Child: Your Child's Fifth Year

Your child is now almost five years old and ready to go to school. What new developments can you expect from your child during his/her fifth year (48 to 60 months)?

Oh, how the children grow up so quickly! Your child is going to be five soon and starting pre-kindergarten or kindergarten. Maybe you have stayed home with her during these pivotal years as she made her transitions from baby to mobile toddler to speaking child. Whatever the case may be, your baby is all grown up. Here are a few things to expect, development-wise, as your child proceeds through her fifth year (months 48 to 60).

One of the most thrilling developments your child is having is her ability to speak coherently and her ever-growing vocabulary. By this time, your child may know upwards of two thousand words and she is chattering up a storm! Now, instead of straining to decipher her phrases and babyish gibberish, you are having intelligent conversations with her as you watch television together, read bedtime stories together and sit at the dinner table conversing about the day's events.

Something you may not have expected is your child's need to have a little bit of private or "down" time. As a younger child, she was probably glued to your side as you washed dishes, vacuumed the house or piddled around in the garden. During those times, you may have silently wished to have a little peace and quiet so you could read a book or watch one of your favorite shows on television. Now that your child is going to her room and playing with her toys alone for an hour or two at a time, you might find yourself wondering what to do with yourself now that you don't have a "mini-me" attached at your hip. Enjoy both your and your child's newfound independence.

Her memory is getting better all the time. When asked, she can give you her entire name and, quite possibly, her address and phone number. She is counting up to twenty or higher and can look at items and tell you the color or shape. Continue to read to her daily and answer all the questions she may have for you to the best of your ability.

Around this time, she will also start losing her baby teeth, so don't be surprised when she comes up to you wiggling her front tooth and excited to get a present from the tooth fairy when it finally falls out. As her legs get longer and stronger and she becomes more confident in running and skipping, you will notice that instead of going up stairs one stair at a time while tightly grasping onto the rail or your pant leg, she will start to walk up the stairs more swiftly and confidently.

As mentioned earlier, the biggest transition in her fifth year will be her entry into pre-kindergarten or kindergarten. Even if your child has been regularly attending daycare for a few hours a day, this could be a semi-tough transition for both parent and child. Don't be surprised if your child experiences a mild, but temporary, case of separation anxiety during this time. Not every child is the same, but some children take this transition roughly and may cry and beg for their parent not to leave them at school (especially if they have not attended daycare or been away from their parents for more than a few hours). These times will pass as your child will soon realize that having fun learning and playing with other children beats out the anxiety of being away from her parents for a part of the day.

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