Going to first grade can feel like a really big deal, both to kids and their families. Moving up from kindergarten means big changes in the way kids begin to think and interact with the world, and the milestones you may see this year show that. You might not see a big change in your child’s physical skills this year. But you can expect to see big changes in social and thinking skills.
Check out these developmental milestones to get a sense of which skills are typical for first graders. But keep in mind that first graders aren’t all the same age and will develop at different rates. So if your child isn’t doing a few of these things yet, don’t panic.
Most kids gain stamina and coordination during first grade. They may start the year a little uncoordinated, because the big muscles in their arms and legs are better developed than the small muscles they use for smaller movements. What kids can do physically this year doesn’t change as much as how well they’re able to do it.
By the end of first grade, most kids will:
By the start of first grade, kids may use language in long and complicated sentences to tell about past, present, and future. But this year, they may start combining spoken language with reading and writing. First graders typically:
Social and Emotional Milestones
Your first grader’s social-emotional skills are an interesting mix of independence and an increased need for your attention and approval. By age 7, kids typically start to understand that friendships aren’t something they can control by themselves. That may make them a little anxious. Many kids also:
There’s a lot of variation in how quickly kids develop skills throughout first grade. Your child may meet social and emotional milestones before physical milestones or vice versa.
If your child isn’t doing most of these things by the end of first grade, connect with the teacher or talk to your health-care provider about your concerns. If your child needs support in some skill areas, now is a good time to start.
By Bob Cunningham, EdM
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