first grade developmentFor quite awhile I have wanted to target a very specific group of people with our marketing efforts. I refer to this group as “neurotic moms.” Although neuroticism is sometimes viewed in a negative light, in this instance the aspect of neuroticism that I’m referring to is vigilance (I could just call them “vigilant mothers” but it’s not half as catchy as “neurotic moms”).

To be vigilant means to take careful watch and to be on the alert. A quality I respect most in a mother. I wish every mother was vigilant about their children’s needs and development.

Anyways, the other day I was excited to discover a blog by one of our affiliates that perfectly caters to “vigilant mothers.” In fact, I was so excited about this blog that I also wrote about it yesterday. It’s called smartfirstgraders.com.  As I perused the content I discovered several facts that every vigilant mother out there would be dying to know about their first grade children:

  1. Children in first grade are strict judges. They see the world as black or white, right or wrong, good or bad.
  2. First graders can be easily embarrassed about imperfections or mistakes.
  3. First graders want and need to get outside and play, but the desire to plop down in front of the TV or a computer game can be at least as compelling. Kids may need a nudge from you, or possibly even a full-blown push, to get them outside and staying active.
  4. Vague requests or directions are stressful for them, and they may have a hard time getting started without specific instructions.
  5. First graders appreciate predictability and routine. It can be stressful for kids to navigate the school day, where they may encounter different rules than those they are used to at home.
  6. First graders hate being interrupted in the middle of working on something. It is one of the main causes of emotional explosions in this age, so be sure to give kids plenty of time to finish a task, and to finish it well.
  7. First graders often misjudge their physical abilities.
  8. First graders wonder about the world and ask a lot of "what if" questions.
  9. Unless first graders go nice and slow and concentrate on what they are doing, their writing does indeed tend to go all “scribble-scrabble.”
  10. Kids in first grade love rules, cling to boundaries, and would appreciate a how-to book for every part of their life.
  11. Your 6 and 7 year old children are developing longer attention spans. Kids will be much more likely to stick with a project until it is done, or to stick with a problem until it is solved.
  12. They need lots more practice before writing and other small motor tasks become automatic.
  13. First graders have a difficult time keeping still or seated.
  14. Fluency is one of the ultimate goals of first grade reading. Kids with good reading fluency flow from word to word; their words move smoothly from one word to the next. They give some words more emphasis than others, read with emotion, and show feelings through the sound of their voice.
  15. First graders can be rather poor sports when playing games. But it may help to understand that certain areas of normal child development--needing to be right, to win at all costs, and to be seen as perfect—are driving these undesirable behaviors.
  16. First graders are at an optimal age for learning new languages.
  17. First graders still have accidents from time to time, and bed wetting may continue to be a problem for some 6 and 7 year olds (or even older).
  18. The development of certain of foundational language skills, called phonemic awareness, can make first grade reading much easier for children.
  19. Children in first grade are very concerned with pleasing the adults in their life, and often crave affection from parents and teachers.
  20. Children's body-eye coordination is still developing, so skills like kicking, catching, throwing and striking are still emerging.
  21. They generally prefer structured activities to more open-ended experiences.
  22. If a child has a fine motor weakness, she may resist writing, experience anxiety about going to school, or actively avoid situations that require the use of fine motor skills.
  23. Children in first grade begin to want to use real items rather than toys: helping to cook "real food", helping authentically with chores, playing dress-up with "real" adult hats or accessories.
  24. Sometimes your child will have an amazing ability to sound out words on a page, but looks at you blankly when you ask any questions about what happened on that page. This child has strong phonics skills, but her reading comprehension is not so great.
  25. First graders need and crave lots of authentic praise and encouragement for their efforts.
  26. Kids who are successful and happy in early grades are more likely to hold onto that confidence and motivation to keep learning.
  27. By the end of first grade, kids should be counting to 100 by ones. They should also be skip counting by 2s, 5s, and 10s.
  28. An important gross motor skill for first graders is called "crossing the midline", in which children reach or move across the middle of their body to the other side.
  29. Children at this age do like to play rough. Highly physical, rough-and-tumble play is a healthy part of kids' physical development, and also serves important social functions – but should be moderated.
  30. Kids are starting to notice written words everywhere, and may drive parents crazy by reading anything and everything out loud.

These facts hardly cut into all of the information you can find on smartfirstgraders.com. I would strongly urge you to visit the site and learn more about how to help your first grader truly thrive!

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