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Motor Development For Kids Aged 4-6


Some kids are great little athletes, others are slow runners and many are a bit clumsy. Every child is different, and between the ages of 4 to 6 years old, those distinctions become more apparent. This is especially true as you watch your little ones play with the neighbors or run around the bases at tee-ball. At this point, you might begin to wonder, does my son or daughter have age-appropriate motor skills? Learn more about the average pace of development for this age group:

Gross motor development

This term refers to the use of large muscle groups, like the legs, arms and torso. According to ParentHelp123, 4- to 6-year-olds should have sufficient gross motor development, meaning they can walk, run, climb, kick, dance and tumble. That's likely while you'll start to see your kids leaping from the playground to the wood chips. On average, this age group can hop on one foot - so see how well your little on fares at hopscotch or jump rope.

As far as arm development goes, Positive Parenting Ally explained children should be able to throw and aim a ball by age 4, meaning weekend afternoons spent watching tee-ball games are right around the corner! This age group might also be monkey-bar masters and have an uncanny ability to climb to the tops of trees.

Fine motor development

This facet of growth applies to the development of smaller muscle groups, like the fingers and toes. Between the ages of 4 to 6, these skills progress rapidly. These children should be able to cut out shapes (safety scissors are ideal), draw and begin writing. Unlike their younger counterparts, images you hang on the refrigerator will likely contain distinct faces, bodies, arms and legs. Overall, drawn images and written letters should begin to look more symmetrical and of similar sizes.

Little boy doing homework at desk.Your child's artwork and writing can reveal a lot about fine motor skills.

Spotting the red flags

Now that you know the average development stages of children in this age group, you have a standard to which you can measure your son or daughter's own progress. Remember, not every 4- to 6-year-old is directly on pace with the "norm." For example, perhaps your 6-year-old daughter can't make it across a balance beam unassisted like her classmate can, or maybe you still can't tell the difference between a dog and a person in your 4-year-old's drawings.

However, certain red flags might indicate a greater issue is at play other than your child not being the next Gabby Douglas or Picasso. For example, according to the a 2007 report called "Red Flags: Early Identification in Leeds, Grenville & Lanark," if your 5-year-old doesn't dress him or herself or can't use scissors, this might be cause for concern regarding fine motor skills. Meanwhile, you should consult with your child's pediatrician if he or she can't walk up the stairs while alternating feet, ride a tricycle or stand on one foot without help. The report provides a more comprehensive list you can use to evaluate your little one's development.

Never hesitate to reach out to your child's doctor if you're worried about his or her motor skills. It's important to work with your kid's health care professional to determine what you can do at home to promote growth.

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