Important Developmental Milestones: Ages 4 to 5 and Beyond

Important Developmental Milestones: Ages 4 to 5 and Beyond

Through the years, your child is growing up and becoming more mature everyday. Year 4 to 5 is when you start to really see their physical, as well as mental growth. Your little ones now can run and jump freely, speak longer sentences, tell stories about what happened in their day and show empathy towards other people. They’re really growing into their little person, and we cannot help but feel proud of them! 

And though it’s important to remember that children develop at different paces, here are some milestones that your child will most likely achieve before he or she turns 6. 

Language & Cognitive Development

At 4 to 5 years old, your child’s language and cognitive skills have developed greatly. Their vocabulary is growing rapidly, and they are now able to carry on a conversation. Not only that, their thought process is also developing as they begin to understand more abstract concepts and become more curious about the world around them. 

Language - wise, your little ones now can speak more clearly, and are able to form longer sentences. They can also answer simple questions and have back - and - forth conversations with other people. And as their language skills develop, their growing understanding of time helps them use past and future tenses in sentences, such as “We will go to the park tomorrow” or “I played with Sam yesterday”. 

In terms of cognitive development, your 4 - year - old now can follow a multi - step command, usually three or more, such as “Pick up your socks, put your books away then sit on the couch with your dinosaur friend”. And as mentioned previously, your child’s understanding of concepts like size or time is also developing rapidly. They can compare different shapes, sizes and use future and past tenses in their sentences. In addition, they are also becoming increasingly curious about their surroundings, and might ask a lot of questions, such as “Why is the sky blue?” or “Why does mommy have blonde hair?”. It’s also worth mentioning that children at this age are also quite the author, as they love making up their own stories with all sorts of characters and scenarios. 

children reading

A brief language & cognitive development checklist:

  • Speak clearly using more complex sentences
  • Correctly name at least four colors and three shapes
  • Have a greater attention span (can play on their own for longer periods of time)
  • Follow multi - step commands
  • Begin to understand more abstract concepts, such as time
  • Remember their address and phone number (if taught)
  • Have back and forth conversations
  • Predict what comes next in a story or a book

Motor Development

By the time your child is 4 years old, both their fine and gross motor skills have developed significantly. And physical growth - wise, your little ones are quickly getting taller. A typical 4 - year - old weighs an average of 40 pounds and is about 40 inches tall. They should be gaining weight at the rate of about a quarter of an ounce per day. But all this growth will require a healthy diet with all the essential nutrition and good sleep, from 11 - 13 hours per night. 

Regarding gross motor skills, your 4 - year - old now can run and jump freely. They should also be able to balance on one foot and even walk backward. This is also the age when a lot of children learn to ride a bike or scooter. It’s important to remember that children learn through play, so parents should encourage their children to engage in various physical activities, such as running, hopping, throwing, kicking balls, climbing, and many more. 

In terms of fine motor skills, children this age should be able to use different utensils while eating and writing. No longer holding a pen in a fist, they should now be able to hold it the correct way - between their thumb and finger. They will also be able to dress and undress themselves, brush their teeth and use the toilet without much help like before. And make sure to reserve some space on the wall or fridge, because the little artist will start to draw a lot. 

children drawing

A brief motor development milestones: 

  • Walk up and down stairs without help
  • Walk forward and backwards
  • Copy a triangle, circle, square, and other shapes
  • Draw a person with a body
  • Stack 10 or more blocks
  • Use eating utensils such as fork or spoon
  • Hold a crayon or pencil between thumb and fingers 
  • Dress and undress, brush teeth, and use the toilet without much help

Emotional & Social Development

Approaching the age of 4 to 5 years old, your child will seem to have matured a lot compared to when they were younger. They now have more opinions and beliefs, and are able to understand and express their emotions better. This growth directly correlates with their developing language and cognitive skills. With that being said, they are still prone to meltdowns, and not every child has learned to control and regulate their emotions. It’s worth mentioning that children this age thrive on routines, and setting a predictable daily routine can be beneficial to both their mental and physical state. 

This is also the period of time when children begin to form real bonds and meaningful friendships with their peers. They are now better at cooperating with others, and have learned to work with and even share things with their friends. They’re also becoming increasingly more aware of the emotions of others, such as feeling sad or crying when their friends are upset, or showing empathy with a character in a story. 

children playing together

A brief emotional & social development checklist: 

  • Enjoy playing with other children and pleasing their friends
  • Understand the rules of games
  • Become more independent and want to do certain things by themselves 
  • Express emotions verbally
  • Might have imaginary friends
  • Understand the difference between make - believe and reality
  • Comfort others who are hurt or sad, such as hugging a crying friend
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