Tiny turned five this year and thus far, I am been basking in the glow of it! Five has been a beautiful age. This once baby of mine has suddenly blossomed into this PERSON! Still a child, obviously, but in some ways so much more mature in her thinking than she was just a few months ago. It practically happened over night.
Age 5 is often referred to as the “Golden Period.” I used to work with five-year-olds and in some ways I agree. But in a lot of ways I completely disagree. Five is also a season of overexuberance, chaos, and general quirkiness.
Being a life-long student of child development from all schools of thought, I have compiled a list of characteristics and behaviors that are common in five-year-olds. Yes, there are variances and some children are more/less mature than peers their age. In general, this is what being five is all about.
- Are typically optimistic about life and look on the bright side
- Develop perfectionist tendencies
- Swing between being hesitant and indecisive to being demanding and explosive
- Are less frustrated and fearful
- Push against boundaries; do the opposite of what is asked
- Develop “selective hearing”
- Seeks praise and reassurance
- Wants to conform and be like his/her friends
- Say exactly what is on their mind which can often come across as cruel or intentionally mean
- Have ample energy and a need to keep moving
- Extremely imaginative
- Often are restless and “bored”
- Develop a stronger sense of empathy and are often very generous
- Enjoy time with friends but also feel a strong pull towards their primary caregiver (which can look like separation anxiety all over again)
- Feel rooted to his/her home, neighborhood, and general surroundings
- Start to notice gender roles as defined by society
- Prefer routine and the expected and can easily become disgruntled over change
- Are very aware of who is older and younger and becomes fixated on friends being the same age as he/she is
- Are at the height of the nightmare cycle (which may continue until age 8)
- May develop what appears to be a voracious appetite
- Have fewer tantrums but the one he or she has will be massive and drawn out
- Begin to understand values
- Take notice of time and space but do not fully understand either
- Enjoy a lot of potty humor and are inquisitive about the human body and its functions
5 Ways Parents Can Support Their Five-Year-Old:
- Including your child and making him or her a contributing member of the family is important. Five-year-olds are trying to find their place in the family. The have a strong need to know their role and contribute to the family. So allow them to be a part of the family and not just a child along for the ride. Let them work!
- Keep your child MOVING! Five year olds need a lot of movement and physical activity in a safe yet unstructured environment. Lots of walks/runs in nature, bike rides, and the like. Organized sports are not necessarily the best idea at this age as the five-year-old pushes against boundaries and rules.
- Tell your child lots of stories especially about you when you were his/her age. Use stories to illustrate appropriate and inappropriate behavior. Use stories to share values and morals. Children at this age devour stories and learn and absorb the message at a deeper level than if you were to simply tell them the same thing.
- Continue to instill boundaries and reinforce their importance. Your child will push, push, push at this age. Once you open the door, your child will run through and it will be difficult to bring him/her back in!
- Afford your child the opportunity of a lot of hands on experiences in the home. Instead of telling, let your child learn by doing.
Do you have a five-year-old? Do these typical characteristics and behaviors ring true? Any advice for parents in this stage of life?
Visit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be updated by afternoon May 13 with all the carnival links.)
- When Three-Year-Olds Stand Up For Themselves — Parenting Expert Laurie Hollman, Ph.D. at her blog, Parental Intelligence, enjoys the stage when three-year-olds dramatically wow their parents with their strong sense of self.
- This too shall pass — In the beginning, everything seems so overwhelming. Amanda at My Life in a Nutshell looks at the stages of the first 1.5 years of her daughter's life and explains how nothing is ever static and everything changes – the good and the bad.
- Age 5 – Is It Really A Golden Period? — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama looks at the developmental norms for the five-year-old set and muses over if this age really is the ‘golden period.'
- How much do you explain to your preschooler when crime touches close to home? — When tragedy strikes someone your preschooler knows, Nathalie at Kampuchea Crossings wonders how parents can best help young children cope.
- Thoughts on Toddlerwearing — That Mama Gretchen‘s babywearing days are over, we're living it up in the toddlerwearing days now!
- Parenting Challenges—Almost a man — Survivor at Surviving Mexico talks about leaving childhood behind as her son turns 12.
- How Child Development Works – Competence Builds Competences — Debbie at Equipped Family shares how each stage of childhood builds on the next. Focus on doing the current stage reasonably well and success will breed success!
- Making Space — Kellie at Our Mindful Life is adjusting her thinking and making room for her babies to stay near her.
- The Best Parenting Resources for Parents of Toddlers — Toddlers can be so challenging. Not only are they learning how to exert their independence, but they simply do not have the developmental ability to be calm and logical when they are frustrated. It's the nature of the beast. I mean … the toddler. Here are Dionna at Code Name: Mama‘s favorite books and articles about parenting a toddler.
- The Fab Five Stages so Far — Laura from Pug in the Kitchen couldn't choose just one stage for this carnival and is sharing her top five favorite stages in the young lives of her son and daughter at Natural Parents Network.
- The best parts of ages 0-6 — Lauren at Hobo Mama gives a breakdown of what to expect and what to cherish in each year.
- Lessons from Parenting a Three-Year-Old — Ana and Niko at Panda & Ananaso are quickly approaching the end of an era — toddlerhood. She shares some of her thoughts on the last two years and some tips on parenting through a time rife with change.
- Feeling Needed — Jorje of Momma Jorje ponders which developmental stage is her favorite and why. She bares it for us, seemingly without fear of judgment. You might be surprised by her answer!