By the age of 6 years, the child has now entered primary school. She is now entering the middle childhood phase. There is a routine to her daily life. There is a relative stability in development. There is now a maturity that you can sense in her talk most of the times, but occasionally you will also see the baby in her. Independence and curiosity are two traits that you will see a surge in, in this year. If we consider the specific domains of development, the checklist that parents need to be aware of is as follows:
I. Physical Development
Physical Development includes the mastering of movement and balance and the development of both gross and fine motor skills.
Gross motor skills involve the use of body's big muscles and fine motor skills involve the use of small muscles.
A. Gross Motor Skills:
- A 6-year-old can ride a bicycle.
- She can move in time with music or a beat.
- She can perform advanced activities like athletics and dance.
B. Fine Motor Skills:
- She can tie and untie shoelaces.
- She can write and draw more accurately.
II. Language Development
A child is exposed to language even before his birth as language development begins with hearing and hearing begins in the mother's womb. Language development is the ability to listen, understand the spoken word and express oneself verbally.
- Speech is now fluent.
- Vocabulary is now more than 5000 words.
- She understands the concept of opposites.
- She asks the meaning of unfamiliar words.
III. Cognitive Development
Cognitive development is the ability through which a child learns to reason, solve problems and think systematically. It includes the development of all skills pertaining to learning and thinking.
- By the age of 6, the child develops reasoning skills.
- She can solve complicated jigsaws and puzzles.
- She can count objects till 10.
- She can state her age.
- She can understand cause-effect relationships, magical thinking disappears.
- Her drawings become more intricate.
- Learning shifts from observation and experience to language and logic. The analytical ability is now put to use everywhere.
- She can now understand the concept of conservation, such that if a liquid is transferred from a container to another, she now knows that the quantity is the same.
IV. Social-Emotional Development
Social and emotional development go hand in hand as the development in one area often has an impact on the development in the other. Social development is the ability to interact and communicate with others and develop and maintain relationships. Emotional development is the ability to express and manage our emotions. Development in this area has a direct impact on the self-esteem and self-confidence of the child.
- Independence is gradually increasing.
- There is a good sense of right and wrong.
- Insecurity is also high and has a fear of monsters, kidnappers etc.
- The child is sensitive about the needs of others but is still focused on self. She craves for attention from parents and teachers.
- Friendships are unstable and may at times be unkind to peers.
- She always wants to win and may change rules to suit self.
- At times there is rigidity in thought, she becomes very demanding and may be unable to adapt to new situations.
- Emotional sensitivity is high. She may be hurt by criticism, blame or punishment.
- By the 6th birthday, a sense of humour gradually develops.
- Friends are generally of the same gender.
- She wants parents to play with her, but also wants to be the ‘big' kid.
- A 6-year-old is generally curious, active and engrossed in school and new friendships.
At this age, it becomes essential for parents to provide consistent structure at home to help their children adapt to the disciplined world of school. Parents should also give lots of opportunities for physical activity to develop skills. It is important for children to show off their accomplishments, so parents should be present to watch them. Reading, painting, non-electronic games should be encouraged.
Click on the link bit.ly/Appystore_ChildDevelopmentalMilestones to watch a video about your child's developmental milestones.
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