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Clinical Reference Systems: Pediatric Advisor 10.0

Normal Development: 5 Years Old

Physical Development

  • permanent teeth starting to appear
  • displays left- or right-handedness
  • builds elaborate structures
  • tires easily
  • bathes, eats, dresses, toilets independently
  • begins to participate in semistructured games
  • enjoys active games and movement
  • enjoys playing noisy rhythm instruments
  • is curious about reproduction and birth

Emotional Development

  • begins to express more feelings in words
  • embarrasses easily, and cannot yet laugh at self
  • feelings about death appear
  • shows guilt over misbehavior
  • likes independence
  • is serious and dependable

Social Development

  • submits to more rules and regulations
  • may tattle, name-call, hit and shove at times
  • distinguishes between sex roles
  • cooperates in simple group tasks
  • likes to please adults
  • takes turns during playing and speaking
  • gets along comfortably with other children
  • is keenly interested in family activities

Mental Development

  • begins to recognize a few letters and words
  • sustains activities over longer periods of time
  • has developed an overall image of self
  • craves facts
  • names simple colors
  • understands left and right on self
  • has a vocabulary of about 2,000 to 2,500 words
  • can help with easy, household chores
  • can learn address and phone number
  • can think some things through
  • counts to 10
  • begins to understand concept of opposites
  • can speak in sentences of 6 to 8 words
  • identifies coins
  • engages in elaborate dramatic play
  • understands concepts of morning, afternoon, night; yesterday, today, tomorrow
  • is better able to distinguish make-believe from real-life

Each child is unique. It is therefore difficult to describe exactly what should be expected at each stage of a child's development. While certain attitudes, behaviors, and physical milestones tend to occur at certain ages, a wide spectrum of growth and behavior for each age is normal. These guidelines are offered as a way of showing a general progression through the developmental stages rather than as fixed requirements for normal development at specific ages. It is perfectly natural for a child to attain some milestones earlier and other milestones later than the general trend. Keep this in mind as you review these milestones.

If you have any concerns related to your child's own pattern of development, check with your pediatrician or family physician.

Written by Donna Warner Manczak, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Copyright 1999 Clinical Reference Systems