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Child Development Milestones: Can Your Kid Do These Things Yet?

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Read Time: 2 minutes

Louise Bates Ames is one of the psychologists who popularized the idea of child development milestones. In the late ’70s she wrote a series of books outlining what kids are capable at different ages.

The one you may have heard about is “Your Six-Year-Old: Loving and Defiant.” That’s thanks to a Chicago blogger Christie Whitley who reprinted Bates Ames’ 1979 “readiness” list for neurotypical kids entering first grade.

It has since become a sort of cultural touchstone. You’ll find it quoted in “The Coddling of the American Mind” by Let Grow Co-founder Jonathan Haidt, and in other articles — here and here, for instance — that ponder how childhood has changed so much in just a generation or two. Really, how it has constricted so severely.

We reprint the iconic list here to create more pondering, and perhaps a renewed recognition of how much kids CAN do — and have done until recently — when we let them! And to help YOU let them…consider downloading our free Independence Kit and other materials for parents — and kids!

The Child Development Milestone Checklist for Kids age 6, by Louise Bates Ames

1. Will your child be six years, six months or older when he begins first grade and starts receiving reading instruction?

2. Does your child have two to five permanent or second teeth?

3. Can you child tell, in such a way that his speech is understood by a school crossing guard or policeman, where he lives?

4. Can he draw and color and stay within the lines of the design being colored?

5. Can he stand on one foot with eyes closed for five to ten seconds?

6. Can he ride a small two-wheeled bicycle without helper wheels?

7. Can he tell left hand from right?

8. Can he travel alone in the neighborhood (four to eight blocks) to store, school, playground, or to a friend’s home?

9. Can he be away from you all day without being upset?

10. Can he repeat an eight- to ten-word sentence, if you say it once, as “The boy ran all the way home from the store”?

11. Can he count eight to ten pennies correctly?

12. Does your child try to write or copy letters or numbers?

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Your Six Year Old Book Cover

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