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Physical Development in Children Ages 2-10

By Candice Hughes ; Updated June 13, 2017

Between birth and age 10, your child has gone through many growth spurts and changes. She has changed physically, mentally, and emotionally. Every child is different, however, and may grow and develop at different rates. If you are concerned about your child's growth or skills, contact your family physician for a developmental assessment.

2 to 4 Years

At 2 years old, your child has come a long way from the burping, spitting-up and helpless baby you gave birth to. At this point, he should begin to run forward, jump in one place, kick a ball and walk on his tiptoes, according to PBS. By the time he reaches his third year, he will be able to do even more, including drawing circles and painting, stringing beads, turning the pages of his favorite book or holding a crayon with his little fingers instead of his fist. PBS also says that at age 4, his accuracy in small motion will increase dramatically, allowing him to make snakes and other objects out of clay and put pegs in holes. He will be more confident and thus able to walk backwards, walk up and down stairs without help and do somersaults.

5 to 6 Years

Your 5-year-old will astound you with her newly developed skills. PBS says that she will be able to cut with scissors and begin to write letters. The National Network for Child Care says that at 5, your kindergartner will be able to dress herself, ride a tricycle, use a knife and fork, jump rope and begin finding interest in activities such as dance or doing headstands and other tumbling behaviors. When she turns 6, watch as she develops throwing and catching skills, the ability to tie her own shoelaces and the ability to ride a bicycle. Kids Growth says that she will even begin learning skills associated with specific games such as soccer or baseball.

7 to 10 Years

Now that your child is growing, Medline Plus says that his baby teeth will begin falling out between 7 and 10 years, making room for his permanent, adult teeth. By 10, your child may even begin growing pubic and armpit hair, and in girls the first menstrual cycle may occur. Your child will also become more adept at skills needed for team sports and may even excel at a sport or other physical activity.

Encouraging Physical Development

As a caregiver, there are some things you can do to help further your child's physical development. Sean Brotherson, a Family Science Specialist at North Dakota State University, says that the most important aspects of helping a child develop physically are having a variety of activities, supplying your child with creative toys and making sure your child has plenty of interactions with adults and peers. Also, he suggests that you offer plenty of encouragement to your child, including adequate opportunity to climb, jump, run, skip, push and pull. If you don't have equipment and toys at home for these purposes, take your child to a local park or gym to encourage her to get physically active.

Your Child's Safety

Making sure your child is safe can help ensure healthy development. Create firm and clear rules that establish safe play and consistently enforce them. According to Kids Growth, teach your child to swim around the age of 6 to ensure water safety, and also enforce strict pool or swimming rules. Always make sure your child wears adequate protective gear for activities, such as a helmet when riding a bicycle. Have safety precautions in place for getting to and from school.

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