The Average Five Year Old is Like This

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Physical and Motor Growth:

Hops and skips. Handles sled and trike well.

Cuts, pastes, and draws pictures

Can handle tools that are geared to his size.

Dresses and undresses himself.

Needs rest periods.

Permanent teeth start to come in.

Needs lot of activity – ladders, jump rope, swings, balls, etc.

Emotional Growth

Likes to do things “right.” Obeys rules

Is pleasant and cheerful with adults

Thrives on praise

Seems to need supervision and direction

May still have fear of wild animals or the dark. Has fewer fears than four year old.

Shows tension by thumbsucking, throat clearing, eye blinking.


Intellectual Growth

Is proud of his belongings and clothes

Can learn full name, address, and telephone number

Starts to be a collector of papers and school things

Can do simple household things – help wash dishes, feeds the dog, etc.

Knows when he does not know the answer to things

Can count to 10. Can name colors correctly. Can print a few letters


Social Growth:

With Grown ups:

  Likes to help either parent
  Imitates parents
  Enjoys talking to adults

With other children:

  Is not a good group member
  Goes overboard about rules
  Is a tattle tale
  Hits and pushes
  Needs adults supervision

Looking Ahead

You may have noticed by now that each stage of development has an “up and a “down.” When your child is about 5 ½, his cheerful dependable behavior may begin to break up, much as it did between the ages of 3 and 4. The five year old likes to do things YOUR way, but the six year old likes to do things HIS way! He especially disagrees with his mother. If your loving five year old suddenly decides that everything you do is wrong – be patient. He’s just going on to another stage of growth

Cooperative Extension, New York State. Farm and Home Center, Home Economics Division, Canandaigua, NY, 14424.

Ask Dr. Susan