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Tip Tuesday #57

Today's tip was contributed by the lovely Beth Pollock who I interviewed earlier this year.  In addition to her website, Beth now has a blog!  Check it out and consider following.

Here's a tip that will help anyone writing about characters between the ages of four and fourteen.

A couple of years ago, I was struggling with how one of my characters should behave.  I googled "eight year old development" and found a website that sells a set of pamphlets about children's behavior by age.  Although it's intended for teachers, I ordered a sample set and found it really useful.  For each age level, they give a quick overview, then elaborate by social, physical and cognitive characteristics.  For example, my eight-year old probably loves group activities and cooperative work (social), may experience a growth spurt (physical) and is industrious, impatient and full of ideas (cognitive).  This really helped me write about Clara in The Next Step (growth spurt and all!).

Of course, not every eight-year-old behaves in the same way, but knowing what the average child is doing can also help you understand when a child is an exception to the norm, and how that might affect him or her.

You can order these Child Development pamphlets, or the book that they're taken from (Yardsticks: Children in the Classroom), at  A sample set of 9 pamphlets, from kindergarten to grade eight, is only $12.  Hope your other readers find them as useful as I did!
What a great tip!  It sounds like these pamphlets are a great resource, Beth, particularly if you write across several age categories.  Thanks so much for letting us know about them!


  1. That is a really great tip. Even if you have your own children to use as your writing guinea pigs, you still need to know what other characteristics and quirks kids have in that specific age range. I plan on checking out the book. Seems like a valuable tool to have on my writing bookshelf.

  2. I've taught 1st and 2nd grade, so luckily for me the mind of an 8 year old is no mystery. Also my wife would say I could just look in a mirror.

  3. What a great idea. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Awesome tip! Thanks for sharing.

  5. Why didn't I think of that? thank you!

  6. What a great tip. One of those things that seems obvious--after you've heard it. Thanks!

  7. What an awesome tip. Thanks so much for sharing.

  8. This is a big clue in the search for our little self.

    Wondering still, if there are older pamphlets and updated pamphlets, and highlights of the difference over the years.

    The eight year old girls I know today, are a completely different breed than what I remember. Drama, migraines, and tantrums...are nothing that I experienced until I was at least 13!


  9. P.S. I would like to start a string of offerings of when and where each of us were in our younger "Self" when we had our first bleed.

    This would be beyond the telling.


  10. I'm glad so many of you liked this tip! It was a big help for me, and hopefully you'll find it useful, too.

  11. I never would have thought of this. Thanks for the tip!

  12. I own Yardsticks. It IS awesome! Perfect for teachers AND writers, yes!