Kindergarten physical development guide: Find out what you need to know

Here's what you should know about your kindergartner's physical development.

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By Aisha Labi

Starting kindergarten at the age of 5 or 6 marks the beginning of your child’s formal schooling. Kindergartners are still developing both their gross motor skills, which involve whole body movement, and their fine motor skills, which involve the coordination of small muscle movements. Below are guidelines on your kindergartner's physical development. However, the information here is intended only as a general guide. If your child seems to be out of step in terms of physical development, you should consult your pediatrician.

Gross motor skills

Balance

Your child's balance will improve significantly throughout this year. By the end of kindergarten, your child should be able to hop up to 10 feet without stopping.

Walk on tiptoes

Your child should be able to walk on tip toes for 10 feet.

Skipping

Your child should be able to skip with ease.

Stand on one foot

Your child should be able to stand on each foot for at least 5 seconds, with their hands on their waist.

Kicking a ball

Your child should be able to kick a ball with accuracy at a target 10 feet away.

Catching a ball

Your child should be able to catch a ball bounced from five feet away.

Fine motor skills

Overview

Your child’s fine motor skills will be developing as quickly as their gross motor skills. One of the most important things you can do to help them develop these skills is to let them struggle from time to time to accomplish tasks, such as fastening buttons or cutting food. Only by repeated effort will your child learn how to do these things, and learning to handle frustration is also crucial for their emotional development.

Grip a pencil

Your child should be able to grip a crayon or pencil properly, not using a fist.

Print name

Your child should be able to print their own name.

Utensils

Your child should be able to eat using utensils and to cut food using a knife.

Lace shoes

Your child should be able to lace shoes.

Scissors

Your child should be able to use scissors to cut shapes out of paper.

Tools

Your child should be able to screw and unscrew nuts and bolts.

String beads

Your child should be able to string beads.

Sleep

Overview

Restful sleep is a fundamental requirement for a healthy kindergartner. It allows a rapidly growing body the opportunity to recharge and ensures that your child is prepared for the day ahead. Studies have shown that a well-rested child is alert, refreshed, and less susceptible to infection. In fact, a child’s misbehavior or hyperactivity is often a result of too little sleep. It is important to prioritize sleep by ensuring that your child has a dark, quiet, and comfortable bedroom and by establishing a regular nightly routine with your child before tucking them into bed. A well-rested child will wake up spontaneously and have energy throughout the entire day.

Nightly needs

Kindergartners need 10 to 11 hours of restful sleep every evening. For students who need to be up at 6 a.m. to get ready for school, their bedtime should be around 7 or 8 p.m.

Learn more about supporting your child with our kindergarten physical health tips and physical activity recommendations pages.

Parent Toolkit resources were developed by NBC News Learn with the help of subject-matter experts, including Dr. Jayne Greenberg, District Director, Miami-Dade County Public Schools.