Before we get started with a list of milestones that any given five-year-old may cross, it is important to point out that many gifted people have crawled slowly to the finish line of childhood both physically and mentally and then soared on to become brilliant, successful adults. Every child is different, and all children are beautiful and worthy of love and praise, no matter their stage or station in life.
Given that; there are events that are typical to the average five-year-olds and their physical, social and intellectual development.
Some of the biggest five-year-old milestones involve physical development. At or about age five, children will begin to grasp more complex motor skills, such as playing hop-scotch, skipping, hopping on one foot, running in a more adult style, throwing a ball and sometimes catching it. They begin to learn fine motor skills like coloring within the lines and cutting out or tracing shapes. They have developed control of their bladders during the day and some if not all nights. Many children often learn the basics of cooking, learn how to tie their shoes, and a few sometimes lose their baby teeth early.
There are some significant social milestones that most five-year-olds have reached. At about age five, children are well aware of the opposite sex, and though they are more than willing to play with either sex, they prefer same sex company in most cases. They also prefer to spend time with the same sex parent. The book, “All I Ever Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” by Robert Fulghum, holds true to some extent. This is a time of learning to share, of waiting your turn, of developing manners and a sense of fair play and learning right from wrong.
While five-year-olds are still very curious and asking “why” questions on a regular basis, they are also able to answer why questions, sometimes with great accuracy and at other times fashioned with great imagination. Play time also vacillates from reality-based themes back to the imaginary quite readily, yet five-year-olds are seldom confused between the two. Language skills have developed to include forming whole sentences, use of the correct tense, plurals and pronouns. Pronunciation improves, and baby talk is reserved for private moments or play time. Most five-year-olds have mastered their ABC’s and make a good attempt at writing their name and drawing rudimentary figures, usually of family or their surroundings.
In short, as someone with significant experience in early childhood education and raising my own children and grandchildren, you can expect your child to reach some of the above milestones by the age of five, but I must state, “Take milestones with a grain of salt.”
Certainly if you have concerns, visit your doctor. Most likely, your child will still develop normally. But whether the news be a relief or something of deep concern, know that your child is special and that obstacles can be overcome with love and hard work. This is true at any stage in life, and, as the adage goes, “Often our greatest difficulties become our greatest assets.”