The five-year-old is busy exploring a new social world in which "best friends" are critical. Empathy skills develop at this age. As a result, the five-year-old has fewer difficulties with social skills, such as sharing. However, still mostly centered on the self, a five-year-old can frequently be found arguing with peers.
The five-year-old loves to plan, and delegating who does what is a large part of the fun. Games center around dramatic play and the imagination. However, a child this age still has trouble differentiating between fantasy and reality.
The adult caretaker can help the five-year-old create and maintain friendships. A child this age may also need guidance in making the transition from one activity to the next. Although the five-year-old has the desire and energy to try new things, he or she often needs "down" time after bursts of activity.
The five-year-old is frequently happy and eager to please. As a result, many parents and caretakers particularly enjoy this age.
During the fifth year of life a child typically:
- Sleeps at night for 10 to 11 hours
- Skips and jumps rope
- Catches bounced balls
- Rides a tricycle and shows interest in bicycles
- Manipulates a pair of scissors well
- Able to run on tiptoes
- Learns to snap fingers, whistle and wink
- Attempts activities requiring complex coordination (swimming, roller-skating, etc.)
- Comprehends 13,000 words
- Speaks in five to eight word sentences
- Remembers stories and repeats them back
- Loves riddles and jokes
- Draws pictures of people and animals
- Understands comparative terms like shorter, taller, larger, smaller
- Counts to 10 and identifies some letters
- Expands attention span and concentrates well
- Understands concept of time
- Confuses (on occasion) reality with fantasy
- Reacts to some frustrating emotions with physical actions
- May use swear words to get attention
- Is eager to make own decisions and try new things
- Sensitive to feelings of others
- Argues with friends often
- Comprehends concept of right and wrong
- Wants predictable routine
- Seeks security and love at home
- Is very active in short bursts, then calm and quiet for longer periods