What's typical behavior for a 5-year-old?
January 27, 2010 (WPVI) -- There's terrific information outlining what's normal for every age from 4 to 14 in the book "Yardsticks: Children in the Classroom." I'll be outlining what you can expect from your children, one year at a time, for the next several weeks.
If it seems like your five-year-old just wants to play and eat, not get too serious about prepping for school, don't worry. It's exactly what they should be doing. Most fives are also always asking questions and permission from grown-ups. "Can I help put away the groceries?" "Can I use these paints?" "Is this how you do this?" These preschoolers are literal and usually accept adult rules as unbendable. What works best at home and at school is a structured schedule, but free play areas where children can dream and role-play in an unstructured way. Think dress-up, puppet shows, housekeeping, block construction, and complicated painting.
Here's some great news. Five-year-olds are calmer than younger children. They are more literal, so they act on intuition rather than logic. "We eat breakfast because it's morning" instead of vice versa. They still want to please you, but their behavior becomes more complex. They can be playing well one moment and arguing the next. (I know plenty of grown-ups who have the same issue!) Sometimes they rush, sometimes they dawdle. But the more tasks they can do themselves, the stronger they get. They hate failing. If you can give them simple tasks to accomplish, you'll help prepare them for the lengthy learning period to come, ages 6 to 11.
Five-year-olds have two major developmental stages depending whether they are young fives, or older fives. I'll break them down so you can see the differences easier:
So fives are transitioning from the preschool stage to their school years. It's a wonderful time of trusting grown-ups, trying out new activities and sports, and exploring their own way of doing things.
Structure is important. But harsh discipline can be devastating. Fives respond better with frequent reminders and redirection: "Lisa, don't forget. Hands to yourself." "Joe, you need to help clean up." Fives crave constant validation of their initiatives.
Enjoy your youngsters at every stage. Fives can be fun!
monica malpass parenting reports, parenting, monica malpass
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