Development (4 - 5 Years)

Ways to Encourage Development (4 - 5 years)

Muscle Skills

  • 4 - 5 year old being activeContinue to provide opportunities for plenty of large muscle activity.
  • Reinforce progress in self‑help skills (toileting and dress).
  • Teach and model healthy habits (for example, hand washing, sanitary eating habits, and covering nose and mouth when coughing/sneezing).
  • Encourage self‑expression through creative activities, such as drawing, painting and dramatic play.
  • Provide child‑size scissors (left-handed, if needed) and larger size crayons.

Language Skills

  • Teach child correct use of the telephone.
  • Encourage child to tell stories, real and make‑believe, and have child choose ending.
  • Involve child in planning activities and sharing his/her events: holiday decorations, meal preparation and outings.
  • Reinforce and encourage child’s progress in speech skills: “I like the way you described your new dress.”
  • Read to child daily. Ask questions about events in the story.

Social and Emotional Skills

  • Encourage healthy expression of feelings. Provide acceptable outlets for anger.
  • Provide opportunities for role-playing through puppets, dress-up clothes.
  • Avoid power struggles. Give clear, simple rules and consequences. Give only acceptable choices. Use such terms as “It’s time to...,” or “The rule is...”
  • Encourage positive peer support by using the “buddy system” – pairing more outgoing child with shy child.
  • Help identify and distinguish between real and imaginary fears.
  • Model good table manners and common courtesy.

Thinking Skills

  • Use calendars, clocks and other visual markers to teach time concepts: “When both hands are on the 12, it will be lunch time.”
  • Reinforce staying with task.
  • Provide simple, honest answers to their why, what, where questions.Continue to teach problem-solving skills through stories, games and actual situational opportunities.

Developmental Tasks (4 - 5 years)

Muscle Skills

  • Hops on one foot; balances on one foot for 10 seconds.
  • Climbs down steps, alternating feet.
  • Toilets without help.
  • Puts on clothing with some help; laces shoes but does not tie shoes.
  • Draws three-part stick person.
  • Cuts on line with scissors.   

Language Skills

  • Tells stories, mixes fact and fiction.
  • Tries out silly words and sounds; trying “four-letter” words (curse words) is typical and should be dealt with calmly.
  • Has vocabulary of near 1,500 words; sentence length of four to five words.
  • Uses adjectives; uses past tense correctly.
  • Understands common opposites (big/little; hot/cold).
  • Uses these sounds correctly: m, n, ng, p, f, h, w, y, k, b, d, g and r.

Social and Emotional Skills

  • Uses verbal skills instead of reacting physically (hitting or grabbing) most of the time.
  • Verbally expresses anger, frustration or jealousy.
  • May be bossy, call others names and brag about accomplishments.
  • May have imaginary playmates and real worries and fears.
  • Plays better in a group, shares and waits turn more easily than a younger child.
  • Separates easily from parents or primary caregiver.

Thinking Skills

  • Has longer attention span, stays with one activity at least 10 ‑ 15 minutes.
  • Understands some time concepts: noontime, early in the morning, next month and next year.
  • Identifies crosses, triangles, circles and squares.
  • Thinks of imaginary conditions such as, ”What if” or ”I hope that.”
  • Sometimes feels that his/her thoughts and wishes cause events to occur. May feel guilty when negative events happen.
     
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