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Dr. Lise Eliot
Early Childhood Mental Development Expert
VTech Expert Panel Member
Six is a big turning point, when children can absorb more formal teaching and begin to comfortably read simple books or passages. While the greater demands of school can be a big change, most six-year-olds are optimistic about learning and enjoy the routine of school days.
Here are some typical milestones you may see in your six-year-old:
Language & Cognitive Development
  • Pays attention for 15 minutes at a time
  • Expands vocabulary rapidly
  • Speaks clearly but may still have trouble with sounds like “r” and “th”
  • Reads short books or paragraphs silently or aloud
  • Counts to 200 and backward from 20
  • Understands “odd” versus “even” numbers
  • Understands the difference between addition and subtraction
  • Begins to read music with instruction
  • Memorizes lines for short plays or lyrics for songs
  • Distinguishes left from right, but may reverse “b” and “d” in printing
  • Comprehends abstract thinking – like understanding that the earth is round even though it looks flat
Physical & Motor Development
  • Bounces a ball 4-6 times
  • Rides a bicycle without training wheels
  • Ties shoelaces
  • Learns some specific sports skills like batting or hitting a tennis ball
  • Enjoys competitive games
  • Dances in time to a beat or rhythm and remembers simple movement routines
Social & Emotional Development
  • Enjoys being with peers though conflicts may remain frequent
  • Prefers same-gender playmates
  • Views things as right or wrong with little middle ground
  • Sensitive to criticism and may have difficulty admitting a mistake
  • Understands opposite opinions
Remember your child is a wonderful, unique individual and may not exhibit every one of these milestones. A wide range of behaviors is considered normal and some children will demonstrate certain abilities earlier or later than this schedule. Should you have any concerns about your child’s progress, please ask your pediatrician or family physician.