Physical development in children sometimes seems to happen at light-speed. Seemingly almost overnight, your child has morphed from a chubby toddler into a lanky grade-schooler whose limbs seem to be lengthening by the day. During this age of child development, which is sometimes referred to as middle childhood, kids can grow an average of 2 to 2.5 inches each year.
While physical development can vary among school-age children, there are some general guidelines you can follow as you track your child’s milestones.
By age 5, most children:
- Can hop, skip, jump, and even stand on one foot for a few seconds.
- Are able to throw and catch a ball (usually with two hands).
- Can copy shapes such as triangles or circles, draw stick figures, and even print letters.
- Are more skillful at using a spoon or a fork, and may even be able to cut soft foods with a butter knife.
- Can brush their own teeth, wash themselves and wipe their own bottoms (though parental supervision and help will still be needed).
- Begin to lose their baby teeth.
- Begin to lose fat and gain more muscle.
By age 6, most children:
- Can show off ever-improving locomotor skills, such running, jumping, skipping.
- Show improved ability to follow movement patterns, and may even be able to perform some basic dance moves.
- Demonstrate stronger hand-eye coordination (are better able to kick a ball into a goal or throw a ball at a target, for instance).
- Can play a musical instrument.
- Are able to follow rules of a game or sport (soccer, for instance, becomes more meaningful to them than when they were younger).
By age 7, most children:
- Can ride a two-wheeled bicycle.
- Are able to perform movements that are done while standing in one place such as twisting, turning, spinning.
- Show improved skill at performing simple chores, such as making the bed or sweeping the floors.
By age 8, most children:
- Can combine locomotor and motor skills more fluidly (turn, spin and jump -- such as in basketball).
- Continue to demonstrate improvement in coordination.
By age 9, most children:
- May begin to experience early signs of puberty (girls usually display signs around age 8 or 9; boys are more likely to enter puberty a bit later, around age 10 or 11).
- Experience a growth spurt, getting significantly taller and gaining more weight.
By age 10, most children:
- Can demonstrate improved agility, speed, coordination and balance.
- Begin to show signs of puberty such as oily skin, increased sweating and hair growth under arms and on genital areas.
- Experience a voice change (usually more noticeable in boys).
- Are able to perform more complex household tasks such as cooking or doing laundry.