The Skills Children Need to Succeed in Fourth Grade

Identify signs of trouble and strategies to thrive at this grade level

Fourth grade is a year of change for students, but parents can help children thrive at this academic level by identifying the skills youngsters need to succeed. After all, in fourth grade, children have moved beyond the primary elementary grades to the intermediate levels. Accordingly, they face a number of social, physical and cognitive challenges as they transition academically and mature.

Savvy and attentive parents can take steps to improve children's success in fourth grade by learning what their children should expect and preparing to meet those challenges.


fourth grade classroom
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Fourth grade  brings forth a tumultuous tangle of social relationships; your child may be trying to find her niche and a lasting group of friends. In addition to being able to identify the characteristics of good friends, your child’s skills need to include the understanding that bullying and peer pressure can affect her health.

Her social skills will also broaden to include a deeper understanding of complex social concerns and the ability to attempt conflict resolution without the help of the adults around her.



The fourth grade classroom is a tough environment not only in terms of social relationships, but in terms of work, too. One of the cognitive skills your child will (or should) develop this year includes a burgeoning sense of morality, an inner voice, if you will.

He should also begin to budget his time. But because he’s still working on setting goals and prioritizing, how he budgets may leave room for improvement. He’ll also start hearing language a little less literally this year, meaning he may start developing his own sense of humor. Children this age may grow fond of puns, in particular.


Fourth Grade Physical Skills for School Success

As with most of the skills needed to master fourth grade, parents can expect the physical skills appropriate for the grade level to integrate with the other realms of the fourth grader’s life, both social and academic. This year, she may begin taking part in physical fitness testing at school, requiring her to have more stamina and endurance.

Her eyes are growing at a rapid rate, so you may see signs that she needs glasses for the first time. But most importantly, your child will develop the physical skills needed to keep up with her peers on the playground and the playing fields.


Since fourth grade is a year when children are expected to take on new challenges, it's important to be aware of signs of trouble in the classroom and with friends. Signs of trouble vary, but if your child is experiencing some of the issues on this list, it's time to talk to his teacher or pediatrician about it.


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