All About Puberty: Facts for Kids and Teens

all about puberty facts for kids and teens

Do you know anyone who’s going through puberty right now? Puberty comes with lots of changes, and it’s an important part of growing up. The good news is that learning about puberty can help you know what you expect. When kids and teens learn basic facts about puberty, they can be healthy and safe!

7 facts about puberty

Puberty is a time when you change from being a young kid into a stronger, more capable teenager. The process starts when the brain releases special hormones that tell your body, “It’s time to grow up!” From start to finish, this transformation takes a few years.

Here are facts about puberty that kids and teens should know!

1. Puberty changes your bones

When babies are born, the skeleton has a lot of soft, flexible cartilage. During puberty, bones get bigger and more dense.

Around age 16, most of the cartilage in your body is replaced by hard, firm bones.

How can you help your bones grow strong? Try to exercise and eat calcium-rich foods everyday.

2. Puberty changes the way you smell

deodorant for underarm odor

For many kids, sweaty body odor is noticeable before other puberty changes. That’s because hormones trigger the sweat glands in your skin to make more sweat. When the bacteria that live on your skin digest your sweat, it creates body odor.

The good news is that daily showers, deodorant, and regular clothes washing can keep those odors away, especially on extra hot days. According to some research studies, eating more fruits and vegetables might help you smell better!

3. Puberty changes your hair

new armpit hair during puberty

New hair here, new hair there, new hair where?

Thanks to puberty hormones, hair starts to grow in new areas around your body. During puberty, everyone grows hair in the armpits and pubic area. Arm and leg hairs also get thicker and darker. For most kids, these are the very first signs of puberty.

Boys will also start to grow hair around their lips and on their cheeks and chins. During the teenage years, facial hair can get thick and dark enough to become a mustache and beard.

It’s also common for girls to grow some new hair on their face, though it’s usually sparse compared to boys. Sometimes people forget about this fact about puberty.

4. Puberty changes your shape

As your body grows taller, it becomes heavier, too.

Other changes depend on whether you’re a boy or girl:

  • Boys tend to get broader shoulders. Even the voice box get’s bigger, and it often becomes a noticeable bump in the neck as the voice gets lower. The penis and testicles grow bigger, too.
  • Girls tend to get wider hips, and their breasts start to grow bigger, too. On a monthly basis, girls also start to get their period which lasts a for a few days.

5. Puberty changes your skin

pimples on skin puberty

Puberty hormones can trigger oil glands in your skin to make too much oil. This can clog your skin pores, which can then cause a buildup of dead skin cells and bacteria. As a result, the pores can get swollen and red, leading to pimples on the skin.

Pimples usually pop up on the face, chest, and back, because these skin areas have the most oil glands.

Even though pimples are are common part of puberty, it can be uncomfortable for a lot people. Washing your skin with gentle soap and getting good sleep at night can help.

For most people, pimples get better after puberty is over.

6. Puberty changes your mood

As your body adjusts to the many hormonal changes, so does your mind. Puberty often feels like an emotional rollercoaster. It’s common for kids and teens to feel confused, frustrated, or worried. Your emotions might catch you by surprise as your mood suddenly changes or feels more intense than expected.

Dealing with these thoughts and feelings can be tough to do alone, especially as you first learn how to cope with your emotions. For many people, talking to a trusted friend, sibling, parent, or teacher can be a big help.

You can also write about your emotions in a journal. Exercise and mindfulness activities are other helpful ways to feel better and in control of your emotions.

7. Puberty changes your sleep

teenagers usually need to sleep later

With all of these major changes, getting plenty of sleep is super important! Most teenagers need around 9 hours of sleep every night.

So what’s the best time to head to bed? Great question!

Before puberty, the body usually feels sleep around 8 o’clock at night. During puberty, the body’s sleep cycle starts to shift a couple hours later. So the body starts to feel sleepy around 10 o’clock.

To get enough sleep at night, tween and teens should wake up later in the morning. In real life, this can be tricky due to school schedules. Teachers, doctors, and policy makers are brainstorming ways to make school start times healthier and practical.

More facts about puberty

When your body starts puberty, your brain releases a special hormone called the gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH). Then, the GnRH hormone tells other parts of your body to make more hormones. All of these hormones tell your body to start growing and changing.

For girls

Puberty usually starts sometime between age 8 to 13 years.

For boys

Puberty typically starts between age 10 to 15 years.

Growing up is NOT a race!

Of all of these puberty facts, here are the most important take away points:

  • Everyone grows at their own pace.
  • It’s normal for kids to experience puberty changes at different times.
  • People come in all kinds of shapes and sizes before, during, and after puberty.
  • Puberty can be a tough time for many kids. Parents, doctors, and teachers are here to help!

Learn more amazing facts about your body!

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Human Body Learning Lab is the best anatomy book for kids! Have fun learning science facts and health tips with cool hands-on projects and diverse, realistic images!

Updated on May 11, 2023 by Betty Choi, MD

Updated on May 11, 2023

by Betty Choi, MD