Welcome to the final installment in our milestones series and in this article we will look at the milestones of your 5 year old. If you missed the previous editions in the series, then you can check them out here…
Milestones: Newborn Milestones: 0-3 Months Milestones: 3-6 Months Milestones: 6-12 Months Milestones: 12-18 Months Milestones: 18-24 Months Milestones: 3 Years Old Milestones: 4 Years Old
School. Six little letters that can cause tears to prick in the eyes of any parent of a newly turned 5 year old. It is such a proud moment to see them head off to school, but it does make you seriously wonder where those last 5 years disappeared off to so quickly!
Let have a look at those 5 year old milestones…
Milestones: 5 Years Old
Your 4 year old was indignant about their independence, insisting that they have it. You will discover a whole new level of independence from your 5 year old. While they are not so concerned with yelling at you that they can do things themselves, something within them will change.
Suddenly, there is another very real authority figure in their life. Their teacher. And you will find that they will adore and respect what their teacher has to say. So much so that they may begin to question some of your instructions because it isn't what “Mrs Grey [insert appropriate teacher name here] said…”
They will also begin to become a little bit wordly. While they are still reliant on you for so many things, they are beginning to develop some true independence. That is an exciting milestone, but it can be a little hard for us parents to adapt to. Expect some possible personality hiccups in your little cherub as they find their way at school, and how to balance their new knowledge with their home life.
Encourage their independence by giving them small jobs to do. Make their bed, put their folded washing away, or helping in the kitchen. You will be helping them learn some valuable life skills at the same time.
There is an awful lot of new things to process as a 5 year old. A new school environment with a new authority figure, new friends, and a whole lot of new things to learn. So don’t be surprised if this affects their sleeping. You might experience some sleep regression.
Their little brains will be working overtime to process all of this new stuff. So it might interrupt their sleeping at night. Little ones who were sleeping through the night might begin to wake unexpectedly for reassurance.
You might also find that you need to overhaul their whole bedtime schedule. They may need to go down earlier than usual after such intense days of learning. And you know what that can mean. Earlier bedtimes are great for getting more of your evening, but then those little roosters can be up with the sun the next morning.
Eventually their sleeping should settle back down to normal. This will be once they are settled and comfortable at school. If you are concerned about their sleeping, then it certainly doesn't help to get some advice from a sleep expert.
With all that extra learning at school, they will be developing some pretty impressive skills. Not only can they write their own name and recognise all of the alphabet’s letters, but they will be learning to read also. Encourage their love of these things and let them show you their skills, even if they can be frustratingly slow. Don't crush their enthusiasm and love of learning now, as that will be hard to regain in later years.
Along with the academic skills, you will notice your 5 year old has a rather impressive vocabulary and they are really able to express themselves verbally. Expect lots of stories retold in long form. They are also developing their social skills in the classroom and in the playground.
Be aware that playground dramas can start from a young age. You will probably hear tales of “such and such told me they didn’t want to be my friend today”. This can be heartbreaking for a 5 year old who just wants to be loved by their friends. Teach them the aspects of being a good friend and treating others the way they want to be treated. Hopefully it will help them to pick friends with the same values.
Your 5 year old will have a giant imagination. That lends itself well to pretend play, but it can also mean some tall tales. By asking some careful questions you will be able to weed out the truth of the story. Check out our blog on why children lie for a bit more information on the topic.
Because they are developing their imaginations, your 5 year old can be prone to playing out worrying situations in their heads. Have they caught the wrong bus, will that cat scratch me, will Mummy lose me at the supermarket? It is natural to worry about certain things, but if the worry gets intense then your child could be experiencing mild anxiety. We wrote a blog on that too, so you can have a read here. If you are concerned about your child’s anxiety, then consult a medical professional.
Feed Their Brain
Your child will be able to grasp the rules for simple games and will be thirsty for knowledge. These activities will help to feed those hungry little brains, but are still fun.
Science: Simple science experiments will fascinate your 5 year old. The messier the better! They are learning cause and effect, but still get to do something fun.
Gardening: This is a task they will need some help with, but they will love it. Not only do they get to learn responsibility by nurturing and watering a plant, but it can encourage healthy eating if they grow their own veggies for dinner.
Craft: All that imagination and creativity can be channeled into craft. Their fine motor skills are getting more advanced, so get them to practice precision colouring, cutting with scissors, and gluing small objects.
Hunting and Gathering: 5 year olds love little treasures that they can find. This can be anything from rocks, to leaves, to shells, to feathers. You will probably come home with your pockets full after a walk.
Anything With Water: Swimming, running through a sprinkler, playing with the hose, helping to wash the car, watering the plants, water balloons and water pistols will all be firm favourites. You don’t need to embrace being squirted by the hose, but let your child develop their water confidence and being outside.
I think that turning 5 is the first big independent step that your 5 year old will take. Suddenly their home is not the complete centre of their world. Relish this time as they will want to involve you in their other world of school if you let them!