Age Five

Parents always want to know whether their child is developing normally or not. Here are some basic development milestones that your five-year-old child should achieve. If you are concerned that your child may not be developing at the same pace as her peers, then take a look at the Developmental Alarms and find out if you need to make an appointment with your child’s pediatrician.

Mental Development

  • Mental reasoning improves; will argue and link cause and effect. "I won’t talk to Ted because he hit me"
  • Can remember address and phone number
  • Can draw pictures to show person (with legs, hands, eyes, nose, hair and smile), animals (dog with four legs and a tail)
  • If taught, can write all alphabets and some numbers
  • Cannot tell time but knows difference between "yesterday", "today" and "tomorrow"
  • Can easily express his feelings or can clearly make himself understood to strangers
  • Becomes more creative, can make up stories with a "beginning" and an "end"; can tell jokes and riddles
  • Will read a book from left to right and top to bottom
  • Can make comparisons in size (tall, taller, tallest) or weight (fat, fatter, fattest)
  • Can identify basic colors like red, yellow, blue, green and orange
  • Can count 10 objects or more
  • Concentration improves along with attention span
  • Can draw familiar shapes


Physical/Motor Development

  • Body coordination improves – can skip, jump rope, hop on one foot, run on tiptoe; can also learn more complex things like swimming, skating, and riding a bicycle
  • Makes creative movements like dancing or somersaults
  • Can play with a ball skillfully (can easily throw with an aim, grip on ball becomes steady)
  • Can climb up and down stairs without using handrail
  • Feeds himself with minimum spilling. Becomes more dexterous with spoon, fork and knife
  • Can groom (bathe, wear clothes) without assistance. Can tie shoelaces. Can take care of his toilet needs


Social and Emotional Development

  • Play becomes more innovative and organized. Will invent simple games, make teams, and assign roles.
  • Can take turns and share but may act bossy
  • Becomes more sensitive to feelings of people around her. For example, he may obey you if you say, "Please don’t make any noise, dad is tired."
  • Becomes fonder of some playmates. May have "best friends".
  • May want to make own decisions
  • May follow rules and seek adult permission
  • May outgrow many anxieties like fear of dark or monsters
  • Understands relations like parents, uncle, aunt, etc.
  • Feelings like shame or embarrassment will surface if she does anything that is not approved by adults or peers


Language Development

  • Vocabulary grows to accommodate about 13, 000 words
  • Can carry on conversations.
  • Sentence structure becomes more complex. May use 6-8 words in a sentence.
  • May make only a few grammatical errors
  • Will make up stories and enjoys telling them


Development Alarms
Make an appointment with your child’s doctor if she:


  • Is disinterested in making friends
  • Cannot feed or groom himself
  • Cannot take care of his toilet needs
  • Cannot make himself understood (difficulty in speech)
  • Shows extreme mood swings or a lot of violent behavior
  • Cannot identify colors, letters, numbers, or shapes despite being taught
  • Has difficulty in skipping, hopping, jumping, running, etc.