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  • All The Milestones To Expect In Your 5-Year-Old: He's Making His Independence Felt

    You’ll notice he’s now able to speak in sentences and carry on adult-like conversations.
    by Kate Borbon .
All The Milestones To Expect In Your 5-Year-Old: He's Making His Independence Felt
  • As your child grows, he becomes capable of new skills. One way to ensure that he’s growing appropriately for his age to look out for his milestones. Below, learn more about the 5-year-old developmental milestones you can expect in your child.

    5-year-old developmental milestones

    At this age, the 5-year-old developmental milestones you can expect include being more creative in playfriendlier, and chattier. His imagination goes into overdrive and he starts acting like an adult, becoming more independent and empathetic. Still, he is a young child who loves to run around and engage in active play!

    Movement and physical milestones

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 5-year-old developmental milestones in the physical aspect include standing on one foot for 10 seconds or longer, hopping and/or skipping, doing a somersault, swinging and climbing, and using a toilet by himself. At this age, Verywell Family says a child is becoming more coordinated and precise in his movements. This is when he starts to lose fat, gain muscle, grow taller, and achieve 20/20 vision.

    In terms of fine motor skills, 5-year-old developmental milestones include dressing by himself, handling zippers and buttons, and learning to tie his shoelaces alone. The CDC adds that 5-year-olds sometimes use utensils while eating; though he might still find it difficult to use a small knife, he will enjoy having the chance to practice the skill, says Raising Children Network. He may also be able to brush his hair by himself now.

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    Language and communication milestones


    Experts say that during your child’s fifth year, you can expect him to talk more than ever; Raising Children Network says he will be able to talk in full and complex sentences and carry on adult-like conversations, though he may struggle to describe complex events and ideas. The CDC says other 5-year-old developmental milestones in language include telling stories, using the future tense (e.g., “We will be eating dinner later”), and reciting his name and address.

    Verywell Family adds that at this age, a child will be able to verbally express his needs and wants in a way that adults will understand. He should also be able to understand more complex instructions and know what you mean when you use phrases such as “on top of,” “next to,” “below,” and more.

    Social and emotional milestones

    Among the 5-year-old developmental milestones you can expect is that your child will start to become more social; he begins to form relationships with people outside his family, like classmates and teachers. Verywell Family says that because of this, friendships become more important for 5-year-olds and they start gravitating towards specific people.

    According to the CDC, other 5-year-old developmental milestones you can watch out for in your child’s social development include wanting to please and be like his friends and agreeing more willingly with rules.

    In terms of emotional development, most 5-year-olds show more independence, can be demanding sometimes and cooperative other times, distinguish between reality and make-believe, and are aware of gender, says the CDC. Verywell Family adds that while 5-year-olds start learning how to control and regulate their emotions, they may still have tantrums. 5-year-old developmental milestones in the emotional aspect also include empathy and expressing what they feel.

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    Cognitive milestones

    At 5 years old, your child should be able to pay attention for longer, understand the concept of time, recognize words by sight, and try to sound out words, says Raising Children Network. According to the CDC, other 5-year-old developmental milestones in this aspect include counting 10 or more objects, drawing a person with at least six body parts, writing some letters or numbers, copying triangles and other shapes, and knowing about things that are used in daily life, like food and money.

    Verywell Family says a 5-year-old should start to grasp the difference between right and wrong and understand rules and want to follow them to please the adults in his life. Other 5-year-old developmental milestones in the cognitive aspect include an interest in tackling academic and behavioral expectations in school, especially among those who start kindergarten at this age.

    There are also significant 5-year-old developmental milestones you should watch out for in terms of how your child plays. Raising Children Network says that at this age, your child’s pretend play will become more complex and filled with drama and fantasy. He now prefers playing with his friends instead of alone. You might notice that he can cooperate with his peers to achieve a common goal, like putting on a simple play, and figure out what to do if one playmate refuses to cooperate.

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    When to be concerned about your 5-year-old’s development

    If your child exhibits the 5-year-old developmental milestones discussed above, that likely means that he is developing appropriately for his age. Conversely, according to the CDC, signs that might signal a developmental delay in your child include:

    • Not showing a wide range of emotions
    • Showing extreme behavior (i.e., unusually shy, fearful, sad, or aggressive)
    • Being unusually inactive or withdrawn
    • Being easily distracted and having trouble focusing on a single activity for more than five minutes
    • Not responding to people or responding only superficially
    • Being unable to distinguish between what’s real and what isn’t
    • Not playing different games and activities
    • Being unable to recite his full name
    • Not using plurals or the past tense properly
    • Not talking about daily experiences or activities
    • Not drawing pictures
    • Being unable to brush his teeth, wash and dry his hands, or get undressed without help
    • Losing skills he once had

    If your child doesn’t exhibit the 5-year-old developmental milestones discussed above but does the warning signs provided by the CDC, consult his doctor. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says children should be screened for general development at nine, 18, and 24 or 30 months old, for autism at 18 and 24 months old, or whenever a parent has a concern about his or her child’s development.

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