Physical Development: Ages 6–7
The natural physical development of children at this stage is tied strongly to plenty of playtime and exercise, which means limits must be established for their time in front of a TV or computer. This is the age in which motor skills are becoming more refined and children are often introduced to organized sports, with soccer a popular entry option for boys and girls.
At this stage, children typically:
- Refine coordination of large and small muscles
- Refine hand-eye coordination
- Will be able to draw and write with greater control and precision
- Move in time to the beat or rhythm of music
- Ride a two-wheel bike
- Learn important swimming skills
- Have better balance and coordination
- Refine the skills of climbing, running, skipping, hopping and tumbling
- Learn sports involving good physical control
- As they refine their motor skills, 6-year-olds may be able to participate in activities like jumping rope and playing catch.
- 6-year-olds will become more adept at drawing and writing letters, and their pictures and stories will look much more recognizable and legible.
- 7-year-olds can perform more difficult movements such as twisting, turning or spinning while standing in one place.
- 7-year-olds can combine motor skills such as running and kicking a ball, or performing dances to music.
- 7-year-olds may become interested in complicated projects because they have the ability to use a pencil, brush or other tools.
What Parents Can Do
It’s never too early to get your child on the path to a healthy lifestyle. Here are activities and suggestions that can help children this age in their physical development and in the establishment of sound fitness habits.
- Provide opportunities for a variety of physical activities, including family activities such as bike rides, hikes and active games.
- Make sure your child has one hour or more of physical activity each day.
- Be a role model by eating healthy at family mealtimes and having an active lifestyle.
- Limit time for watching television, playing video games and playing on the computer to one to two hours per day. That will lead to more active play.
- Teach your child about nutrition, and involve them in food shopping, as well as the planning and preparing of meals.
- Provide balanced meals, but don’t be overly concerned about your child’s preferences at this age.
- Don’t eliminate treats, but let children know that sweets and high-fat treats are not everyday food items.
- As part of a regular diet, plan healthy snacks such as apple wedges and whole-grain crackers.
Keep This in Mind
All children don’t develop the same physically. In fact, there can be a wide variance. So parents should avoid comparing their child’s development to another child’s. Whether children this age begin to participate in competitive sports or prefer the playground, the most important thing is ensuring they have the opportunity for physical activity every day. Exercise plays a major role in development of children this age, and kids should be encouraged to play and get plenty of aerobic exercise such as biking, swimming and running.