Your Child at Five Years

What Most Children Do at this Age:


  • Wants to please friends
  • Wants to be like friends
  • More likely to agree with rules
  • Likes to sing, dance, and act
  • Is aware of gender
  • Can tell what’s real and what’s make-believe
  • Shows more independence (for example, may visit a next-door neighbor by himself [adult supervision is still needed])
  • Is sometimes demanding and sometimes very cooperative


  • Speaks very clearly
  • Tells a simple story using full sentences
  • Uses future tense; for example, “Grandma will be here.”
  • Says name and address

Cognitive (learning, thinking, problem-solving)

  • Counts 10 or more things
  • Can draw a person with at least 6 body parts
  • Can print some letters or numbers
  • Copies a triangle and other geometric shapes
  • Knows about things used every day, like money and food

Movement/Physical Development

  • Stands on one foot for 10 seconds or longer
  • Hops; may be able to skip
  • Can do a somersault
  • Uses a fork and spoon and sometimes a table knife
  • Can use the toilet on his/her own
  • Swings and climbs

The Milestone Child Development Chart is shown Courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

What You Can Do for Your Five-Year-Old:

  • Continue to arrange play dates, trips to the park, or play groups. Give your child more freedom to choose activities to play with friends, and let your child work out problems on his/her own.
  • Your child might start to talk back or use profanity (swear words) as a way to feel independent. Do not give a lot of attention to this talk, other than a brief time out. Instead, praise your child when he/she asks for things nicely and calmly takes “no” for an answer.
  • This is a good time to talk to your child about safe touch. No one should touch “private parts” except doctors or nurses during an exam or parents when they are trying to keep the child clean.
  • Teach your child his/her address and phone number.
  • When reading to your child, ask him/her to predict what will happen next in the story. Encourage your child to “read” by looking at the pictures and telling the story.
  • Teach your child time concepts like morning, afternoon, evening, today, tomorrow, and yesterday.
  • Start teaching the days of the week.
  • Explore your child’s interests in your community. For example, if your child loves animals, visit the zoo or petting farm. Go to the library or look on the Internet to learn about these topics.
  • Keep a handy box of crayons, paper, paint, child scissors, and paste. Encourage your child to draw and make art projects with different supplies.
  • Play with toys that encourage your child to put things together.
  • Teach your child how to pump his/her legs back and forth on a swing.
  • Help your child climb on the monkey bars.
  • Go on walks with your child, do a scavenger hunt in your neighborhood or park, help him/her ride a bike with training wheels (wearing a helmet).