Your Five-Year-Old (page 2)
Typical Behaviors of Five-Year-Olds
The five-year-old thoroughly enjoys life and is sunny and serene. The child at this stage is often anxious to please and determined to do everything just right. While not particularly adventurous, the five-year old is expansive intellectually and enjoys practicing skills and abilities.
- Is more poised and may exhibit less exuberance that at four and a half
- Is more organized and has greater control of movements
- Has well-developed gross motor skills; enjoys skipping, jumping, and climbing
- Has established hand dominance and uses dominant hand more consistently
- Has increased control over pencil grasp
- Experiences an explosion in language learning
- Enjoys talking but may answer using one word responses
- Shows much interest in new and big words
- Knows that words represent ideas and objects; likes to discuss this
- Asks questions now to seek information
- Speaks with increasing grammatical accuracy
- Pronounces more clearly
Personal- Social Behaviors
- Wants to please and do things right
- Wants to have things go smoothly and is a much easier playmate
- Is more independent in personal care skills
- Often enjoys one-on-one activities
- Has more of an understanding of the world and may accurately judge what he or she can and cannot do
- Asks how, when, what and, especially why questions constantly
- Lives in the moment
- Needs adult approval; wants to do the “right thing”
- Relates imaginative play to real life
- Exhibits increasingly creative and constructive abilities; enjoys hands-on learning
Typical Behaviors of Five-and-a-Half-Year-Olds
The five-and-a-half-year-old is often hesitant, dawdling, and indecisive. Behavior at this stage may be characterized by opposite extremes such as happy/sad, quiet/loud, or agreeable/defiant. The five-and-a-half-year-old may seem to be in a constant state of tension.
- Is more restless and less composed; finds sitting still increasingly difficult
- May have an awkward pencil grasp
- Frequently reverses letters and numbers when writing Language Behaviors
- Has difficulty making decisions
- Uses more diverse and complex language
- Offers or asks for explanations
- Is oppositional in nature, moving from one emotional extreme to the opposite
- Disobeys readily; can be brash or combative
- May show an increase in tensional outlets such as nail biting, hair pulling, or crying
- Is insecure and tentative in nature
- Complains readily
- Plays well one moment, argues the next
- Is torn between choices, often tries to choose both options at once in play and other activities
- Tends to exhibit oppositional behavior in play activities
- Has difficulty making decisions
- Has frequent reversals of letters/numbers
- Is prone to tattle on others due to an emerging sense of right and wrong
Although gentle, compliant, and eager to please, the five-year-old does not find it easy to admit the occasional wrongdoing. Due to the five-year-old’s desire to be good and to do the right thing, parents may grow to expect this kind of behavior all of the time.
It is important to know that while the five-year-old tries hard to tell the truth or to resist taking another’s belongings, he or she is not always successful. Prevention is infinitely better than punishment. Discipline techniques are best delivered to the five-year-old calmly and in a matter-of fact tone.
When considering your child’s readiness for kindergarten, think about how you might answer the following questions:
- Is your child comfortable being away from you for an entire day? Does he or she have the ability to express ideas and feelings to adults other than you?
- Can he or she accept minor disappointments or limits without tears?
- Can your child listen to and follow directions?
- Is he or she able to work independently without constant adult supervision?
- Can he or she find ways to resolve conflicts and solve problems?
- Can he or she make simple decisions given a few choices of play activities?
- Can your child take care of personal belongings and toileting needs independently?
While this is not an exhaustive list of questions related to readiness, it may help you when considering your child’s unique needs and abilities at this time. It is equally important to understand what specific behaviors or skills the kindergarten program expects of your child and how aware the program is of developmental levels and meeting the needs of individual children.
Reprinted with permission of the Gesell Institute. Copyright © 2010, Gesell Institute of Human Development. All Rights Reserved.
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