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A Blog from Your Kaiser Permanente Pediatricians in Northern California

Your 6-Year-Old

Although your 6-year-old child may seem very grown up as they head off to a day at school or to a play date without you, they still need your support very much. They’ll be developing relationships with friends and teachers, but you are their main source of companionship and affection. They’ll still want to play with you too.

Your child is starting to understand the feelings of others. However, it is normal for them to still be mostly focused on themself. If something negative happens in their world (an accident, divorce, or illness) they will often blame themselves. They think everything centers on them. As their parent, you need to reassure them that things aren’t always their fault.

Most children by age 6:

  • Are starting to lose baby teeth and to develop their first molars.
  • Can catch a ball.
  • Can control their major muscles, have good balance, and enjoy running, jumping, skipping, and other forms of physical play.
  • Dress themselves; although they may still need some help with buttons or laces (and don’t count on well-matched outfits).

They have often learned to:

  • Count to and understand the concept of 10. (They can count – and eat – 10 pieces of candy.)
  • Write their names.
  • Recognize 13,000 words.
  • Speak with correct grammar most of the time.
  • Read some simple words.
  • Grasp the concept of time.

Their social skills are developing. Most 6-year-olds:

  • Can describe a favorite television show, movie, or story.
  • Still have fears typical of the preschool years (monsters, kidnappers, and large animals).
  • Like to be the “big kid” and take care of a younger child. (Let your child help you.)
  • Are developing a sense of humor. They like simple jokes, funny books, and rhymes. They will crack themselves up and keep you smiling, too.

Children usually progress in a natural, predictable sequence from one developmental milestone to the next. However, each child grows and gains skills at her own pace. Some may be advanced in one area, such as language, but slower in another, such as motor development. Enjoy watching your child learn and develop, but try not to worry too much. They are their own person with unique strengths and challenges. If you are concerned about your child’s development, talk to your pediatrician at your next well-check, make a video or telephone appointment, or send an email with your questions.


Disclaimer: If you have an emergency medical condition, call 911 or go to the nearest hospital. An emergency medical condition is any of the following: (1) a medical condition that manifests itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity (including severe pain) such that you could reasonably expect the absence of immediate medical attention to result in serious jeopardy to your health or body functions or organs; (2) active labor when there isn't enough time for safe transfer to a Plan hospital (or designated hospital) before delivery, or if transfer poses a threat to your (or your unborn child's) health and safety, or (3) a mental disorder that manifests itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity such that either you are an immediate danger to yourself or others, or you are not immediately able to provide for, or use, food, shelter, or clothing, due to the mental disorder. This information is not intended to diagnose health problems or to take the place of specific medical advice or care you receive from your physician or other health care professional. If you have persistent health problems, or if you have additional questions, please consult with your doctor. If you have questions or need more information about your medication, please speak to your pharmacist. Kaiser Permanente does not endorse the medications or products mentioned. Any trade names listed are for easy identification only.