Children usually progress in a natural, predictable
sequence from one developmental milestone to the next. But each child grows and
gains skills at his or her own pace. Some children may be advanced in one area,
such as language, but behind in another, such as sensory and motor
Milestones usually are grouped into five major areas:
physical growth, cognitive development, emotional and social development,
language development, and sensory and motor development.
Physical growth and development
Most children by age
Have grown about
2.5 in. (6 cm) since their last
Have gained about
7 lb (3 kg) since their last
to and understand the concept of "10." For example, they can count 10 pieces of
Are learning to express themselves well through words.
Begin to understand cause-and-effect relationships. "Magical
thinking" typical of preschoolers quickly fades around this
Are learning to write.
Start to grasp the concept
Emotional and social development
Most children by
Continue to have fears typical of the preschool
years, such as fear of monsters, kidnappers, and large
Want their parents to play with them. Parents are their
main source of companionship and affection. A gradual shift begins, though, to
fulfilling more of these needs with friends and other people they admire, such
Play in ways that include a lot of fantasy and
Often like to be the "big kid" and feel as if they are
taking care of a younger child.
Usually like to play with friends
of the same gender. Boys most often play with other boys, girls most often play
with other girls.
Start to understand the feelings of others, with
the encouragement of parents and other caregivers. But they are still most
focused on themselves.
Are developing a sense of humor. They may
like simple jokes and funny books and rhymes.
Most children by age 6:
Are able to describe a favorite television
show, movie, story, or other activity.
Speak with correct grammar
most of the time.
Can spell their first name and can write some
letters and numbers.
Read some simple words.
Sensory and motor development
Most children by age
Can control their major muscles. They usually
have good balance and enjoy running, jumping, skipping, and other forms of
Can catch a ball.
Draw a person with at least 8 parts. They can also copy
different shapes and like to make designs.
Can write their
Dress themselves, although they may still need some help
with difficult buttons or laces.
ByHealthwise Staff Primary Medical ReviewerJohn Pope, MD - Pediatrics Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine Specialist Medical ReviewerLouis Pellegrino, MD - Developmental Pediatrics Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics
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