Child development and milestones: Your 6-years-6-months-old

Jia Ling

From the day your little one was born to now, when he/she can do pretty much all their activities by themselves, its been an incredible journey for you. In the blink of an eye, your precious child is already 6 years 6 months old. But, there are lots more to experience together as you witness your child’s amazing journey.

There are a couple of notable developments you may observe in your 6 years 6 months old child. You might even wonder if he/she is growing and developing at the right pace. Parents, what’s noteworthy is that your child is now at a stage where he/she could struggle with decision-making where even making the choice between chocolate over strawberry flavoured ice-cream could seem like an uphill task. 

But rest assured, this is all part of your little one’s development this month.

In this article, we’ll explore more aspects to your 6 years 6 months old child’s overall development. Parents, do note that this is not a diagnostic tool but a guideline. Do not hesitate to speak with your doctor to clarify any doubts at any point in time regarding your child’s development.

Let’s take a closer look at the milestones your 6 years 6 months old child may have reached.

6 Years 6 Months Old Development and Milestones: Is Your Child on Track?

6 years 6 months old

Photo: istock

Physical Development

At 6 years 6 months old, your child’s physical limits are put to the test. In fact, he/she would enjoy a variety of physical activities such as kicking a ball and jumping ropes. Your child is more active than ever and this would further help develop his/her complex moving skills.

While your child’s gross motor skills are being honed through these activities, you can also expect his/her fine motor skills to be much more refined now. You can now take a step back while your little one independently brushes his/her teeth and completes other daily hygiene tasks. 

Parents, it would however be good to note that your child might start to complain of more physical pains such as tummy aches, leg pains, among others. This is due to the increased awareness of his/her own body. 

Your 6 years 6 months old child should be able to do the following:

  • Adeptly handle zips and buttons.
  • Cut out irregular shapes.
  • Write smaller letters inside the lines in his/her school books.
  • Run in a zig-zag pattern.
  • Jump down stairs.
  • Able to do cartwheels.
  • Catch small balls.
  • Tie shoelaces. 

Tips:

  • Engage with genuine interest with what your child likes to do.
  • Consider swimming lessons and fire safety training for your child.
  • When outdoors, you could explore your local park or a nature reserve together.
  • Set aside some time for free play and let your child decide how he/she wants to spend his/her free time.

When to Talk to Your Doctor:

If you think your 6 years 6 months old child is falling behind in any aspect of physical development, it’s best to speak to a doctor. Meanwhile, be on the lookout for these red flags in your little one:

  • Noticeable and consistent loss of skills that he/she once had. 
  • Inability to perform basic tasks like wearing his/her own school uniform.
  • If your child was previously dry at night but now starts to wet the bed again. Bladder and bowel control is usually mastered by this age. 
  • Has difficulty falling asleep at night or staying asleep.

Cognitive Development

For a 6 years 6 months old child, there’s only black or white: things are either right or wrong, great or terrible, and your child sees another child as either a best friend or an enemy—all because he/she is unable to see the middle ground yet.

You will find your six-year-old asserting his/her independence, both intellectually and emotionally. At this age, you may also observe a shift in your child’s learning, using language and logic rather than from observation and experience.

Fantasy play also diminishes considerably as your little one gains more interest in “real” things, wanting to experience the world as though he/she are like adults. 

Keep an eye out for these developments in your child:

  • Better understanding of the cause and effect relationship.
  • Improvement in memory.
  • Groups objects according to size, shape and colour.
  • Does simple math problems like adding and subtracting.
  • Demonstrates increased curiosity about the world, and asks a lot of questions.
  • Does small experiments to test out own hypothesis. 
  • Gets distracted easily.
  • Forgets small requests and directions.

Tips:

  • Be patient with your little one and understand that he/she is making sense of the world in his/her own terms.
  • Help put things in order for your child as he/she thrives on structure.
  • New challenges might be scary to your child, especially because of fear of failure. Here, it it will greatly help for you to extend your unwavering support. Reassure your child that you are always there for him or her, no matter what. 
  • Teach your child that it’s OKAY to make mistakes. Likewise, let your child see you trying out new things and not be afraid to make mistakes.

When to Talk to Your Doctor? If your child: 

  • Exhibits aggressive behaviour, especially related to hitting, kicking or punching others often. 
  • Displays very withdrawn, worried, or depressed behaviour.
  • Has difficulty communicating and joining other kids during play.
  • Does not recognise his/her name when called.
  • Finds it difficult to separate from you. 
  • Has difficulty following two-part directions like, “Put your bag away and then bring me your soccer uniform.”

Photo: istock

Social and Emotional Development

When it comes to your 6 years 6 months old’s social and emotional development, group play is a vital part to his/her personal growth as it is where he/she gets a sense of security.

Feeling a sense of accomplishment is also what your six year old craves. Group activities such as doing jigsaw puzzles or planting a garden together can feel very rewarding for him/her.

It will also be common to see your child being more open to sharing at 6 years 6 months old. Generally, your little one would be more willing to wait for his/her turn.

In the face of conflicts that may develop, he/she would be open to negotiation and not hesitate to cooperate, keeping in mind of the larger scheme of things (which is to attain a group goal). 

In general, your little one will achieve these milestones at this age: 

  • Places more importance on peer acceptance. He/she is learning the ways of cooperating and sharing.
  • Pays more attention to friendships and teamwork.
  • Wants to be liked and accepted by friends.
  • Craves for a sense of accomplishment.
  • Negotiates rather than being headstrong about his/her wants.
  • Tends to compare him/herself with peers.

Parenting Tips:

  • It would help to introduce him/her to clubs such as girl scouts and boy scouts.
  • Limit direct commands, and let your child have the ability to make choices for him/herself.
  • Send praises to your child.
  • Increase your child’s self-esteem and self-confidence—it helps to pay attention to his/her strengths and positive qualities, and recognise them.
  • Adopt a side-step approach rather than being confrontational, i.e. change the subject rather than let it escalate into an unpleasant situation. 
  • Support your child’s self-esteem, and encourage them to have fun and express themselves.
  • Talk about your child’s feelings with him/her and help put words to these feelings.

When to Talk to Your Doctor:

  • If your child is very shy or quiet after coming home from school, as this could be a sign of bullying.
  • If he/she shows extreme signs of aggression.

Photo: istock

Speech and Language Development

At 6 years 6 months old, your little one enters into a new world of story telling with books and adventures.

His/her imagination is ignited by reading and loves to share ideas with friends. Your child might even express how he/she feels through the written word, allowing him/her to relate better to others.

This presents a good time for parents to introduce a variety of reading materials. Take your little one to the library for a visual treat while you spend that quality afternoon together. 

In addition to the aforementioned, there are other speech and language milestones your 6 years 6 months old child may achieve by now:

  • Speak in simple but complete sentences with five to seven words.
  • Talk up her skills or behaviour (e.g. ‘I can eat 10 hamburgers at once!’).
  • Crafts simple arguments.
  • Follows a series of three commands in a row, for example, “Please wash your hands, put your books away and come down for dinner.”
  • Starts to see that some words have more than one meaning.
  • Uses simple present and past tense in a sentence.
  • Starts identifying word patterns.
  • Frequently reverses letters and numbers.

Parenting Tips:

  • Try and get to know your child’s school administrators and teachers.
  • Keep reading to your child, and have him/her read to you. It’s okay if he/she makes mistakes and never berate him or her for these.  
  • Participate in your child’s homework assignments, but as a facilitator, stepping in only whenever necessary.
  • Practise classroom behaviour. Give your child small tasks to help fine-tune his/her focus, or simple instructions to follow.
  • Have conversations about your child’s interests or perhaps his/her favourite animal or sport, which encourages him/her to listen, respond and question. 

When to Talk to Your Doctor:

Be on the lookout for the following red flags. 

  • Has difficulty reading very short words or simple sentences. 
  • Stammers or stutters excessively. 

Photo: istock

Health and Nutrition: Your 6 years 6 months old

Your 6 years and 6 months old child is growing faster than imagined, and needs more energy to power through the day. While there are many great and healthy options to choose from, it is also crucial to ensure that your child gets the sufficient amount of nutrition needed on a daily basis.

The recommended daily dietary guidelines for a 6-year old is to be at least 1,200 calories per day, including foods from a variety of nutrient groups such as dairy, protein as well as fruits and vegetables. 

By 6 years of age—where growth spurts occur—you can expect the normal height range of your 6 year old child to be about 42 to 51 inches. It is said that the healthy weight ranges between 36 to 60 pounds (16kg-26kg).

Kids in this age group generally grow about 2.5 inches a year and 4 to 7 pounds a year.

Tips:

  • Ensure that the house is stocked only with healthy choices such as fruit, veggies, yogurt, milk, and cheese. Make it easy for your child to see and reach them.
  • Limit liquids before mealtimes.
  • Aim for happy mealtimes as much as possible.
  • Leave sweets for an occasional treat.
  • Serve smaller portions to your child and give him/her second helpings only if asked for. 

Especially with a huge range of superfoods available in the market, you can help your child find the best option for his/her needs.

Nutrition and physical activity goes hand in hand so parents, be sure to help your 6 years 6 months old child get at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day. 

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

Dairy group

One of the most important nutrient groups for a growing child is dairy, especially so to build strong teeth and bones. A child this age requires 2.5 cups of milk or yoghurt in his/her diet—just be sure to choose low-fat options.

Try these great and fun options to add incorporate dairy into your child’s diet:

  • Yogurt popsicles
  • Banana smoothie
  • Rice cream pudding
  • Fettuccine carbonara
  • Date scones
  • Homemade strawberry frozen yoghurt

Protein group

For kids aged 6 years, according to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, the CDC recommends at least 19 grams of protein daily. For parents dealing with a picky eater, do not fret! 

Some ways you can include great sources of protein, sneaking them into dishes:

  • Add ground flax seed to smoothies.
  • Swap oats for some flour in baked goods.
  • Serve edamame (as part of green veggies). Or smash them as a dip or into other dishes.
  • Add red lentils to soups or other foods that your child already likes.
  • Replace regular potato chips with a protein-packed chip.

Fruit and vegetable group

Deal with less stress by injecting some creativity into mealtimes. Make it fun for you and your 6 years 6 months old! Get your little one to help you out at the kitchen as well, and observe how this helps his/her language and maths skill.  

A child this age will need at least 1 cup of fruit and 1.5 cups of vegetables per meal. 

Tips: 

  • Combine your child’s favourite flavours with vegetables. 
  • Involve your child more in the preparation process.
  • Try multiple ways of cooking a certain dish: mashed, riced, roasted, steam or blended. See which your child prefers having it most.

When to Talk to Your Doctor

You should visit the doctor if your child:

  • Is severely under- or over-weight.
  • Vomits or gags often while eating.
  • Is less enthusiastic about the foods he/she usually likes to eat.
  • Experience a loss in appetite than the usual.

Vaccinations and Common Illnesses: Your 6 years 6 months old

Most of your child’s vaccinations have already been covered at this age. Do check with your doctor for common ones your child needs on a more regular basis, like the flu shot.

As your child spends more time in school, he/she could expect to contract more common colds and the flu. There may also be rashes that develop on his/her body which you should keep an eye out for. Encourage your child to tell you if there is any discomfort on his/her body, or if you notice any itching.

Ultimately, it is important for parents to remember that all children experience growth differently. Each and every child is unique. When it comes to milestones, they are just guidelines and not set in stone.

References: WebMD, CDC,  Kidshealth, MSF, Psychology Today, Livestrong

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