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 (1 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.

What safety measures do I take with a 5-year-old?

  • 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 ride in their forward facing car seat until they exceed the manufacturer’s height or weight limit. They should then be moved to a belt-positioning booster seat until they are 4 feet 9 inches tall and between 8 and 12 years of age.
  • 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.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 08/02/2017.


  • American Academy of Pediatrics. Developmental Milestones: 4 to 5 year olds ( Accessed 8/8/2017.
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Important Milestones: Your Child By Five Years ( Accessed 8/8/2017.
  • Healthy Children.Org. Car Seats: Information for Families ( Accessed 8/8/2017.

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