By this age, your child is probably a primary school bub, making his or her academic mark. It’s a big step forward in your child’s development. In fact, more independent than ever, your child may seem like a big kid already. But your little one needs your support in building his or her confidence and character now more than ever.
Let’s explore some of the achievements that await to be unlocked at this point in your little one’s life.
But, do remember that each child is different. Not all children develop a specific skill at the same time. These milestones are guidelines, not strict rules on development.
6 Years and 9 Months Developmental Milestones: Is Your Child on Track?
Around this time, your kid will be more capable of doing a lot of things — some of them might even include dangerous activities too! So, make it a point to remind your child to be careful whenever he or she plays in public places and keep an eye on him or her even when you’re in the comfort of your own home.
As your kid grows, the need for independence increases. Resist the urge to do everything for your six-year-old! If you let your child do things on their own, they will rise to the challenge. They will be able to dress themselves, tie their own shoelaces without assistance, and ride a bike without training wheels.
With more refined motor skills such as climbing, tumbling, running, and hopping, you may start engaging your child in dance lessons or organised sports like soccer. He or she can also start swimming lessons at this time. Fun days are ahead!
- Encourage your child to explore new things and try out activities that interest him or her.
- At this age, many kids may show an interest in illustration. Buy plenty of art materials and make sure you save the best ones and to compliment your child on his or her masterpiece!
- As your child gets more interested in sports, a lot of ‘normal accidents’ can happen, like falling off the bike or scraping his knees. Familiarise yourself with first-aid remedies.
- If your child is training to ride a bike without training wheels, buy all necessary safety gear to avoid serious accidents. A helmet is a must!
When to See a Doctor
- When your child has trouble holding a pencil or is fully unable to hold any art material.
- If your almost-seven-year-old is having a hard time keeping up with peers during playtime.
- If your child is having problems with simple hand-eye coordination like catching a ball.
Your little one has officially entered the primary school years. There will be a lot to absorb at this stage, and school is going to be a huge part of his or her life. It’s important that your child makes the transition to big school well. When your child thinks of school in a positive light, learning is fun and easy.
The good news is you can expect a more focused child at this stage. Your little one should now be able to maintain 15 minutes of focus when it comes to school work and follow a series of three commands in a row!
Your child’s mental abilities are also growing in leaps and bounds, so expect him to understand a whole lot more about the world, including simple humour and puns. You may even see a little jokester on the rise!
Your child’s ability to read, tell time, and understand the concept of numbers should have also improved.
- At almost-age-seven, your child is still developing a sense of distance. Always hold your child’s hand when crossing the street to prevent any accidents.
- Fire safety training is also useful during this age since your child is capable of understanding instructions. Install smoke alarms in your house and teach your kid what to do when fire hazards arise.
When to See a Doctor
- If your child is not able to follow simple instructions.
- If your child lost a skill that they once had.
Social and Emotional Development
The apple of your eye is exploring the world in his or her own little way. Your support is critical at this stage because your child is building confidence, as well as coping mechanisms for times of adversity or stress.
At this age, children start seeking independence from their family, so don’t be surprised when they start volunteering to do simple chores in the house. Gradually give your child more responsibility, and don’t get too upset when your overzealous little helper breaks a plate. Accidents will happen.
Your little one is also starting to recognise social cues which leads to approval-seeking not just from parents, but from peers as well. Your child will also start paying more attention to friendships and teamwork.
- Build your child’s confidence by recognising accomplishments and showing affection regularly.
- Let your child know that you are always ready to listen to his problems. Try asking your child about school, friends, and even things that bother him or her.
- Kids at this age are prone to cheating, lying, and stealing. This is normal behaviour. When you catch your child lying, use it as an opportunity to teach good values. Remind him or her of the importance of taking turns and the consequences of his/her actions.
- Encourage your child to join groups and engage in community work. Support him or her to take on challenges to improve problem-solving abilities.
- Teach your kids to make simple decisions. Let them choose which toys to play with or sports to engage in.
When to See a Doctor
- If your child often avoids social interaction.
- If you observe signs of low energy, depression, or anxiety.
Speech and Language Development
Your precious one is sharing their discoveries with everyone, and it’s just the cutest thing!
At age six, your little one should be able to be understood by strangers 90-100 percent of the time, be able to make jokes, as well as promises. Your child will even be able to make purchases at the store – with adult supervision, of course. Six-year-olds often forget to get the change!
Your child’s vocabulary should be extensive – 2,600 to 7,000 words now. He or she will also start using comparative and superlative adjectives like small, smaller, and smallest.
Knowledge of language is at a complex level. Your child should be using most of the grammatical markers like pronouns, possessives, tenses, and conjunctions correctly.
- There’s no such thing as reading too much! Try reading age-appropriate books with your kid to expand vocabulary even further.
- Reading also enhances imagination. Foster creativity with different literary genres and encourage your child’s passions. This will help to build the persistence to reach for goals in the future.
- Although it may get tiring at times, listening to your kid’s stories is very important. Communication establishes openness, and there’s no healthier relationship than one that encourages trust.
- Keep tabs on your movements and your words. A big part of your child’s development is learning from you.
When to See a Doctor
- If your kid has trouble answering in complete sentences.
- If your kid is isolated and is not talking as much.
- Doesn’t understand the concept of numbers, adjectives, and time.
Health and Nutrition
There’s no stopping your child from growing up! His or her baby teeth may now begin to fall out and get replaced by permanent teeth. Make sure to introduce your child to the Tooth Fairy!
Exciting times are ahead because of all the new people your child is meeting in primary school. Because he’s starting to form his body and self-image at six years old, it’s also important to maintain open communication. This will go a long way in making sure mental health is secured.
You can expect your child to grow fast during this stage of development. He or she will be gaining 4–7 pounds or 2 to 3 kg every year, and grow about 2.5 inches a year.
So basically, your child needs three basic food groups to keep a well-balanced diet — dairy, protein, and fruits and vegetables.
Dairy gives your kids the calcium they need for strong bones and teeth. Consuming a healthy amount of dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt helps your kids to become healthier in the future.
Aside from providing calcium, dairy products also contain protein, riboflavin, iodine, and Vitamin B12. A healthy amount of dairy consumption daily would be 250ml glass of milk, 200g of plain yogurt, or 40g of cheese.
For a growing kid, protein is one of the most important components. Food groups that contain protein help our bodies to build, maintain, and repair tissues. This can be found in chicken, eggs, beans, tofu, and nuts.
Another great thing about eating these food groups is that aside from protein, your kids also get a healthy amount of vitamins and minerals from different varieties.
For a good amount of protein daily, your kid needs about 150gm of cooked red meat or fish fillet, 120gm of lean cooked poultry, or 1 cup canned or cooked legumes. Try mixing up your proteins throughout the day for a fun plate.
You can also try having meatless days twice a week and get your kid’s protein from eggs or legumes.
Fruits and Vegetables
Of course, let’s not forget your leafy greens. Fruits and vegetables should be part of your kid’s everyday diet as these help them get the vitamins and minerals in the most organic way.
Aside from providing your child with phytonutrients, he or she will also be shielded against chronic diseases such as heart problems and some types of cancers.
Make sure to make your kid’s diet colourful and pick out different varieties of fruits and vegetables every day. Try mixing your fruits and veggies to make sure your child feasts on a healthy plate.
Your daily diet for fruits and vegetables should look like this: 1 cup of cooked green or orange veggies, 1 medium potato or any starchy vegetable, and 1/2 cup of raw leafy vegetables. For the fruits, have him or her eat 1 apple, banana, or pear a day then add a 100ml juice with no sugar added.
- Engage your kids in sports to make sure they have at least one hour of physical activity daily.
- Practice healthy eating habits in the house and stick to a balanced diet. It’s good for your kid and for you too!
- Your child needs around 9 to 12 hours of sleep, so make sure he or she goes to bed at the right time.
- Although we live among smartphones, televisions, and tablets, too much screen time has been found to have a negative impact on development. Make your child’s room a no-gadget zone.
- Keeping your child’s body healthy includes trips to the dentist! Visit the dentist regularly for cleaning and check-ups.
When to See a Doctor
- If your child is not getting enough sleep or is sleeping more than 9 to 12 hours a day.
- If your child’s growth is stunted.
Vaccinations and Common Illnesses
At this phase in your kid’s life, it’s normal to get the common cold, an occasional coughs, or a sore throat every now and then. But of course, you still need to keep an eye on your ball of energy before anything becomes serious.
Common illnesses for six-year-olds include ear pain, urinary tract infection, and bronchiolitis. Although these conditions have common remedies, you should still seek your paediatrician’s advice.
By this time, your kid should have gotten all his vaccinations. To be safe, check with your doctor if he has any follow up immunisations. Also, double-check if your child already has protection from the following:
- Diphtheria, tetanus, and whooping cough
- Chickenpox (varicella)
- Influenza — this should be taken every year
- Polio (IPV)
- Mumps, Measles, Rubella (MMR)
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