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Dr. Lise Eliot
Early Childhood Mental Development Expert
VTech Expert Panel Member
Five is the age when most children begin mainstream schooling – which is an exciting and somewhat scary transition. However, five-year-olds are enthusiastic learners who delight in solving problems and discovering more about the wider world. Friends also take on greater importance as your five-year-old develops a better understanding of other’s thoughts and feelings.
Here are some typical milestones you may see in your five-year-old:
Language & Cognitive Development
  • Uses five to eight words in a sentence
  • Likes to argue and reason; uses words like “because”
  • Knows their address and phone number
  • Understands that stories have a beginning, middle, and end;
  • knows opposites like big and little
  • Draws pictures that represent animals, people, and familiar objects
  • Knows uppercase and most lowercase letters and beginning phonetics
  • Sorts objects by size, shape or number, counts up to 20 objects; carries out simple addition and subtraction problems
  • Sequences events chronologically and is learning to tell time
  • Can use measuring tools like a ruler, scale, or thermometer
  • Has a good attention span; can concentrate on projects like block building and drawing
  • Interested in cause and effect
Physical & Motor Development
  • Gallops smoothly and skips using both feet
  • Rides bicycle with training wheels
  • Balances on either foot for 5-10 seconds
  • Jumps rope and catches bounced balls
  • Learns complex coordination skills like swimming, dancing, ice or roller skating
  • Uses a fork and knife well
  • Manages zippers and buttons and may be able to tie shoelaces
  • Reliably uses right or left hand to eat and draw
Social & Emotional Development
  • Enjoys sharing jokes and laughter with others
  • Helps with chores like folding laundry or emptying the dishwasher
  • Plays independently but also enjoys peer company
  • May tattle, name-call, hit and shove at times but is generally in control of aggressive impulses
  • Takes turns and cooperates in simple group tasks or play
  • May act bossy or exclude other children (”best friends” become important)
  • More sensitive to feelings of others; shows kindness and says “please” and “thank-you”
Remember your child is a wonderful, unique individual and may not exhibit every one of these milestones. A wide range of behaviors is considered normal and some children will demonstrate certain abilities earlier or later than this schedule. Should you have any concerns about your child’s progress, please ask your pediatrician or family physician.