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
Jan 30, 2013



Developmental Checklist for 11-13 Year Olds

Jan 30, 2013

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