Children's Hospital Colorado

Tween FAQs: Common Health Questions (9 to 13 Years Old)

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Adulthood isn’t here yet, but it’s certainly on the horizon. Your child is growing mentally, physically, and socially at a fast rate. Navigate these transitional years and prepare for the teen to come by reviewing these common health questions from Children's Hospital Colorado.

Should my tween specialize in a single sport?

These days, kids are specializing in a single sport at an early age. The upside may be scholarships and professional sports careers. The downside is injury and burnout. Here are our recommendations for helping athletes over the long haul.

Benefits to multi-sport over single sport athletes:

  • Develop diverse physical skills that apply to all sports
  • Reduce repeated stress on joints and other parts of the body
  • Develop social skills within different peer groups

General recommendations for youth athletes:

  • Don’t participate in sports above your appropriate skill level
  • Don’t specialize before adolescence to avoid irreversible injury
  • Ensure your coach advocates proper techniques and emotional support
  • Avoid coaches who want you to “work through” pain and injuries
  • Do more than “rest” when injured (physical therapy may be needed)
  • Monitor for weight loss, decreased appetite, and sleep disturbances

Whether you’re child is ready to specialize or not, you can support their physical development and athletic aspirations by visiting Children's Colorado's Sports Medicine Center.

How do we prepare our tween for puberty?

The path from child to adult is straightforward (thanks to hormones), but not always smooth. Steer kids clear of embarrassment and social discomfort by preparing them for puberty and giving them the confidence to face it head on.

Prepping for Puberty:

  • Talk to your child before these changes begin
  • Give kids a format for asking questions along the way
  • Talk about changes that will happen to the opposite sex
  • Give them signs to identify puberty in themselves
  • Discuss puberty at your child’s level of maturity and interest

Remember, this isn’t a one-time learning moment. Puberty can start at different times for boys and girls and last longer for different kids.

Is my tween too old to see a pediatrician?

Short answer, no. Most pediatricians are trained to treat youth until they are 18-21 years old. They’re also trained to understand unique pre-teen health concerns, like puberty, bullying, acne, and growing bones.

That said, if your tween expresses discomfort or embarrassment over seeing a pediatrician, be supportive and find a good fit. It’s important that your child feels comfortable enough with his or her doctor to talk and ask questions.

Find the right doctor for your tween on our Find a Doctor page.

Prepare for what’s next

Get a sneak peek at the parenting concerns coming your way next in our teenager FAQs. And don’t forget to check out those common concerns that affect kids at every age on our Timeless FAQs page.

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