Understanding the Behavior of 5-Year-Old Children

Categories: General Parenting

A child turning 5 will be celebrating many milestones. Starting school introduces her to a whole new world of social connections. You will notice leaps in her development and a newfound independence. Here’s a helpful guide of what to expect from your 5-year-old.

Playing & Learning

At this age, children learn so much through play. She learns language and motor skills by playing different games and activities. It also improves social skills and communication and builds on problem-solving skills. Unstructured play (or free play) allows her to build her imagination and sharpen her creative thinking. It provides her with a sense of freedom and boosts her confidence.

Learn what it means for play to be self selected from Teacher Tom here.

Cognitive Development

You may notice a considerable improvement in your child’s vocabulary as well as a clearer pronunciation in her words. She will have greater conversational skills and more effective ways to convey her personality which will make her so much more fun.

Emotional Development

Starting school brings about an expansion of social networks. She will increase the number of trusted relationships with children and adults. As she learns more and more new skills, she becomes more confident and independent. This will help boost her self esteem. She may struggle during this transitional phase. She is no longer a toddler, yet not quite a big kid. She has a lot to learn and this could lead to tantrums and frustration.

Learn how to help children make friends with Claire Orange here.

Physical Development

As mentioned, every child has a different stature and will develop at her own pace. On average, you can expect a weight gain of approximately 2.3kg and a height gain of 8cms. By now, you will know if she is right or left handed. She is confident in the playground and will seize every opportunity to sharpen her coordination and motor skills. Many five-year-olds will start to lose their baby teeth. Encourage healthy dental habits to look after their teeth.


Chores are a great way to make her feel like she is making a contribution to the family. Having jobs to do at home build on the achievement and accomplishments learned at school. Find age-appropriate chores such as clearing the table, setting the table, packing toys and so on. Give lots of praise and encouragement to support the sense of achievement. Using a reward chart is a great tangible way to track their achievements.

Parenting Tips

  • Foster her independence by encouraging her to do things for herself. This means resisting the urge to jump in and do it yourself
  • Challenge her and expect more. If there are certain things you know your child is capable of, set the bar a little higher
  • Encourage her and be specific with your praise pointing out the skills used.
  • Make time to talk to her every day about how she is adjusting to school. Observe her energy levels to ensure she is coping with her new schedule. Make changes to her bedtime if you think she needs more rest.
  • Your 5-year-old is very impressionable at this age. Set a good example and display behaviours you want to see in her.

Enjoy this wonderful age and watch as your child blossoms into a little person.

Learn more about parenting a 5 year old here.