Child Development and Milestones: Your 6-year-old child

Child Development and Milestones: Your 6-year-old child

Is your child on track with his or her development? Let's find out!

Hello, primary schooler! At 6 years old, your child is about to enter a whole new world of primary school and related activities, and find even more opportunities to grow and develop. What exciting new milestones should you look out for in your little one? 

As we take you through these important developments, you should keep in mind that every child is different and each one grows at their own pace. If you have any concerns or further questions, it is always advisable to visit your paediatrician.  

6 Years Old Child Development and Milestones: Is your child on track? 

Child Development and Milestones: Your 6-year-old child

Image source: Unsplash

Physical Development

At 6 years old, your child will want to explore more physical activities, including different types of sports that might be introduced through school. 

Some will experience growth at a fast rate and may blossom into natural athletes. Others will show excellent hand-eye coordination, or neat penmanship, showing development at both gross and fine motor skills development levels. 

You should be able to also observe the following developments in your child

  • Improved locomotor skills
  • Capable of tying his own shoelaces
  • Kicks a ball into a goal or throws a ball at a target
  • Grows more permanent teeth  
  • Skillfully uses basic tools such as scissors and pens
  • Writes legibly and draws clear pictures
  • Follows the beat and rhythm of music
  • Uses eating utensils correctly
  • Shows better body balance and coordination
  • Shows refined skills in physical activities such as running , jumping, and even swimming

Tips:

  • Allow your child to join sports and other school activities that encourage physical activity. Besides the obvious benefit of exercise, sports can teach important skills such as team-work, focus, and leadership. 
  • Provide one hour or more of physical activity for your child every day. 
  • Make sure your child knows basic safety precautions when engaging in outdoor activities.
  • Limit your child’s television and computer time to one or two hours a day, maximum.
  • When an activity is known to be risky, such as climbing or swimming, always keep an eye on your child.
  • Teach your child about road safety. 
  • Having healthy eating habits yourself will encourage your child to eat healthily.

When to talk to your doctor:

If your child,

  • Has trouble using basic tools
  • Appears to have a growth issue
  • Still has difficulty sleeping at night
Child Development and Milestones: Your 6-year-old child

Image source: Unsplash

Cognitive Development

Your 6 year old child is just getting used to solving problems alone. While he still remains obedient to adults, there is also a keenness to perform tasks independently. 

At this age, it’s also common for children to see things in black and white with no “grey” areas. For example, “Timmy is SO mean.” This is a normal part of cognitive development at this age, and as your child develops on this front, you’ll notice his ability to start seeing “in-betweens.” 

Here are a few other developments on the cognitive front that you may start to notice:

  • Starts to develop a sense of humour and can understand nuances and word-play in jokes.
  • Can tell you his age.
  • Uses logic and reasoning quite well.
  • Shows improved concentration, focusing on a task for at least 15 minutes or longer. 
  • Easily counts to 20 and most likely, beyond.
  • Counts from 3 backwards.
  • Can tell the time (on the hour) and knows the difference between day and night.

Tips:

  • Allow your child to solve problems alone, offering help only if needed. This encourages your child’s critical thinking and problem solving abilities. 
  • Encourage your child to make his own choices when safe and appropriate. For example, clothes, and meals (within reason). 
  • Answer your child’s questions with an open-ended question. For example, “Why do you think flowers smell nice?”
  • Incorporate learning into daily activities in a fun way. So, when you go to the park or are on a walk together, take some time to teach your child about nature and the environment. Or, at the supermarket, give your child a small amount of money to buy a treat, and teach him how to calculate the correct amount of change. 
  • Don’t talk to your child in “baby language” any more. Try to involve your little one is family chats and discussions whenever it is appropriate.   

When to talk to your doctor

If your child, 

  • Cannot follow three-step instructions like, “Please eat your lunch, finish your homework, and get ready to go to the playground.”
  •  Loses skills he once had.
Child Development and Milestones: Your 6-year-old child

Image source: Unsplash

Social and Emotional Development 

Your child will make plenty of new friendships as he enters the world of school, and learn to negotiate the “rules” of socialisation. Your little one will also start to understand that not all friendships are the same, and may even have “best friends.” 

Peer approval also becomes important to kids of this age. Your child will also be keen to please teachers and friends alike, and will also show more awareness about other people’s feelings. 

Here are some other developments you may notice in your 6 year old child:

  • Shows concern for others
  • Is eager to be liked and accepted by people
  • Prefers playing with friends 
  • Understands the value of teamwork
  • Prefers playing with same gender peers
  • Vocalises emotions and feelings without resorting to crying or tantrums

Tips:

  • Make it a point to find out every day if your child has any concerns or worries regarding school. Offer help whenever there is something stressing him out.
  • Talk to your child about bullying and what to do should he encounter one. 
  • Teach your child about respecting others and the importance of helping those in need. 
  • Assign your child age-appropriate household chores to teach independence, responsibility and team-work. 
  • When your child shows good behaviour, make sure to give plenty of praise to reinforce the behaviour. 
  • Encourage your child to join group activities in school. But remember not to over-schedule your child’s day. It’s important to allow your child down-time, too. 

When to talk to your doctor

If your child, 

  • Still gets anxious when separated from you.
  • Does not interact with other kids.
Child Development and Milestones: Your 6-year-old child

Image source: Unsplash

Speech and Language Development

Your 6 year old child is a proper little chatterbox, capable of conducting conversations, asking questions, and even engaging in debates and arguments.  

Your child at this age typically has a 2,600 word expressive vocabulary (words he can say) and a receptive vocabulary (words understood) of around 20,000 words.  

Let’s take a look at more developments in this arena:

  • Forms simple yet complete sentences with five to seven words.
  • Expressively and colourfully describes experiences, feelings and thoughts. 
  • Starts to understand that words can have more than one meaning.
  • Shows interest in age-appropriate books.
  • Sounds out words that are unfamiliar.

Tips: 

  • Continue reading with and to your child and practice taking turns. Don’t stress if your child cannot read properly yet. The idea is to encourage a love for reading starting early. 
  • Ask your child about his day, encouraging explanations about experiences and feelings. This will enhance your bond and strengthen your child’s speech, ensuring strong communication channels. 
  • Never dismiss your child’s questions, and try to give your child your full attention when he’s talking to you. 

When to talk to your doctor

If your child, 

  • Has difficulty expressing himself in complete sentences.
  • Refuses to write or has no interest in reading at all.
Child Development and Milestones: Your 6-year-old child

Image source: Unsplash

Health and Nutrition

Children around this age will experience an increase of energy needs which means your child’s food intake may rise as well. Typically, a 6 year old child needs around 1,200 to 2,000 calories, depending on activity levels. 

The average weight for a 6 year old child is around 19 kg, and height is approximately 115 cm. 

Kids around this age should ideally consume the following on a daily basis:

Grain group

Your child would need 4 to 6 ounces worth of grains daily for good energy levels. This could consist of 1 to 2 ounces of dry cereal, 2 slices of bread, or 3/4 cup of of cooked pasta.    

Dairy group

For milk or dairy, your little one needs a daily intake of around 2.5 cups worth. So, 1/2 to 1 whole cup of milk or yogurt will do the trick. This enables your child’s bones to grow healthy and strong. 

Protein group

Protein is important at this age since it supports your child’s proper growth. Your child needs 3 to 5 ounces of protein daily, which is 1 egg, or a child’s palm-sized portion of chicken, beef or fish. 

Fruit and vegetable group

Fruits and vegetables are important for your 6 year old child for good health and immunity. For fruits,  they need 1 to 2 cups a day, and vegetables around the same quantity. Try starting your child’s day with a small bowl of fruit salad, and add around 1 cup of mixed vegetables in rice or noodles. 

Tips:

  • Provide meals with a combination of all the groups so that your child could eat healthily for all breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 
  • Lessen intake of sugary snacks and sweets. Try to always provide healthy snacks,s aving the sweets for a special treat. 
  • Ensure your child drinks enough water through the day – around 5-6 small cups (or more, after intense physical activity).  

Vaccinations and Common Illnesses:

Your child should have had the following vaccinations by now:

  • DTaP vaccine that protects against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis
  • IPV vaccine that protects against polio
  • MMR vaccine that protects against measles, mumps, and rubella
  • Varicella vaccine that protects against chickenpox
  • A flu shot which is typically given every year

Check with the doctor if your child’s immunisation records are up-to-date.  

When to talk to your doctor:

Please do not hesitate to contact your doctor or paeditrician if your child is terribly underweight or overweight. If your child has unusual rashes, lump, bumps or bruises, has prolonged diarrhea or vomiting, or has very high fever (over 39 degrees Celsius), you should also see a doctor without delay. 

Previous month: 5 years 11 months

Sources: Mayo ClinicCDC, Web MD  

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Written by

Ally Villar

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