Developmental Checklist for 11-13 Year Olds

Take a peek at the number of changes that 11- to 13-year-old children go through.
By Michelle Anthony, PhD



Developmental Checklist for 11-13 Year Olds

Many changes take place between 11 and 13. Childhood ends and adolescence begins. In some areas, middle schoolers are more like adults than their younger peers. Take a peek at some of the major achievements of this age, and then click on the associated hyperlink to get a more in-depth view of the many things that children this age are learning! By the end of this period your child:

Should be able to:

  • Mentally manipulate abstract ideas (e.g., formulate a hypothesis before testing it out). (cognitive development)
  • Project into the future, using thinking and reasoning to develop expectations for specific outcomes and to formulate long-term goals. (academic skills)
  • Look beyond literal interpretations and understand the metaphoric uses of language. (language & literacy)
  • Demonstrate adolescent egocentricism, where she thinks everyone is looking at her (imaginary audience) and that her experiences are supremely unique (personal fable). (social development)
  • Show a marked decrease in creativity along with notable conformity of thought . (creativity development)

 Will probably be able to:

  • Explain his logical reasoning (metacognition). (cognitive development)
  • Consider ideas that are contrary to fact (e.g., what if the sun shone at night). (academic skills)
  • Understand and form analogies. (language & literacy)
  • Move away from parental influence, demonstrate mood shifts (heightened emotions) and increased defiance. In addition, he will likely understand how to participate in and extend peer interactions. (social development)
  • Engage in new kinds of problem solving when prompted. (creativity development)

May possibly be able to:

  • Demonstrate selective attention and other executive function tasks with reliability. (cognitive development)
  • Evaluate the strategies she uses to learn and make decisions based around her metacognitive evaluations and her learning profile. (academic skills) 
  • Independently carry through abstract themes, such as justice in an essay or debate. (language & literacy)
  • Take the path he will continue on into adulthood for vocational interests and peer group choices. (social development)
  • Engage in divergent thinking and formulate open ended questions. (creativity development)



Age 13
Age 12
Age 11