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Bringing up your 5-year-old

By the time your child is five years old, he will start exploring and learning to express his emotions. He will naturally do this in many ways – for example, by talking, using gestures and noises, painting and making things.

He might want to please and be like his preschool-age friends. Imaginary friends could be important to him too. As part of getting along with others, you might hear him saying sorry, agreeing to rules and being pleased when good things that happen to other people probably even sad when bad things happen to some others.

Your child is likely to be more helpful but sometimes he might still be demanding. By the time he is five, he will probably have more control over his behaviour and have fewer temper tantrums. He might feel anxious about starting school and sitting him down and talking about this and even visiting the school together can help him feel less worried.

In this year, your child might hide the truth about things sometimes, or even start telling lies. For example, he might say ‘I didn’t do it’ even when he did. This is a normal part of your preschooler’s development.

Playing is important because it’s still how your child learns and explores feelings.

Your preschooler might be very curious about bodies – his own and other people’s body parts. A combination of natural curiosity and role-playing is usually a normal part of childhood behaviour.

According to Denver based free-lance writer, Tiernan McKay who holds a Master of Arts degree in English from Northern Arizona University, a Bachelor of Arts in broadcast journalism from Arizona State and has written for several reputed publications, “Understanding normal 5-year-old development and behavior will help you know the best way to parent your child. As parents, we know that a child’s birthday comes with plenty of hoopla. With each turn of the calendar there’s a new guest list, a new theme and a new ‘must have’ toy. When they’re young, another birthday also means a number of significant accomplishments.

McKay has listed some universal milestones that come with a child’s fifth year.

5-year-old developmental milestones

Social skills for 5-year-olds

  • knows right from wrong
  • does not use adult logic
  • plays make-believe
  • likes to play with friends rather than alone
  • plays with both boys and girls but prefers the same sex
  • seeks praise from adults and peers
  • wants to conform and may tease those who don’t

Motor skills for 5-year-olds

  • walks on a balance beam
  • runs in an adult manner
  • can jump rope and possibly skate
  • bounces and catches a small- to medium-sized ball
  • stands on one foot for 10 seconds without swaying
  • jumps over string 10 inches off the ground using two-footed takeoff and landing
  • completes three sit-ups
  • kicks ball so it travels 10 feet in the air
  • can lace his shoes but not tie them
  • grasps a pencil in an adult manner
  • cuts and pastes basic shapes, colors within lines

Language skills for 5-year-olds

  • speaks fluently and uses correct pronouns and plurals
  • uses the right tense most of the time
  • understands opposites
  • seeks out new words and knowledge

Parenting survival tips

  • Every parent can use some tips when it comes to raising a 5-year-old. Dr. Robyn McKay, a therapist at Arizona State University and expert in child and adolescent development, offers the following nuggets of wisdom:
  • Encourage your child’s curiosity (tiresome and frustrating sometimes). Ask him, “What do you think?” You’ll be amazed at his creative responses!
  • Keep challenging your own mind. One of the best predictors of a child’s future success is his or her parents’ own educational level. When you keep learning, you grow, and your child most certainly benefits. For example, learn a second language along with your child, take a creative writing class, or finish your master’s degree.
  • Focus on what’s right with your child. Does she belt out songs from the Phantom of the Opera soundtrack? Is he already a math whiz? Celebrate your child’s strengths and encourage him or her to continue focusing on what’s right. The world is full of critics. Be your child’s biggest fan

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