Oh boy, has time flown by! It seems like just yesterday you had a newborn baby, and now your child is already 5 years old! This is a very exciting time in your child's life. They will soon know how to say over 2000 words, they will be better at sports and have improved hand-eye coordination, and they will start to mature and grow into an independent person. If you are excited to see what happens at this great age, then let’s dive into the developmental milestones at 5 years of age.

Emotional and Social Developmental Milestones at 5 Years of Age

Six years old child sleeping in bed with an alarm clock
At 5 years old, your child will follow directions, like how and when to go to bed.

©LeManna/Shutterstock.com

You will see your child start to grow into their own during this incredible age, and they will have a lot of interesting opinions to share. Be careful, as your son or daughter will be listening carefully to everything you say, and they will repeat a lot of what they hear. Your child will also be very inquisitive at this age, and they will ask a lot of questions in hopes of gaining information and growing as a mature individual.

While many kids are shy up to this point, at 5 years old, they will be more open to relationships outside of the home. It will not be uncommon for them to approach kids that they don’t know and ask their names or try to play together on the playground. Encourage your child to make friends, as learning how to form relationships is very important at this age.

When your child plays with other kids, you will likely see them use their imaginations and pretend to go on adventures. It is also at this age that they will start to outgrow many of their childhood fears and be less timid, so it is important to keep an eye on them. 

Ability to Follow Directions

As mentioned, parents will see that their child matures a bit more at this age. They will be able to follow commands and understand and adhere to expectations. You will see that your child is able to complete simple chores at this time, like cleaning up their toys, cleaning their plate from the table, and moving items from one place to another.

Although you will see your child follow directions more often, it is not uncommon for your 5 year old to start testing your limits. Some children even regress a bit at this age and have the occasional crying fit or temper tantrum. Try not to get too frustrated with them. Remember that they are still a child, and they will get better. 

Language and Cognitive Developmental Milestones 

Although your child will only be at about preschool age, one of the developmental milestones at 5 years of age is an expanding vocabulary. Your child will listen to what you say and start to understand how to use their words properly. They may begin to understand pronouns, recognize colors, and use complex sentences.

Many kids also like to recount the adventures of the day. They will recount what they had for breakfast, what they watched on TV, and other things that they did hours earlier. 

At this point, your child should be able to say upwards of 2,000 words. Most children should also be able to speak in complete sentences of over five words. It is also common for 5 year olds to know their last name and their phone number.

Children at this age will also become familiar with different coins, they’ll have the ability to name the primary colors, and they’ll show improved math skills, like basic addition and subtraction.

Cognitive Development

Your 5 year old will also grow on the cognitive level. They will understand detailed, three-step instructions and sequences, such as, “get your shoes, grab your backpack, and meet me by the door.” Keep in mind that your child will not be perfect, and reminders may be necessary from time to time. Try to be patient.

You will see your child understand all sorts of concepts by this time. They should be able to count past 10, copy and draw shapes, understand the meaning of money, write their name, and much more.

Movement and Growth Milestones at 5 Years of Age

5 year old
Your 5 year old will grow a lot this year and be a lot more active.

©iStock.com/PeopleImages

Your child will be much more active than ever before at this age. Their gross motor skills (coordination and balance) will evolve by leaps and bounds. At age 5, most kids will be able to:

  • Run smoothly with the same actions as most adults.
  • They can throw a ball at a target. 
  • Many kids can also catch a ball properly, even if it is not thrown directly to them.
  • They may also be able to bounce a ball on the ground and catch it.
  • With practice, they can balance on one foot for 5-10 seconds.
  • They can ride a bicycle (typically with training wheels).
  • Jump and skip.
  • Dance and perform basic gymnastic moves.
  • Use the potty on their own.

Parents will also see a vast improvement in a child’s fine motor skills (coordination of the small muscles in the hands and wrists). While every child will develop at their own pace, many 5 year olds will be able to:

  • Build towers of 10 blocks or more.
  • Cut paper in a straight line.
  • Draw basic shapes like squares, triangles, and circles.
  • Write many basic letters, including T, H, V, and O.
  • Hold and use a pencil with good control.
  • Draw a house.
  • Turn on a faucet to wash their hands.
  • Put toothpaste on a toothbrush.
  • Write their first name.
  • Color within the lines.
  • Established right or left-handedness

There will also be a number of physical milestones that you will see in your 5 year old. As they reach this age, most children will:

  • Achieve 20/20 vision
  • Have adult teeth start to break through the gums (though they won’t come all the way through until 6 years old.

Average Weight and Height for 5 Year Olds

It is important to remember that every child will develop a bit differently and grow at their own pace. If you believe that your child’s height or weight is radically different from the averages below then contact your pediatrician. According to LiveStrong and the CDC, the average height for a 5 year old boy or girl is 39-48 inches, and the average weight is 34-50 pounds.

Helping Your Child Thrive At 5 Years Old

Your child is evolving by leaps and bounds at this age on their own, but it is important that you continue to work with them to encourage continued growth. Activities like these will help your child to continue to thrive:

  • Read with them.
  • Teach them how to play sports and games.
  • Give them enough space to be physically active.
  • Encourage your child to play with other children.
  • Limit their time in front of the television.
  • Give your child minor chores to do around the house, like helping to set the table.
  • Bring them out in the community and show them local areas of interest. 

Red Flags for 5 Year Old Development

Although not every child will hit the same developmental milestones at 5 years of age that we have discussed here, and every kid will grow at their own pace, it is important to be aware of potential red flags for delayed development. Signs to watch for include: 

  • They are unusually withdrawn and not very active.
  • Don’t show a wide range of emotions.
  • Displays extreme behavior, such as being sad, shy, fearful, or aggressive.
  • Does not draw pictures.
  • They cannot provide their first or last name.
  • Easily distracted and has trouble focusing on one activity for more than 4-5 minutes.
  • Doesn’t respond when you call their name.
  • Cannot tell what is reality and what is make-believe.
  • Does not play a variety of games.

Conclusion

As you can see, the developmental milestones at 5 years of age are very exciting, and you will truly see your child come into their own. Spend a lot of time with your child at this age and encourage them to keep learning, and they will continue to thrive year by year.

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