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Milestones For 5 Year Olds

By Emma Davies


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If you have a five year old or a kid that’s about to turn 5 then you might be wondering what milestones they should be hitting so that they’re on track with everyone else in their class.

Milestones For 5 Year Olds

Well, there are lots of different types of milestones that your kids should be hitting at all ages like physical and emotional which can be really overwhelming. If you don’t think your little one is hitting the typical milestones for 5 year olds just yet then don’t panic straight away.

There are so many different things that they could be excelling at so it’s a good idea to keep a close eye on everything. But for now, exactly what should a 5 year old be able to do?

Cognitive and Language Milestones for 5 Year Olds

There are lots of milestones for five year olds when it comes to language skills because they’re getting to the point where unfamiliar people tend to be able to understand them because their language is becoming clearer.

If your little one is 5 years old then they should understand that words are made up of different sounds and be able to tell you what words start with the same letter or sound. They should also be able to tell you what words rhyme – there are loads of games you can play with them to figure out if they can do this or not.

Another thing a 5 year old should be able to do is use most of the correct verbs to talk about things that have happened in the past or things that are going to happen in the future. A great way to practice this is by asking them questions about their day or what they’d like to do on the weekend and you’ll be surprised how much they know. You might also realize your kid is slowly starting to know the difference between day and night and today and yesterday.

Kids at this age are very curious as well so they start to realize that some words in English don’t follow grammatical rules, especially when it comes to the past tense of verbs.

You’ll be happy to know that five year olds can also follow lots of directions even if you give them all the same time. This means you can tell them to brush their teeth, get dressed and put their shoes on and they should be able to remember to do all three.

Cognitive and Language Checklist

  • Knows around 2000 words.
  • Can speak in sentences of around 5 words.
  • Can tell you what words sound similar.
  • Can use most of the correct verbs.
  • Could tell someone the names of their parents if asked – can answer simple questions.
  • Becoming aware of grammatical rules.
  • Can follow lists of directions.
  • Their speech is becoming clearer.

Physical Development of 5 Year Olds

Your 5 year old will start learning how to do lots of different things at this age and you’ll notice that they’re starting to become their own little person. Their personality will really start to shine through and they’ll start to take interest in sports and hobbies. This also comes with lots of new 5 year old milestones as they try out new things for the first time.

They should be able to do summer activities like jump rope as they’ve mastered the coordination it takes and are starting to learn that if they jump wrong then they might fall.

5 year olds have also mastered the art of walking backwards which, we will admit, can be very entertaining and can make for some funny family games. They’ll also be able to balance on one of their feet for at least 5 seconds. You can play games like Simon says or similar things to practice these skills just to make sure they’re meeting their milestones.

Another physical milestone is being able to use a pair of scissors to cut out different shapes as well as in a straight line. This is a skill that will be practiced a lot in school so we wouldn’t worry too much about it.

Something that some kids find a little more difficult is tying their shoelaces but they should be starting to learn to, if not almost able to do it by age 5. This will completely depend on how you go about teaching them but if they’re finding it difficult then you can always switch up the technique.

They’ll be learning to draw more complicated shapes in school as well like triangles and diamonds but they should also be able to draw a stick figure or a person with at least 6 body parts.

Children of this age should be able to answer important questions like their address and a grown ups phone number in case of emergencies. This is super important so you might want to focus on this if your kid can’t do it yet.

Lastly, your five year old should start helping you out around the house at this age. This could be as simple as helping out with laundry or doing dishes after a meal. Get them involved in family chores if you have a schedule or something like that to make sure they’re getting to grips with schedules, and doing things independently.

Physical Checklist

  • Should be able to jump rope.
  • Walk backwards.
  • Balance on one foot for at least 5 seconds.
  • Use a pair of scissors.
  • Draw things like a diamond, triangle and person.
  • Start helping with house chores.
  • Start learning to tie shoe laces.

Emotional Development in 5 Year Olds

Children are just learning how to deal with their emotions and how different things may make them feel so there’s a couple of milestones you might want to keep an eye on.

The first one is your kid wanting to please their friends. This shows that they’re starting to understand how their actions affect other people and even the beginning of empathy. Wanting to please their friends can simply be trying to avoid arguments or sharing their toys so that their friends are happy.

You might notice your kid also wants to be like their friends. Children tend to flock to similar children so they’ll want to fit in and do the same things like hobbies and sports. Your kid will probably want to join a sports club if their friend is on it and this is a really good thing. Not only are they meeting milestones that are really good for their age but they’re also showing emotional maturity.

Another thing you’ll be happy about is that your kid will agree to rules a lot easier than you’re probably used to. You might notice that they don’t fight you as much when you ask them to do things like clean their room or put their shoes on because they’re maturing emotionally.

Children of this age will also love singing, dancing and acting which can really help them develop socially. There’s lots of clubs around for these things that will help them not only develop these new skills but also mature emotionally.

This is the age where your kid is also going to start knowing the difference between what’s real or fake and will probably start telling stories that reflect this. They might start telling stories that are more fantasy than you’re used to them telling.

Lastly, your little 5 year old is going to start looking to experience new things. They might want to try new activities that they’ve seen their friends do or they’ve seen on TV. They might also want to try new foods and you might notice the different types of food they’re eating is growing very quickly.

Emotional and Social Checklist

  • Wanting to please their friends.
  • Your child wants to be like their friends.
  • Agrees to rules easier than they used to.
  • Knows the difference between what’s real and what’s fake.
  • Wants to experience new things.

Developmental Red Flags for 5 Year Olds

The main thing you need to remember is that every child is different so you shouldn’t try to compare them too much. So many things could affect what milestones your child is meeting like disability, divorce, or big life events. Also, some children naturally progress quicker than others and that’s completely normal.

You only need to go to get professional help if your kid isn’t meeting a significant amount of these milestones and you can’t think of any reason why they wouldn’t be meeting them.

  • Unable to tell you their first and last name.
  • Doesn’t play with a wide variety of toys.
  • Experiences extremes of emotions.
  • Don’t respond to others.
  • Not able to wash their own hands.
  • Can’t draw a picture.
  • Loss of skills they once had.

If you have any worries your pediatrician will be able to help put your mind at rest or get you and your little one the help that they need.

Five Year Old Milestones

So, that’s all the milestones your 5 year old should be meeting. There’s lots of different things they should be doing once they hit this age that will really show how well they’ve started progressing. They’re becoming their own people and will grow at their own pace so don’t stress too much about hitting milestones.

Try not to put too much pressure on your little one and the milestones theft are or aren’t meeting when they start out in school because this can be a really stressful time. Get in touch with someone if you think there’s a problem but otherwise just let them get on with it.

About Emma Davies

Emma Davies is a freelance writer that specializes parenting and animal topics. With over 20 years experience as a parent there are very few topics that faze her.

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