It’s almost time for school to start, and parents are thinking about school. The website healthychildren.org has a comprehensive review to help parents decide when their children are ready.

Below are some of the developmental milestones that might help parents understand if their child is ready, or if their child might need additional support.

The idea that some children are “ready for school” by 4 or 5 years of age, and others are not, is controversial. Just as children begin to walk or talk at different ages, they also develop the psychological and social skills needed for school at varying ages.

The American Academy of Pediatrics supports wider access to quality early education and equipping schools to meet the needs of kindergarteners at all levels of readiness. This is especially true for children who may need additional support due to adverse childhood experiences or developmental disabilities, such as, autism spectrum disorders and attention deficit hyperactivity disorders.

Birth through age 5 is an exciting time to watch your child grow and learn to do many new things, like smiling, talking, walking and making friends, for the first time. While most children meet developmental milestones around a certain age, some may take longer to reach them.

If you ever have any questions about your child’s development, it’s always good to talk to your pediatrician. Trust your instincts — you know your child best.

Here are 10 physical, social, emotional and cognitive milestones to watch for as your child grows:

• By 2 months: Tries to look at his or her parent and pays attention to faces.

• By 4 months: Copies facial movements, such as smiling or frowning, and responds to affection.

• By 6 months: Likes to look at himself or herself in the mirror and brings objects to mouth.

• By 9 months: Has favorite toys and picks up small items between the thumb and forefinger.

• Around 12 months: Puts out arm or leg to help with dressing and follows simple directions.

• At 18 months: Explores alone if a parent is nearby and points to a body part when asked.

• By 2 years: Gets excited to see other children and begins sorting shapes and colors.

• By 3 years: Is able to dress himself or herself and completes puzzles with three or four pieces.

• By 4 years: Is able to tell the difference between real and make-believe and predicts what is going to happen next in a book.

• By 5 years: Wants to be like his or her friends and is able to draw a person with six body parts.

Sally Robinson is a clinical professor of pediatrics at UTMB Children’s Hospital. This column isn’t intended to replace the advice of your child’s physician.

(1) comment

Gary Miller

Parents are the difference in being ready for school. Good parents thing a child is in school (AKA ready to learn) from birth. I had that kind of parents. When I started school, first grade Oklahoma, the school graded my reading and math equal to the average third grader. That head start made every thing to follow much easier.

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