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Health & Parenting

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4- to 5-Year-Olds: Developmental Milestones

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Your child is growing up. Have you noticed that your 4- to 5-year-old is becoming more independent and self-confident? If not, you will in the coming year.

Most children this age begin to develop greater independence, self-control, and creativity. They are content to play with their toys for longer periods of time, are eager to try new things, and when they get frustrated, are better able to express their emotions.

Although children grow and develop at their own pace, your child will likely achieve most of the following developmental milestones before he or she turns 6 years old.

4- to 5-Year-Old Development: Language and Cognitive Milestones

Your curious and inquisitive child is better able to carry on a conversation. In addition, your child's vocabulary is growing -- as is his or her thought process. Not only is your child able to answer simple questions easily and logically, but he or she should be able to express feelings better.

Most children at this age enjoy singing, rhyming, and making up words. They are energetic, silly, and, at times, rowdy and obnoxious.

Other language and cognitive milestones your child may achieve in the coming year include being able to:

  • Speak clearly using more complex sentences
  • Count ten or more objects
  • Correctly name at least four colors and three shapes
  • Recognize some letters and possibly write his or her name
  • Better understand the concept of time and the order of daily activities, like breakfast in the morning, lunch in the afternoon, and dinner at night
  • Have a greater attention span
  • Follow two- to three-part commands. For example, "Put your book away, brush your teeth, and then get in bed."
  • Recognize familiar words, such as "STOP"
  • Know his or her address and phone number, if taught

4- to 5-Year-Old Development: Movement Milestones and Hand and Finger Skills

Children learn through play, and that is what your 4- to 5-year-old should be doing. At this age, your child should be running, hopping, throwing and kicking balls, climbing, and swinging with ease.

Other movement milestones and hand and finger skills your child may achieve in the coming year include being able to:

  • Stand on one foot for more than 9 seconds
  • Do a somersault and hop
  • Walk up and down stairs without help
  • Walk forward and backwards easily
  • Peddle a tricycle
  • Copy a triangle, circle, square, and other shapes
  • Draw a person with a body
  • Stack 10 or more blocks
  • Use a fork and spoon
  • Dress and undress, brush teeth, and take care of other personal needs without much help

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