Developmental Milestones: Kindergardeners, The Fifth Year

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.

27 Developmental Milestones for Age 5

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
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