Typical Development

Typical Development of Self-care, Fine Motor and Sensory Processing Skills

2-3 years

  • Using toilet with assistance and having daytime control
  • Distinguishing between urination and bowel movements, and names them correctly
  • Feeding self simple meals using a fork or spoon
  • Tolerating a range of different textured foods
  • Using a napkin to wipe face and hands
  • Taking socks and shoes off
  • Unbuttoning large buttons
  • Attempting to brush teeth
  • Settling themselves to sleep at night or during the day
  • Having an awareness of a parent’s approval or disapproval of their actions
  • Understanding common dangers of hot objects, stairs, glass
  • Expressing emotions
  • Explores surroundings
  • Engaging in imaginative play
  • Enjoying/tolerating messy play
  • Begins to be able to take turns
  • Strings four large beads
  • Snips with scissors
  • Holds crayon with thumb and fingers (not fist)
  • Uses one hand consistently in most activities
  • Matches circles and squares
  • Imitates circular, vertical, and horizontal strokes
  • Paints with some wrist action, makes dots, lines, circular strokes
  • Rolls, pounds, squeezes, and pulls playdough
  • Knowing where familiar items are kept
  • Sits to look at books independently
  • Turns single pages of a book
  • Pays attention for 3 minutes
  • Points to 5-6 parts of a doll when asked

3-4 years

  • Feeding self without difficulty
  • Independently packing items away
  • Brushing teeth independently
  • Dressing and undressing self (only requiring assistance with laces, buttons, and other fasteners in awkward places)
  • Tolerating different clothing textures, seams, tags etc
  • Toileting independently
  • Builds tower of nine small blocks
  • Copies circle
  • Imitates cross
  • Uses non-dominant hand to assist and stabilise the use of objects
  • Manipulates clay material (rolls balls, makes snakes, cookies)
  • Snips paper using scissors
  • Can count 1-5
  • Knows most colours
  • Playing with 2 or 3 children in a group
  • Taking turns
  • Can differentiate between real and pretend world
  • Social encounters are acted out through play activities

4-5 years

  • Developing friendships
  • Following rules
  • Choosing weather appropriate clothes
  • Dresses and undresses independently
  • Develops friendships
  • Playing with 4 or 5 children in a group
  • Knows shapes
  • Copies cross
  • Copies square
  • Handedness is well established
  • Cuts on line continuously
  • Writes name
  • Copies letters
  • Can count 1-10
  • Writes numbers 1-5
  • Able to sit and pay attention (e.g. mat time)

5-6 years

  • Morning routine at school (putting bag away, swapping readers, putting drink bottle in correct spot)
  • Opening lunch boxes, zip lock bags, food packaging
  • Coping in busy/noisy environment
  • Packing a bag for school or other outings with assistance
  • Cuts out simple shapes
  • Uses a 3 fingered grasp of pencil and uses fingers to generate movement
  • Copies triangle
  • Can copy complex shapes, such as a diamond
  • Colors within lines
  • Can draw basic pictures
  • Able to write numbers and letters
  • Begins to be able to write simple sentences
  • Should be sounding out simple words like “hang”, “neat”, “jump” and “sank”
  • Pastes and glues appropriately
  • 20/20 vision
  • Begins to recognise others perspectives
  • Knows left and right
  • Begins to reason and argue; uses words like why and because
  • Can categorize objects: “These are toys; These are books”
  • Understand concepts like yesterday, today, and tomorrow
  • Can sit at a desk , follow teacher instructions, and independently do simple in-class assignments

6-7 years

  • Eating a range of food and tolerating different textures
  • Showering independently
  • Ties shoelaces independently
  • Are willing to take on more responsibility (i.e. chores)
  • Packing a bag for school or other outings with little assistance/prompting
  • Telling the time
  • Knowing where their body is in time and space to coordinate body movements for ball skills
  • Inhibiting the need to talk/ask questions
  • Forms most letters and numbers correctly
  • Writes consistently on the lines
  • Demonstrates controlled pencil movement
  • Good endurance for writing
  • Can build Lego, K’nex and other blocks independently
  • Develops a longer attention span
  • Understands fractions and the concept of space
  • Enjoys reading a book on their own
  • Recognises others perspective

7-8 years

  • Recalling events and describing them
  • Remembering a sentence to write that was just thought about or told
  • Attending for longer periods of time
  • Sitting still (e.g. in class, at mealtimes)
  • Taking on more responsibilities e.g. chores
  • Telling the time and displaying time management skills
  • Inhibiting the need to talk and ask questions
  • Preparing simple meals e.g. cereal, sandwich
  • Maintains legibility of handwriting for entirety of a story

Adapted from: https://childdevelopment.com.au/resources

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