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What Behavior Should We Expect from a 5-Year-Old?

by Karen Hellesvig-Gaskell

A 5-year-old is like a miniature adult, in some ways. Many 5-year-olds are wrapping up preschool or have already entered the new and exciting world of kindergarten. Age 5 is a magical period of creativity and passionate problem solving. The average 5-year-old also has the foresight and intellect to ask in-depth questions, and to consider the pros and cons of their choices.

Language and Cognitive Behaviors

A 5-year-old has many words at his disposal -- 2,072 to be exact, according to the Child Development Institute. You can be sure he won't waste any time using them, because he loves to tell long stories with full sentences. Also, a great conversationalist, a 5-year-old can't wait until it's her turn to talk in a group setting and is able to reflect and talk about stories. She speaks clearly, pronounces words correctly, and generally uses proper grammar. By age 5, a kindergartener -- or soon-to-be kindergartener -- can reel off his full name and address, count to 10, and is beginning to understand that fact and fiction are different. Drawing a person with six or more body parts is no problem for the typical 5-year-old.

Emotional and Social Skills

A 5-year-old thrives on friendship. He wants to be like his friends and make them happy, explains HealthyChildren.org a website published by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Being accepted by "the group" is becoming increasingly important. Most 5-year-olds are passionate about singing, dancing and simple board games that have rules and require taking turns. Many like to cook -- or at least help -- and get involved in sports. A 5-year-old is mature enough to independently manage his feelings during disagreeable social situations. He might know it's wise to go off alone for a bit to calm down; he'll attempt to talk over and resolve a problem before dragging an adult into a conflict. By age 5, a child is generally more cooperative when it comes to following rules, but she can also be very demanding. A 5-year-old is aware of sexuality and has no doubt about her gender.

Fine and Gross Motor Aptitude

A 5-year-old may seem to have boundless energy. If he's not swinging, running or hopping he may be perfecting somersaults or jumping rope. Age 5 is a good time to learn to how to ride a bike with training wheels or take swimming lessons now that his ability to balance and coordinate movements has improved significantly from earlier years. Some 5-year-olds may even pursue ballet. Improved fine motor skills in a 5-year-old allow her to effectively control her fingers when writing, drawing, painting or when using zippers and buttons when dressing and undressing. The self-reliant 5-year-old brushes his own teeth and uses the toilet without assistance.

Considerations

A 5-year-old may turn into a little ham as she puts on simple plays or puppet shows and even performs pantomime. To complement her "artsy" side a 5-year-old may act like a miniature scientist as he use scales, thermometers and other devices to collect information. He may find it interesting to compare his weight to that of other family members or checkout the difference between the indoor an outdoor temperature.

About the Author

Karen Hellesvig-Gaskell is a broadcast journalist who began writing professionally in 1980. Her writing focuses on parenting and health, and has appeared in “Spirituality & Health Magazine" and “Essential Wellness.” Hellesvig-Gaskell has worked with autistic children at the Fraser School in Minneapolis and as a child care assistant for toddlers and preschoolers at the International School of Minnesota, Eden Prairie.

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