computer skills, assisting with household chores such as cooking, picking up a musical instrument, and playing board and video games.

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