Reading is the primary tool of learning—for the child and for you the author when writing for children. To learn more about a certain age level, go to the library and check out many books on the level you intend to write for. Read what they are reading. Also study the Internet and see what websites they are frequenting. Go to YouTube, Facebook, etc. sites if you are writing for teens. You cannot write for an age group if you don’t understand the members of that group. If you don’t like children, don’t write for them. Don’t try to preach at them—it won’t work. If you love children, then you are the one to write children’s materials.
To be effective with children and teenagers, you must know where they are coming from, what they are coping with. Meet them where they are, not where you want them to be.
Teens and preteens today are facing problems at a very early age that we never had to deal with. Drugs are available everywhere, even in the grade schools and junior highs. Surveys show that the average age a child tries alcohol is 12, marijuana is 13. Many preteens as well as teens enter centers for substance abuse. Teenage pregnancy rate is very high in spite of the availability of preventive measures.
My oldest son had lost 19 friends in violent accidents by the time he was in college. Teenage suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people today. Two-thirds of all young people have been caught in a divorce situation, bringing them feelings of guilt and abandonment.
Keep all these things in mind when writing for children and teens.