Five-year-old children

This is only an introduction, a basic guide to the characteristics of children between two and five years old. By no means all children are as described in this profile. Some take more or less time to acquire and master certain attitudes and behaviour. Please, let’s remember this as we read, so we can accept and help in the personal and unique development of every child.

* Are increasingly autonomous and continue to develop their capacity for using their own initiative.

* Have greater emotional stability and good social adapatation. Inter-individual feelings appear: affection, sympathy, and antipathy. Moral feelings begin to appear. They have high self-esteem and try to overcome difficulties. They have confidence in themselves and are self-sufficient. They are susceptible to fears and irrational anxieties.

* Can regulate their interests and postpone desires. They share their belongings.

* Need and look for the company of other children. They begin to respect turns to play and demand it in others. Competition begins, each child seeking to be “the best”.

* Play in groups of 4/5 (or more) children. They really participate and co-operate to maintain unity. The first leaders and “gangs” appear in a marked way. They show preference for playmates of the same sex and are very interested in drawing, painting, construction games and jigsaws. (Things to take into account: when a child is in the Kindergarten period they enjoy playing with parents or older children very much. This is essential for the development of their self-esteem and the formation of a solid emotional bond). Unjustified interruption to their playtime is not good and can lead to frustration and aggressiveness.

* Are persevering and, at times, perfectionists. Their attention span has increased notably. They are observant and ask about everything around them, with the intention of gaining knowledge (unlike three and four year olds). They are interested in the use and origin of the things around him.

* Language: they speak with precision and should have accurate pronunciation by the end of kindergarten, so as to achieve better acquisition of reading and writing, the letter “r” being a possible exception. They use all the speech patterns offered by their environment and should use grammar and verb tenses correctly.

* Are responsible and can be entrusted with tasks; they like helping adults. They can put their toys away in an organised manner.

* Fine motor skills are well developed. They can do up buttons, tie shoelaces and use a pair of scissors properly.

* Are interested in sexual differences. The awareness of sex is clear and defined, although at this age sexuality does not have the same connotations as for an adult. They are interested in biological processes: plant growth, animal births, etc.

* Recognise right and left and laterality is defined. This may be achieved towards the end of their time at kindergarten.

* Do not have a clear concept of time.

* Move with assurance and independence. They want to measure their own physical capacities. They have an awareness of danger.

We recommend stimulating creativity, free play and avoiding extensive periods in front of the television or video games. If the children have access to games on Internet, make sure that they are age appropriate and always be alert to the pages that can be opened or that may appear onscreen, since they may be harmful to the child. It is advisable to have the computer in a well-used area of the house to ensure greater control.