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Your five year old

Your Five Year Old 

A couple of children smiling

Five years old can be a really fun age! Your child loves to play and is extremely imaginative. They still feel little and adorable, but they are becoming quite the conversationalist, and their ability to pick up new information and ask thoughtful questions will seriously impress you.

This age isn’t without its ups and downs. Five-year-olds are still learning to regulate their emotions, so tantrums happen from time to time. Still, your child is moving toward becoming more mature, and is able to do big kid things like going to school and brushing their own teeth.

At 5 years old you can now expect your child to have an increasing sense of humour, use their imagination more and increasing in independence, including get dressed and undressed independently. Your child’s vocabulary will be ever growing, and they will now be able to articulate their ideas in well-formed sentences.  

two children sitting on a curb

Language Development

Your child’s language skills are really exploding at this age. Five year olds are fluent talkers, they use pronouns correctly and understand and use direction words such as 'over', 'under' and 'next to'. 

Children this age love to recount the things that happened to them during the day, and can recall details from hours before. They are also able to carry out more detailed directions than they did before, a skill that will help prepare them for school

When following directions, five-year-olds can usually carry out a three-step sequence such as 'Get your shoes, put on your jacket, and pack your backpack,’ with few reminders. 

Physical Development 

As your child moves from preschool age to school-age, they are growing a bit more slowly, and their round cheeks and chunky thighs may start to lean out a bit. At this age, your child will gain about 4 or 5 pounds a year, and grow about 5 to 8 centimeters. On average, 5-year-olds weigh roughly 40 pounds and are about 40 inches in height.

Your child is no longer a teetering toddler or preschooler. Their movements are becoming more synchronized and their hand-eye coordination is getting more refined. Gross motor skill development allows them to throw and catch smaller balls, run, jump and skip, and even do more complex movements like gymnastics and swimming real strokes. They should also be able to hop on one foot.

As for fine motor skills, your child should be able to do things like feed themselves easily, and may even be able to use a child-safe knife to do things like spread butter on bread. Your child’s writing skills are also improving, which is readying them for exciting things like printing their own name. They also have some ability to dress themselves, such as by buttoning large buttons.

They should have established hand dominance and be "exhibiting a mature pencil grasp called a dynamic tripod (or quadrupod) grasp,” explains Caitlin Sanschagrin, an occupational therapist at Bright SpOT Pediatric Therapy. But all children are different, Sanschagrin says, and you shouldn’t expect your child to have a “textbook” pencil grasp at this age. 

Social and Emotional Development 

One of the things you may notice at this age is just how much fun it is to chat with your 5-year-old. Yes, they still say the cutest things, but they also have a lot of interesting thoughts and opinions to share. They are very capable of participating in conversations and may ask questions to gain information. 

Your 5-year-old is growing and maturing when it comes to making friends and engaging with people outside their immediate family. At this age, children more consciously make and choose friends on their own. 

But as much as your child is becoming more able to adhere to rules and become a team player, they are still very much capable of testing limites, especially with their parents. Regressing in behavior—and even having the occasional tantrum—is typical at this age, and it’s important to remember that you child is young and still learning.

How to help your five year old learn and grow 

As a parent, you may feel frustrated by the fact that your child still has occasional tantrums at 5 years old. This behavior is normal,but there are some things you can do as a parent to help your child navigate these difficult feelings.

Children will get upset and when they do, parents can try hard to empathize rather than diminish their children’s feeling by saying things like ‘stop crying’ or ‘you’ll be fine.’” Even though your instinct as a parent may be to try to make the behavior stop immediately, allowing children a chance to share their emotions is important. By leaning into it with empathy, we give our children an opportunity to express their feelings and for us to help them come up with new ways to express themselves in the long run. 

When to be concerned 

All children grow at their own pace and in their own way, but there are certain signs that your child may be experiencing a developmental delay.

You may want to speak seek further advice if your child: 
  • Doesn't respond to others and have extreme emotions regularly 
  • Cannot say their first name and has little speech 
  • Finds it difficult to play with a variety of toys and tends to play the same game over and over again
  • Has trouble with toileting during the day





Last Updated on Thursday, May 30, 2024

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