5 Year Old Developmental Milestones for Boys and Girls

Featured image of five-year-old girl sitting next to big teddy bear

Every child grows at their own pace, but there are some milestones your 5-year-old girls and boys should hit by this age. However, there are some emotional extremes and contradictions when it comes to this age as opposed to their 4-year-old milestones. They are still not that “big kid” that goes to school, but they are much more developed than a toddler.

What is sure is that at this age, your kid will exhibit much more self-control than a toddler would, and most of the kids of this age will show that they can sit through periods of time in a classroom and listen to the instructions. But, to make sure you are completely familiar with the 5-year-old developmental milestones, here is a simple guide.

Physical Development

Your little 5-year-old boy and girl have left their teetering toddler years and is far more coordinated and precise in their movements now. Also, they have probably left behind that cute little chubby-cheeked toddler look and is starting to look more like an adult now. As a matter of fact, this is the age when kids start to lose fat and gain their muscles. The 5-year-old milestones of physical development include gaining four to five pounds, achieving 20/20 vision and growing two to three inches. 

Also, there are some key milestones that your child should reach by this age. The first one refers to their gross motor skills. A 5-year-old should be able to hop, skip, jump and run and they will show good balance and far better coordination. The second one is about fine motor skills, and due to their muscles becoming more fine-tuned, they should be able to now dress on their own, handle buttons and zippers and learn how to tie their shoes. 

Lastly, there are some major highlights that are going to occur at this age. For example, mealtime will become a much more pleasant and different experience. This is because a 5-year-old is not more adept to handle forks and knives, and they won’t need that much help with cutting their food.

Social Development

Another one of the 5-year-old developmental milestones is social development. At this age, your child will start making new friends and experience various different types of relationships and how to form them. This is especially important milestone since those relationships will occur outside the family circle and your little one will start to blossom as an independent person. 

What is more, those relationships and milestones will make the transition to kindergarten much easier and those friendships will become an important part of their lives. At this age, your child will probably begin to gravitate towards certain types of friends and people and they will form some close relationships with two or more kids. 

The key 5-year-old milestones to keep track of in this type of development include showing the willingness to please their friends, they will also become more likely to agree with the rules, and they will want to be like the other kids. That is why you should be careful and teach your kid about what bullying is because this tends to start at this age. Also, this is the time to teach them about sharing, so their friendships are balanced. They will certainly play with toys with their friends, and it’s essential to teach them that is nice to share and not to be selfish.

Image of happy children sitting on carousel

Emotional Development

This is the age when your child will enter the “big kid” world of better control and regulation of their emotions. Also, many kids this age are “people pleasers” and they may show active desire to get positive responses from adults and their friends. However, since they haven’t completely transitioned into the “big kid” world, your 5-year-old may still display emotional extremes, contradictions and tantrums. But they will learn how to articulate their feelings better and in a meaningful way. So, instead of throwing a tantrum about going to bed early, they may tell you that they don’t like doing that. 

Another one of the emotional 5-year-old milestones is showing empathy. So, if your kid sees a friend in distress, they might acknowledge their feelings and say “I’m sorry you are sad”. But they will also articulate their negative feelings if they are upset with you. 

The key milestones of emotional development at the age of 5 also include easier separation from the caregivers without crying and tantrums, because they understand better what is happening. Also, they will show the intention of sharing their toys with other girls and boys while playing and they will respond better to tasks directed by adults. 

Your role here is to help them develop better control of their emotions. So, whenever they are upset or frustrated, talk to them and show them how to deal with it. For example, tell them to count silently to themselves or to take deep breaths to calm down.

Cognitive Development

As far as cognitive development is concerned, one of the 5-year-old milestones is that they will now begin to understand the difference between right and wrong. Their little minds can now grasp the concept of rules, how to follow them and why is that important. Also, they will start to express themselves on higher levels and those who start kindergarten will show interest in academic and behavioral expectations at school. 

They will also become better at their speech and language and use it to express themselves. They will actually now start using words to express their needs, wants, and feelings. Also, their speech will improve and now you will be able to understand them more easily, and the kids will be able to use and understand more complex instructions. In addition to that, your 5-year-old will start to understand positional vocabulary and they should know what “below”, “next to” or “on top of” means. 

Another one of the 5-year-old developmental milestones is a more dramatic play. They will also demand some privacy with their friends, by suggesting to play outside or in another room, in order to minimize adult interaction. And if there is any conflict in their play, they will now be able to resolve it without seeking help from adults. 

Besides these cognitive development milestones, they should learn how to count to 10 and begin to extend their language skills to reading and writing. Also, they will start to express creativity through singing, acting and dancing. And that is why you should try and expose them to new experiences and help them learn new skills. Musical toys are very useful at this stage.

Other Milestones

Besides these major milestones, there are some other 5-year-old milestones that are going to occur. By this age, your little one will begin to lose their baby teeth, which will soon be replaced by their “big kid” permanent years. That is why you should start making visits to the dentist in order for your kid to learn about proper dental care. Also, don’t yank on the loose baby teeth, rather let them fall out naturally. 

What is more, your kid will be able to brush their teeth on their own, but you should still keep an eye on them. Also, they will start showing desire and ability to take baths on their own and wipe their own bottoms, but make sure you oversee these actions as well until they master them.

When to Worry

It’s a fact that every child develops at their own pace and you shouldn’t force them to do anything. However, there are some signs that could make you worry so it’s best to consult with your physician. So, keep an eye on the following:

  • Lack of showing a wide range of emotions
  • Extreme behavior (unusually aggressive, shy, sad or fearful)
  • Exhibition of being easily distracted, lack of focus on one activity for more than 5 minutes
  • Unusually withdrawn behavior
  • Superficial or no response to people
  • Lack of ability to tell the difference between what’s real and what’s not
  • Poor use of plurals and past tenses
  • Inability to give their first and last name
  • Express of no desire to draw pictures
  • Inability to take care of their hygiene
  • Loss of previously learned skills.

Even though some of these are not that big of a deal, you should be careful. Keep a close eye on your little one and how they behave, so you can avoid some serious damages to the development of their skills.

We all know that every child is different and all of them grow up to be different individuals. However, there are some common things that every child has, and some developmental milestones should be developed by the age of five. Yes, some may say that girls develop faster than boys, but still, there are many similarities. So, keep track of these 5-year-old developmental milestones and your little one should be fine. However, if you do notice some unusual behaviors, don’t hesitate and talk to the physician.

Author: Stan Marsh
Author: Stan Marsh

Hi all, I’m a toy reviewer, a father, programmer and an occasional sketch artist from Washington D.C where i live with my wife and wonderful 4-year-old daughter. Although i have a bachelor’s degree in Child’s Psychology, i didn’t pursue a career in that direction. Nonetheless, the experience and knowledge i gathered during my studies helped my tremendously with life challenges.

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