To receive our newsletter please enter your email address below
This is the age where kids start developing their unique ‘characteristics’. The more they engage with others and learn how to interact, be part of a group, compromise etc, they more they become aware of themselves.
Their social groups become a huge influence on them, because they start forming stronger bonds with individuals other than their parents, and those bonds push them into modeling after those individuals and trying to please them.
A more specific look at those changes comes through the five different aspects of their development.
The active side of children increases further between ages 5-6. They mainly gain a lot more control over their physical movement. Inactivity becomes stressful and they constantly want to be on the move. They are now able to walk backwards, balance while moving quickly, move to the beat of certain music and generally gain almost complete physical freedom.
They tend to believe their strength is greater than it is and expect bigger results, like jumping from one couch to another expecting to land on the other side when they can only make it midway.
Their drawing abilities become more efficient, they can color within outlines, copy shapes and draw objects that will be recognizable to adults. By this age they can effectively dress and undress, even with more complicated clothing like zipping up their jacket, and tying shoes (with adult coaching). They have command over their eating and can use a spoon and a fork effectively and feed themselves independently. They also show clear preference for being left of right handed.
By age 5 children have already gained a wide vocabulary and learnt how to use rather correct grammar. They speak a lot testing this knowledge but when tiered or nervous they end up stuttering and/or repeating their words. They may also lisp. These small language disturbances should not be pointed out by adults, as they are natural and temporary.
They start learning colors and numbers. The can identify different types of money like cents, nickels and dimes. They also start learning how to write. They recognize most letters and can write down some. A few children will learn how to read on their own.
What’s important is that during this age children except adult supervision and guidance and rather expect it as they will only use what they believe they can accomplish so adults should keep providing new skills and teaching them how to use those skills correctly.
Their emotions are reliable and well adjusted as their emotional bond becomes more specific to certain people, like their favorite teacher at school or a specific aunt that they love. They express their emotional feelings in a more complex way, like saying that they are scared of riding this bicycle or that they feel like going to the park. Their emotions are also more thoroughly expressed in an obvious manner, as they learn how to display their frustration to others in a more purposeful way. For example they may go to their room and stay there when upset or stressed.
Their self esteem in increased by demonstrating their new skills to others like informing that they can ride the bicycle or draw a certain object. They also explore their personal characteristics.
Their emotional development also allows them to start experiencing more emotions like embarrassment and fear. So at this age they may fear certain things, like the dark, or dogs. It is important that these fears are not dismissed or ridiculed by adults.
Their social skills increase so do their social circles. They will move to a stage where there are social bonds between them and others that surpass just playing, they will talk more and will engage in conversations during meal time.
They start getting more engaged in social groups at school and prefer group activities. Group activities become more interesting as children gain the ability to make them more complex. They can start playing games with simple rules, and learn how to make small exchanges like offering something in return for something else. They also attempt to solve problems alone, by negotiating and compromising before seeking help from adults.
At this age they start becoming more aware of social ‘groups’ and they will seek acceptance by joining certain groups and purposely exclude others. They may even ask “are we friends?” to reassure the status of the relationship. They become aware of the different genders, even though they will play with both boys and girls; they usually prefer friends of the same sex. Their awareness towards others becomes more solid as they notice other people’s emotions more prominently and offer help and solutions with the intention of making them feel better.
Their ego grows and they seek to do only what they believe to be right despite their knowledge of right and wrong. They will try tricks to avoid exposing themselves like blaming others and lying. They often lie and deceive with the intention to please the adults by pretending to do right.
Lying is a big part of this age, and children do it often without hesitation. This is not an indication that they lack loyalty and parents should show some understanding about fact that it is a natural thing to do during this stage.
In conclusion just like every other stage, age 5-6 also carries its own distinct and extremely important developments. It is the age where parents become less engaged with kids than earlier years (Kids start attending school) and outside influences become prominent in a child’s life, like teachers and school peers. It is important to recognize that most of the a child’s actions at this age should not be considered as ‘wrong’ but more as different tests that children use to gain a better understanding of themselves and everyone around.
As always, Parents should be there for their kids, to answer their questions and help with their development but also allow them the freedom to explore themselves and discover their characters independently.