Entering kindergarten at the age of 5 or 6 marks the start of your child’s formal schooling. Kindergarten children are still developing both gross motor skills, which involves movement of the whole body, and fine motor skills, which involves the coordination of small muscle movements.
Below are guidelines for physical development and sleep for your Kindergarten child. However, the information here is only intended as a general guide. If your child appears to be lagging in terms of physical development, you should see your pediatrician.
Overall motor skills
Your child’s balance will improve dramatically throughout this year. By the end of kindergarten, your child should be able to jump up to 10 feet without stopping.
Walk on tiptoe
Your child should be able to tiptoe up to 10 feet.
Your child should be able to jump easily.
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.
Kick a ball
Your child should be able to accurately hit a ball at a target 10 feet away.
Catch a ball
Your child should be able to catch a bouncing ball five feet away.
Your child’s fine motor skills will develop 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 every now and then with tasks, like closing buttons or cutting food. It is only through repeated effort that your child will learn to do these things, and learning to deal with frustration is crucial for their emotional development as well.
Grab a pencil
Your child should be able to correctly grasp a pencil or pencil, without using a fist.
Name in block letters
Your child should be able to print their own name.
Your child should be able to eat with utensils and cut food with a knife.
Your child should be able to tie shoes.
Your child should be able to use scissors to cut shapes out of paper.
Your child should be able to screw and unscrew nuts and bolts.
String of pearls
Your child should be able to string beads.
Restful sleep is a basic requirement for a healthy kindergarten child. It allows a rapidly growing body to rejuvenate itself and ensures that your child is ready for the day ahead. Studies have shown that a well-rested child is alert, rested and less susceptible to infections. In fact, a child’s bad behavior or hyperactivity is often the result of a lack of sleep. It’s important to prioritize sleep by making sure your child has a dark, quiet, and comfortable bedroom and by establishing a regular nighttime routine with your child before putting them to bed. A well-rested child will wake up spontaneously and have energy throughout the day.
Kindergarten children need 10 to 11 hours of restful sleep each night. For students who need to get up at 6 a.m. to get ready for school, 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.
The 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.