Normal Development: 5 Years Old

Each child is unique. While some behavior and growth milestones tend to happen at certain ages, a wide range for each age is normal. It is okay if your child reaches some milestones earlier and others later than the average. If you have any concerns about your child’s development, check with your healthcare provider. Here’s what you might see your child doing at 5 years of age.


  • Starts to express more feelings in words.
  • Embarrasses easily, and cannot yet laugh at self.
  • May have feelings about death.
  • Shows guilt over misbehavior.
  • Likes independence.
  • Is serious and dependable.


  • Follows more rules and regulations.
  • May tattle, name-call, hit and shove at times.
  • Cooperates in simple group tasks.
  • Likes to please adults.
  • Takes turns when playing and speaking.
  • Gets along with other children.
  • Is keenly interested in family activities.


  • Starts to recognize letters and words.
  • Keeps up activities for longer periods of time.
  • Has developed a self-image.
  • Craves facts.
  • Names simple colors.
  • Understands left from right.
  • Has a vocabulary of about 2,000 to 2,500 words.
  • Can help with chores.
  • Can learn address and phone number.
  • Can think some things through.
  • Can count to 10.
  • Starts to understand idea of opposites.
  • Can speak in sentences of 6 to 8 words.
  • Can tell coins apart.
  • Likes active dramatic play.
  • Understands concepts of morning, afternoon, night, yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
  • Is better able to tell make-believe from real life.


  • Starts to lose primary (baby) teeth.
  • Displays left- or right-handedness.
  • Builds elaborate structures.
  • Tires easily.
  • Bathes, eats, dresses, toilets without help.
  • Plays games related to cooking, learning, bathing, and exploring.
  • Enjoys active games and movement.
  • Enjoys playing noisy rhythm instruments.
  • Is curious about reproduction and birth.
Written by Robert Brayden, MD, Professor of Pediatrics, University of Colorado.
Pediatric Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2012-09-25
Last reviewed: 2013-09-18
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright ©1986-2015 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All rights reserved.

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