This is the BIG year – Kindergarten! Your child is marching off on his own to begin his life of learning! But don’t worry; he’ll be back after school to tell you all about his day. He’ll likely have many stories about all his new friends. Children this age love to be with friends and will want to be just like them. His stories will be clear and understandable and in full sentences. He will be able to show you how he can print letters, copy triangles and circles, and draw a picture of you and his family! He will surprise you with his new knowledge about everyday objects like money or phones.
He is really enjoying his new independence and creating new friends, and he will share all of that with you!
Is My Child On Track?
No two children will develop at the same pace, but there are some norms you can use as a guide. Physical, cognitive, language, and social-emotional developmental milestones will give you a range of behaviors your baby should master and what to look forward to in the next growth stage. If you are concerned about any area of development, there are a number of activities you can do with baby to encourage growth. If you are worried that your baby is falling behind, consult with your doctor to decide if your baby needs more specialized help.
A few excellent sources for Developmental Milestones:
Center for Disease Control – Learn the Signs/Act Early and Milestone Moments
Zero to Three – Your Child’s Development
Healthy Children.Org – Ages and Stages
- A five year-old wants to be like their friends and wants to please them.
- He will learn rules and is more likely to follow them.
- He speaks clearly and tells stories using full sentences.
- He can print some letters and numbers and copy shapes.
- He hops on one foot and maybe skips.
- He uses a fork and spoon.
Ideas for Learning and Growth
Get Involved: Be involved in your child’s school. See firsthand who his friends are and what he is learning. Find out what he is working on in school so you can help him practice and reinforce this learning at home.
Schedule: Make sure your child has a regular schedule he can rely on. Bedtimes should be early enough so he can get a good night’s sleep. Keep the mornings organized so he can get ready and out the door with no fuss and try to be ready with a welcoming home routine so you can share his day. Moving into a full-time school routine can be stressful for both child and parents so following a routine will help the whole family.
Playtime: Don’t forget your little scholar is still a little kid! Play and imagination are still very important and allow your child absorb his experiences and knowledge. Play school at home and let him be the teacher. Go to a park or playground and let him run and jump after school to exercise those big muscles and blow off steam.
What to Watch For
The CDC suggest you consult with your doctor if at five years of age your child:
- Doesn’t show a wide range of emotions.
- Shows extreme behavior (unusually fearful, aggressive, shy, or sad).
- Is unusually withdrawn and not active.
- Is easily distracted or has trouble focusing on one activity for more than 5 minutes.
- Doesn’t respond to people or responds only superficially.
- Can’t tell what’s real and what’s make-believe.
- Doesn’t play a variety of games and activities.
- Can’t give first and last name.
- Doesn’t use plurals or past tense properly.
- Doesn’t talk about daily activities or experiences.
- Doesn’t draw pictures.
- Can’t brush teeth, wash and dry hands, or get undressed without help.
- Loses skills he once had.
This may be a sign of delayed development, something that could be resolved with the right interventions. The important thing is to act early! The earlier you act, the easier it will be to get baby on track developmentally.
Muskegon Area Services: A list of community groups, agencies, and schools that can help you and your child.
Web Sources: Carefully researched websites that will give you a wealth of information on child development and parenting.