How your child plays, learns, speaks, acts and moves offers important clues about your child’s development. Developmental milestones are the things most children can do by a certain age. Check the milestones your child has reached by his or her 4th birthday and talk with your child’s doctor at every visit about the milestones your child has reached and what to expect next.
What Most Children Do at This Age:
Social / Emotional
- Wants to please friends
- Wants to be like friends
- 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
Language / Communication
- Says name and address
Cognitive (learning, thinking, problem-solving)
- Can draw a person with at least 6 body parts
- Copies a triangle and other geometric shapes
Movement / Physical Development
- 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:
Tell your child’s doctor or nurse if you notice any of these signs of possible developmental delay for this age. For more information, go to www.cdc.gov/concerned or call 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636).
Help Your Child Learn and Grow
You can help your child learn and grow. Talk, read, sing and play together every day. Below are some activities to enjoy with your 5-year-old child today.
- Continue to arrange play dates, trips to the park or play groups. Give your child more freedom to choose activities to play with friends, and let your child work out problems on her own.
- Your child might start to talk back or use profanity (swear words) as a way to feel independent. Do not give a lot of attention to this talk, other than a brief timeout. Instead, praise your child when he asks for things nicely and calmly takes “no” for an answer.
- This is a good time to talk to your child about safe touch. No one should touch “private parts” except doctors or nurses during an exam or parents when they are trying to keep the child clean.
- Teach your child her address and phone number.
- When reading to your child, ask him to predict what will happen next in the story.
- Encourage your child to “read” by looking at the pictures and telling the story.
- Teach your child time concepts like morning, afternoon, evening, today, tomorrow and yesterday. Start teaching the days of the week.
- Explore your child’s interests in your community. For example, if your child loves animals, visit the zoo or petting farm. Go to the library or look on the Internet to learn about these topics.
- Keep a handy box of crayons, paper, paint, child scissors and paste. Encourage your child to draw and make art projects with different supplies.
- Play with toys that encourage your child to put things together.
- Teach your child how to pump her legs back and forth on a swing.
- Help your child climb on the monkey bars
- Go on walks with your child; do a scavenger hunt in your neighborhood or park; help him ride a bike with training wheels (wearing a helmet).
Learn the Signs. Act Early.
For more resources and guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention call 1.800.CDC-INFO (232-4636).
Or Visit the CDC's Website
Content provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” program. The milestone checklist is not a substitute for a standardized, validated developmental screening tool.