Childhood Development: 5 to 7 Years
Years As your child begins school, each day becomes an adventure and a time of discovery. This period of childhood is the time each child begins to learn skills needed to become a self-sufficient person. Each child has his or her own personality that influences each step of learning and development. Physically, this is also a time of tremendous growth. Your child will grow about 7 lbs. and 2 1/2 inches each year during this time. Muscular strength, coordination, and stamina increase, though your child may be somewhat clumsy at this time as his height and weight increase so rapidly.
How your child eats:
- Your child is capable of measuring ingredients and using simple kitchen utensils such as an eggbeater, grater, and vegetable peeler. Practice basic skills until they are mastered before allowing your child to try advanced tasks. Make sure to carefully supervise activities in the kitchen.
- Watch your child when he eats and avoid giving him foods that he might choke on. Examples include "hard to chew" food like steak, "small and round" food like hot dogs, grapes, peanuts, popcorn (hot dogs and grapes can be cut into strips), and "sticky" food like peanut butter (peanut butter can be mixed with plain yogurt to decrease stickiness).
How to care for your child's mouth:
- Your child can start putting the toothpaste on by himself. As he gets older (around 7 years) you no longer have to brush his teeth after him. This is also a good time to teach your child how to floss responsibly.
- Your child may begin to lose her "baby" (primary) teeth around age 6. It is very important that your child see a dentist regularly to ensure the growth of healthy permanent teeth.
- Your child should be seeing a pediatric dentist every 6 months.
- How your child uses his hands (your child's fine motor skill development):
- Your child will learn how to use a pencil to make shapes (like a square)
and then to make letters, words and sentences.
- Your child will be drawing people, houses and trees with more detail than before (for example: at least 6 body parts when he draws a person).
- By age 7, your child will be able to tie his shoes (if given the opportunity to learn; with all the Velcro shoes and slip-ons around these days, it may happen later!).
- How your child moves (your child's gross motor skill development):
- Your child will be able to do a series of motions in a row in order to do a complicated motor activity like pumping herself on a swing, skipping, jumping rope, or swimming strokes.
- Your child will develop more visual-motor coordination and be able to catch bounced or thrown balls
more easily. The balls can be smaller now.
- Your child will be able balance on one foot for 10 seconds.
- How your child communicates (your child's speech and language development):
- Your child will be able to recognize opposites, define objects by their use, and use relatively good sentence structure.
- By the time your child turns 7, she will be able to say "v", "j", "sh," "ch", "r", "l", "s", "th" and "str" sounds like in the words "victory", " judge", "shush", "child", "rabbit", "little", "six", "thirteenth", and "street"
- Your child understands the rules of conversation and is able to talk and then listen.
- Be a good listener yourself and encourage stories.
- How your child explores (your child's cognitive development):
- This is the time for learning the fundamentals of reading, writing, and basic math.
- Your child is eager to learn and has a strong desire to please adults.
- Children at this age can be both cooperative and competitive. Both can promote learning.
- Your child may focus on only one part of a situation. For example, a child of this age may believe that a tall, narrow bottle of soda contains more soda than a short, wide bottle with an equal amount because one is taller than the other.
- Your child may believe that objects have feelings. For example, a child of this age might feel sorry for a car that has a lot of passengers in it.
- Your child will understand the concept of today, tomorrow, and yesterday.
- Your child will be able to follow two-step directions. For example, if you say to your child, "Go to the kitchen and get me a trash bag" they will be able to remember that direction.
- Your child will know his full name, age and address.
- Your child will be able to answer who, what, when, where, why
- How your child is growing emotionally (your child's social and emotional development):
- Developing self-esteem is a central issue at this age.
- Your child is learning to use standards like grades or home runs to measure his performance.
- Home is still very important and is the foundation for your child to become independent.
- Increasing separation and independence from parents are healthy steps in your child's development, so going to grandma's or a friend's house are important.
- Children at this age tend to identify with parent of the same sex.
- Your child is beginning to compare herself against other people's expectations.
- Your child is becoming aware that she is one of many people in the world. Up to this time, most children are focused primarily on themselves. Sometimes, this makes a child seem less outgoing than before.
- Your child may enjoy being with you and at home more at age 5 than she did at age 4. By age 8, your child will probably be more focused on his peers.
- Your child is developing the social skills to make friends.
- Your child is a wonderful mimic. He imitates both good and bad adult behavior.
- Your child is able to communicate well with others without your help.
- How other children perceive your child will affect his self-image.
- Loving and playing with your child:
- Your child will love board games and other types of games at this age. Let yourself be a kid again and play with him!
- Your child will start to be able to think about the world from someone else's perspective. Before age 5, she was pretty much focused on her view!
- During this time, your child will start to gravitate toward playing with children of her own sex.
- Your child will become very interested in the difference between truth and lies. Be open and honest with your child. Praise your child appropriately, but remember to not overdo it. Children can see through false praise.
- Your child often develops modesty around this time. Respect your child and his individuality.
- At the same time that your child develops modesty, he may also become more interested in his genitals and begin fondling them. This is a good time to calmly discuss sexual differences between boys and girls, acknowledge that masturbating "feels good", and then establish family rules about touching (where and when appropriate).
- Take time to listen. Take what your child tells you seriously.
- This is a good time to give your child responsibilities at home within her ability.
- Read, read, read! Encourage your child to read at the level he is comfortable. Practice and success help your child love reading.
- Keep reading aloud. You can read the higher level books your child is not quite ready to read by himself but will enjoy for the action and story line.
- How to keep your child healthy:
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