What are the Tween Years?

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Sep 12, 2011

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The “tween years” are effectively the half dozen years prior to the teenage years, where a child begins to develop characteristics and traits, where they start to learn to read and write, develop interests and hobbies. They’re the years normally spent in Primary school with other “tweenies”, before they take the giant leap into post-primary education with teenagers.


Characteristics of a “Tween”


  • Their behaviour can be inconsistent and unpredictable. Whilst they make like to act like teenagers – and can show some very mature tendencies – their natural inclination is still to be a kid and they will retreat to this profile more often than not, as soon as they get bored with acting above their age.
  • Tweenies like to play with toys and very much enjoy the time they spend with other tweenies and younger kids, but they tend to smarten up when an older person sees them playing these childish games.
  • They gain a sense of perception on trivial matters and are able to negotiate or develop an argument on their terms; they start to stand up for themselves in effect.
  • Tweens tend to sleep a lot more and stay quiet for long periods; this may be because they don’t really understand what is being discussed in conversations, and prefer to stay quiet. They also tend to be very blank and white thinkers; they form one opinion and stick to it.


The tween years set the table for puberty and adolescence, and ultimately into adulthood. They’re important years academically, as they try to come to terms with subjects such as maths. If they can negotiate these subjects with ease, then it’s a good sign. On the other hand, if they have difficulty, it might be worth investigating why they’re under-performing.


Understand their age


From a parent’s perspective, they must recognise their children’s actual age, and refrain from pushing them to act older than this, or indeed from treating them like little kids. The temptation is there to lump them in with smaller children for convenience sake, but this might aggravate or alienate them.

It’s important to encourage them to try everything during these the tweenies. This is when they’ll develop their natural instincts and attractions to music, sport or art, and they’ll appreciate all the encouragement they can get to nourish their potential. Make sure they get lots of physical exercise and they are not playing computer games or such things in the house all day. Encourage them to read a book instead of playing these games. They are far more engaging and stimulating for the brain.


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