Well-Child Care: 5-Year Visit

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The beginning of the school-age years can be very exciting. Although physical growth during this time is not as rapid, tremendous social development occurs. Your child is learning to enjoy interacting with an expanding new world.

Your child is becoming more and more independent. There are many times you will offer to assist your child with a task and he or she will quickly respond, "I can do it." It is not uncommon for parents to feel both pleasure and disappointment. Many children are preparing for entrance into a formal school setting. This is an exciting event. Concerns about separation might be shared by both the parents and the child. Your daily preparation for school will be easier because your 5-year-old can dress himself or herself (except tying shoe laces). Interactive play activity with peers becomes increasingly more important.

Verbal skills continue to develop. Your child should speak in five-word sentences and be easily understood by strangers. Five-year-olds enjoy tasks such as reciting their address and telephone number, counting objects (one to 10), naming primary colors, and recalling parts of their favorite short stories. Drawing, cutting, and pasting might be other favorite activities. (Most 5-year-olds can copy a square.)

Take pride in your child's new abilities. Give praise for accomplishments.

Safety first

  • Poison-proof your home, paying special attention to cabinets at child level. In the event your child ingests a potentially harmful substance, keep the container and call the poison control center toll-free at 800.222.1222. A representative will tell you what to do.
  • Hot tap water should be less than 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Smoke detectors should be located on each level of your home and outside each bedroom. Check them once a month and replace the batteries once every six months.
  • Keep firearms unloaded and in a locked cabinet if you must have them in the home.
  • Secure electrical cords and cover electrical outlets.
  • Practice fire drills in the home.
  • Your child should always wear a lap and shoulder belt in the car.
  • Your child should not ride a bike without a helmet.
  • Discuss stranger safety.
  • Your child should never swim without supervision. All pools and water areas should be inaccessible to your child. Now is a good time to begin teaching your child to swim.
  • Until your child has learned to cross the street independently, he or she should always be accompanied by an adult.
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This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. This document was last reviewed on: 12/20/2013...#4745