Developmental Milestones for Your Child’s Fifth Year

Can you believe your child is turning five already? They’ve learned a lot in the last four years, but there’s still more to come! By the time your child celebrates their fifth birthday, they will have accomplished even more developmental milestones. This page will go over what to expect with your child’s development this year. We’ll also give you some ideas for how you can help your child continue to learn and grow.

Do keep in mind that developmental milestones are a guide, and not all children reach the same ones at the same ages. What’s important is that your child is happy, healthy, and improving their skills. If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s development, you should always reach out to their pediatrician or our pediatric therapists for answers and advice.

Your Child by Five Years

Your little one is almost ready for kindergarten! By making sure your child is reaching their milestones (or making progress toward them), you can help them be more successful and confident when they finally start going to school. By about five years old, most children will achieve the below milestones in the following developmental areas:

  • Able to button up large and medium sized buttons on their own
  • Can hop on one foot without falling down
  • Can skip without falling down (switching feet between skips) for at least 10 feet
  • Color inside the lines of coloring pages or their own drawings
  • Able to cut out basic shapes following a line
  • Will imitate writing letters that you show them, like their first name
  • Draws people with more body parts and features (clothes, faces, legs, etc.)
  • Can get dressed and undressed all on their own
  • Able to use the potty all on their own, including wiping and washing their hands (though they may still have some accidents)
  • Uses one hand as their dominant hand for eating, drawing, cutting paper, and so on
  • Uses most pronouns and prepositions (direction words) correctly when they’re speaking
  • Loves to tell you about things they’ve experienced: what they dreamt the night before, what they did while you were at work, etc.
  • Asks a lot of questions, and also likes to answer questions
  • Likes to make up stories and tell you all the details
  • Generally understands time and speaks about the past, present, and future with the correct verbs (“I had a dream last night,” “I’m playing with my cars,” “We’re going to the store later,” etc.)
  • Makes eye contact when having conversations
  • Uses singular and plural forms of words correctly
  • Able to count to at least 10 on their own
  • Can recognize some written numbers
  • Recognizes simple rhymes (hat and cat, duck and truck, etc.)
  • Able to sing the ABCs
  • Can recognize some letters of the alphabet
  • Recognizes simple patterns and can tell you what should come next from context
  • Understands and can tell you about opposites (hot and cold, big and small, etc.)
  • Helps out at home with simple chores like matching the socks while you fold laundry or putting their toys back in their toybox
  • May sing, dance, or put on a play for the family
  • Does a good job following the rules when playing games, like taking turns
  • May start offering compromises to you or other children, especially when playing games, so that everyone can be happy
  • Enjoys using costumes and props when playing pretend more than imagining everything
  • May start being more discerning when they pick their friends, like preferring to play with children of the same gender
  • Wants to play with other people rather than alone

How You Can Help Your Five-Year-Old Reach Their Milestones

Your child is getting ready for kindergarten, and it’s an exciting time! Now let’s make sure they’re ready for the new challenges that come with starting school. Here are some tips for what you can do with your child to help them reach their five-year milestones and prepare them for kindergarten:

  • Make sure your child has lots of time to play, especially outside. Children learn through play and exploration more than anything else, so giving them plenty of time to do both will help them understand the world around them and develop their motor skills.
  • Demonstrate the kind of behavior you want your child to show: don’t yell when you get upset, show empathy to others, tidy up after making a mess, use good manners, and any other behaviors that are important to you and your family. Your child is watching you for cues on how to act, and they’ll imitate what they see you do.
  • Encourage your child to talk to new children at activities, events, the park, etc. This can help them be more comfortable and confident in new situations because they know how to make friends.
  • Painting, drawing, building with blocks, playing pretend, racing, climbing trees, playing games, and so on. This helps them build their motor and cognitive skills, and it’s also super fun for you both!
  • Talk about the emotions your child is feeling (“I understand that you’re angry right now,” “I know that you’re sad we couldn’t go to the park,” etc.). Naming the emotions and finding constructive ways to handle them will help your child learn to manage their own feelings.
  • Continue limiting screen time to about an hour per day with adult supervision. Ideally, your child should be doing educational or creative things with their screen time (like playing learning games, watching educational videos, etc.)
  • If your child watches TV or movies, make sure to talk to them about what they’re seeing just like you do with their stories: “How are Chase and Marshall going to help that baby bird?” “Uh-oh, Mike and Sully are fighting. That’s not very nice.” Engage your child while watching TV and movies and ask them questions about what’s happening.
  • Let your child help out however they can, and praise them for it! Even if they didn’t do it perfectly, don’t nitpick about how to make it better. Thank them for their help and tell them they did a good job. This shows them that you appreciate what they can contribute and encourages them to keep doing it.

One of the best things you can do for your child is to show them love and support. Encourage them to try new things, talk with them, and give them plenty of time to play and explore. These simple actions will help your child grow and develop into a confident kindergartener and beyond.

And of course, if you have any questions or concerns about your child’s development, reach out to their pediatrician or our pediatric therapists! We all want to see your child succeed, and we will be happy to help you with answers and advice.