It is important to remember your child is unique and will develop in their own way as all children develop at different rates. They are not only growing physically but learning all about the world around them.  All sorts of different things will influence and affect how your child develops and it is important to remember that no two children are the same.  

Our information is intended to provide some useful guidance around the expected ages children will achieve their development milestones.  Also highlighted are some suggestions and advice around activities that will support you to encourage the development of your child’s gross and fine motor skills as well as their communication and interaction.

If you are concerned about your child’s development and feel they are not developing as you would expect please contact the service on the link below to discuss your concern’s further with a therapist, and if needed an assessment will be arranged.

What your child should be able to do

4-6 years

  • Your child will have no problems running, jumping, and hopping well on the spot
  • They will be able to skip forwards after demonstration
  • They will be able to hang from a bar for at least 5 seconds
  • Be able to step forward with leg on same side as throwing arm when throwing a ball
  • Able to catch a small ball using hands only
  • Cut along a line consistently
  • Coordinate hands to brush teeth and hair
  • Copy a circle, cross and a square
  • Write their name and using a tripod grasp (3 point grasp)
  • Use their preferred hand for most activities
  • Dress and undress independently
  • Trace on a line with control

6-7 years

  • They will now be running lightly on toes
  • Able to walk on a balance beam
  • Able to skip using a skipping rope
  • Can cover 2 metres when hopping
  • Able to demonstrate more mature throwing and catching patterns
  • Jumping skills will be becoming more mature (refined)
  • They will be able to ride a bike without stabilisers
  • Form letters and numbers correctly
  • Cut neatly around shapes
  • Be able to write for longer periods
  • Use a knife and fork for soft foods
  • Tie shoe laces

How can you help

You can find useful tips, hints and advice on ways to help support your child’s gross and fine motor skills via the links below, remember lots of encouragement and over practise of the skills they find most difficult will help your child to improve. Also encouraging them to join sports clubs and teams will be a fun way to help them get stronger and improve their physical skills.

When to seek support

  • If you child’s gross motor skills are deteriorating or if they are losing physical skills completely, that they could previously do
  • If your child if struggling to get up from the floor
  • Clumsiness
  • If your child is struggling to keep up with their peers in PE lessons
  • If you child is struggling to hop, jump and skip

What your child should be able to do 

4-5 years

  • Your child will be able to listen and understand what you are saying, without necessarily stopping what they are already doing.
  • Their understand of language is getting more complex, including language required for sequencing such as “first” “then” “last”
  • Your child’s sentences are also developing, but you might still notice them making some errors, such as “goed” instead of ‘went’ and “dices” instead of ‘dice.’
  • The range of speech sounds your child is using is also broadening, although they may still find some words tricky, especially those with a r, l, ch, j or where there are two or more sounds together, such as ‘br’ in “bread” or “sl” in ‘slide.’

5-7 years

  • Your child can focus on one task for a longer period of time without being reminded.
  • They can follow instructions that contain 2 or 3 parts, such as “go upstairs, take off your socks, and put them in the basket”
  • Your child’s vocabulary is getting bigger and bigger, they now know that words can be grouped, such as ‘vegetables’ ‘animals’ ‘sea creatures.’
  • Can use some irregular verbs, such as ‘swam’ or ‘ran.’
  • Your child can use words such as ‘and’ and ‘because’ to join their ideas together.
  • They can retell their favourite stories, sometimes using their own words. 

How can you help

  • Asking your child lots of questions can often put them on the spot, and they may not have the ideas and words ready to share with you. Remember to follow their lead in the conversation and give them plenty of time to talk. It’s also useful to try offering comments and reduce questions. You might find your child has more to say then! Check out how you can do this here:
  • Reduce Questions and Make Comments PDF
  • Your child’s understanding of language can be supported in many ways, such as breaking down longer instructions, ensuring they are listening to you first and using visual supports where necessary. Take a look on our First Call resource here 
  • Alternatively, take a look at this handy advice sheet:
  • Being able to hear and recognise sound patterns in words is not only helpful for speech sound development, but also reading and writing. Supporting your child with rhyme, syllables and breaking words up into their individual sounds (such as d-o-g). Take a look at the links below for ideas on how to support these skills at home:
  • You can find more hints, tips and advice on supporting your child’s communication and interaction at:
  • As children get older, their understanding of language moves from being about the ‘here and now’ to becoming more abstract; thinking and talking about what has happened and predicting what might happen next. Try out some of these activities: 
  • Sequencing is a key skill to supporting storytelling and is also needed for that abstract thinking we were talking about above. Check this out to support your child’s sequencing skills:
  • Without the right words, or understanding which word to use, your child may find it tricky using sentences that can be followed. Supporting your child to learn new words and grow their word bank will help their sentences become more meaningful. There’s lots of games and activities that can make word learning fun!

When to seek support

  • Your child does not have the right words to say what they want.
  • Their sentences appear jumbled and tricky to follow.
  • They have difficulties following “who” “what” and “where” questions.
  • Difficulties with the k, g, t, d, f, s sounds.
  • Their speech is generally difficult to be understood.
  • Your child only responds to part of an instruction, this is usually the beginning or the end.
  • Your child uses short sentences, often jumbled or with words missing.
  • They find it hard to make up stories.
  • They find it tricky to learn and understand the meanings of words.

If you have any concerns regarding your child's development please click on this link to refer your child into the service, you will then receive a telephone call from a member of the team to discuss your concerns further and organise an assessment as appropriate.