Important Milestones: Your child by 5 Years
Check the milestones your child has reached by the end of 5 years by completing a checklist with CDC’s free Milestone Tracker mobile app, for ios and Android devices, or by printing the checklist below. Take the checklist with you and talk with your child’s doctor at every visit about the milestones your child has reached and what to expect next.
What most babies do by this age:
Social and Emotional
- Wants to please friends
- Wants to be like friends
- More likely to agree with rules
- Likes to sing, dance, and act
- Is aware of gender
- Can tell what’s real and what’s make-believe
- Shows more independence (for example, may visit a next-door neighbor by himself [adult supervision is still needed])
- Is sometimes demanding and sometimes very cooperative
- Speaks very clearly
- Tells a simple story using full sentences
- Uses future tense; for example, “Grandma will be here.”
- Says name and address
Cognitive (learning, thinking, problem-solving)
- Counts 10 or more things
- Can draw a person with at least 6 body parts
- Can print some letters or numbers
- Copies a triangle and other geometric shapes
- Knows about things used every day, like money and food
- Stands on one foot for 10 seconds or longer
- Hops; may be able to skip
- Can do a somersault
- Uses a fork and spoon and sometimes a table knife
- Can use the toilet on her own
- Swings and climbs
Act early by talking to your child’s doctor if your child:
- Doesn’t show a wide range of emotions
- Shows extreme behavior (unusually fearful, aggressive, shy or sad)
- Unusually withdrawn and not active
- Is easily distracted, has trouble focusing on one activity for more than 5 minutes
- Doesn’t respond to people, or responds only superficially
- Can’t tell what’s real and what’s make-believe
- Doesn’t play a variety of games and activities
- Can’t give first and last name
- Doesn’t use plurals or past tense properly
- Doesn’t talk about daily activities or experiences
- Doesn’t draw pictures
- Can’t brush teeth, wash and dry hands, or get undressed without help
- Loses skills he once had
Positive Parenting Tips
- Continue to read to your child. Nurture her love for books by taking her to the library or bookstore.
- Let your child help with simple chores.
- Encourage your child to play with other children. This helps him to learn the value of sharing and friendship.
- Be clear and consistent when disciplining your child. Explain and show the behavior that you expect from her. Whenever you tell her no, follow up with what he should be doing instead.
- Help your child develop good language skills by speaking to him in complete sentences and using “grown up” words. Help him to use the correct words and phrases.
- Help your child through the steps to solve problems when she is upset.
- Give your child a limited number of simple choices (for example, deciding what to wear, when to play, and what to eat for snack).
Child Safety First
As your child becomes more independent and spends more time in the outside world, it is important that you and your child are aware of ways to stay safe. Here are a few tips to protect your child:
- Tell your child why it is important to stay out of traffic. Tell him not to play in the street or run after stray balls.
- Be cautious when letting your child ride her tricycle. Keep her on the sidewalk and away from the street and always have her wear a helmet.
- Check outdoor playground equipment. Make sure there are no loose parts or sharp edges.
- Watch your child at all times, especially when he is playing outside.
- Be safe in the water. Teach your child to swim, but watch her at all times when she is in or around any body of water (this includes kiddie pools).
- Teach your child how to be safe around strangers.
- Keep your child in a forward-facing car seat with a harness until he reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by the car seat’s manufacturer. Once your child outgrows the forward-facing car seat with a harness, it will be time for him to travel in a booster seat, but still in the back seat of the vehicle. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has information on how to keep your child safe while riding in a vehicle.
- Eat meals with your child whenever possible. Let your child see you enjoying fruits, vegetables, and whole grains at meals and snacks. Your child should eat and drink only a limited amount of food and beverages that contain added sugars, solid fats, or salt.
- Keep television sets out of your child’s bedroom. Set limits for screen time for your child to no more than 1 hour per day of quality programming, at home, school, or afterschool care and develop a media use plan for your family
- Provide your child with age-appropriate play equipment, like balls and plastic bats, but let your preschooler choose what to play. This makes moving and being active fun for your preschooler.
- Make sure your child gets the recommended amount of sleep each night: For preschoolers 3-5 years, 10–13 hours per 24 hours (including naps)