5-Year-Old Child Physical Development

5 year old child development - kids stretching in gym class
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Five-year-old children have left their teetering toddler years long behind them and are well on their way to becoming more coordinated and precise in their movements as they enter their school-age years. While school-age children grow at different speeds—one might experience a growth spurt at age 5 while another might not shoot up until years later—there are some common physical milestones you can expect to see in 5-year-old children. Here is a general picture of physical development and motor skills milestones you may see in kids who are 5 years old.

Growth at Age 5

At age 5, many children continue to grow out of their chubby-cheeked toddler and preschooler years and begin developing into the lanky grade-schoolers they will become. This is when kids begin to lose fat and gain muscle. Some of the typical milestones are gaining four to five pounds, growing two to three inches, and achieving 20/20 vision.

Losing Teeth and Learning Personal Care

Many 5-year-old children will begin to lose their baby teeth, which will be replaced soon after by permanent teeth in the next couple of years. It should be noted that pediatric dentists do not recommend yanking out loose baby teeth and generally recommend letting baby teeth fall out naturally on their own. Many 5-year-olds can brush their own teeth, although parent supervision is usually still a good idea. They can wash themselves, and even wipe their own bottoms after using the toilet (which parents may also want to also oversee and help with until kids master this skill).

Coordination and Motor Skills​

A child’s ability to hop, skip, run and jump really starts to develop at this age. They will have good balance and better coordination. Playtime in the yard becomes a whole new ballgame—literally! Scooters, bicycles (with training wheels since most kids at this age won't be able to ride a two-wheeler yet), jump ropes, and other play equipment will be used with skill and agility. At 5 years old, many children will not yet be able to master the skills needed to fully understand the rules of team sports such as baseball or soccer; however, they will be able to have fun playing little kid versions of sports and games.

As their small muscles become more fine-tuned, a 5-year-old will be able to dress herself, handle buttons and zippers, and learn how to tie her shoes (although many kids develop this skill later these days since Velcro has taken over children’s footwear). Mealtime will be a different experience as 5-year-olds become more adept at handling forks and knives and need less help with things like cutting their food. As they master their ability to handle utensils, you'll be able to work on developing other skills, like how to have a nice conversation at the dinner table or learning good table manners.

You can encourage the development of these skills by providing enough space for your child to be active and involving them in sports and games. You can also encourage small household chores, such as picking up their toys and helping to set the table.

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