Preschool (4 to 5 Years)

While all children may grow at a different rate, the following are averages for 4- to 5-year-old boys and girls:

  • Weight: average gain of about 4.4 to 6.5 pounds a year
  • Height: average growth of about 3 inches per year
  • Head size: average growth of about 1 inch per year

As your child continues to grow, you will notice new and exciting abilities that your child develops. While children may progress at different rates, the following are some common milestones children may reach in this age group.

4-year-olds:  

  • Sing songs
  • Skip and hop on one foot
  • Catch and throw a ball overhand
  • Walk downstairs alone
  • Draw a person with three separate body parts
  • Build a tower with 10 blocks
  • Understand the difference between fantasy and reality

5-year-olds:

  • Jump rope
  • Walk backwards
  • Balance on one foot with eyes closed
  • Use scissors
  • Begin learning to tie shoes
  • Copy shapes while drawing
  • Dress themselves
  • Know address and phone number
  • Recognize and recite the alphabet
  • Have permanent teeth that may begin to come in

What can my child say?

Speech development in children is very exciting for parents as they watch their children become social beings that can interact with others. While every child develops speech at his / her own rate, the following are some common milestones children may reach in this age group.

4-year-olds:

  • Can say approximately 1,500 different words
  • May put together four to five words into a sentence
  • Will ask questions constantly
  • May know one color or more
  • Like to tell stories
  • May use some "bad" words (if he / she has heard them spoken repeatedly)

5-year-olds:

  • Can say approximately 2,000 words
  • May put together six to eight words into a sentence
  • May know four or more colors
  • Know the days of the week and months
  • Can name coins and money
  • Can understand commands with multiple instructions
  • Talk frequently

What does my child understand?

As a child's vocabulary increases, so does his / her understanding and awareness of the world around them. Children at this age begin to understand concepts and can compare abstract ideas. While children may progress at different rates, the following are some of the common milestones children may reach in this age group.

4-year-olds:

  • Become more aware of self and, as a result, believe that his / her own thoughts can make things happen
  • May obey parent's rules, but does not understand right from wrong

5-year-olds:

  • Have increased understanding of time
  • Are curious about real facts about the world
  • May compare rules of parents with that of friends

How does my child interact with others?

A very important part of growing up is the ability to interact and socialize with others. This can be a frustrating transition for the parent as children go through different stages, some of which are not always easy to handle. While every child is unique and will develop different personalities, the following are some common behavioral traits that may be present in your child.

4-year-olds:

  • Very independent, want to do things on their own
  • Selfish, do not like to share
  • Moody; mood swings are common
  • May be aggressive during mood swings and become aggressive to family members
  • Have a number of fears
  • May have imaginary playmates
  • Like to explore the body and may play doctor and nurse
  • Might "run away" or threaten to do so
  • Fight with siblings
  • Will often play with others in groups

5-year-olds:

  • Generally more cooperative than 4-year-olds
  • Generally more responsible than 4-year-olds
  • Eager to please others and make them happy
  • Have good manners
  • Dress themselves completely without help
  • Get along well with parents
  • Like to cook and play sports
  • As they enter school, they may become more attached to parent
  • Offer compliments for good behavior and achievements.
  • Encourage your child to talk to you and be open with his / her feelings.
  • Read to your child, sing songs, and talk with him / her.
  • Spend quality time with your child and show him / her new experiences.
  • Encourage your child to ask questions and explore.
  • Encourage physical activity with supervision.
  • Arrange times for your child to be with other children, such as in play groups.
  • Give your child the chance to make choices, when appropriate.
  • Use time-out for behavior that is not acceptable.
  • Encourage your child to express his / her anger in an appropriate manner.
  • Limit television watching to one hour a day. Use free time for other, more productive, activities.

Last Updated 04/2013