Parents can take comfort in knowing there is a range for normal development. So at any given age, children will vary in development within their age group. And it is commonly understood that girls develop certain academic and social skills a little faster than boys.
However, there are developmental milestones for children ages 54 to 60 months that can help parents get an idea of typical development for kindergarten. Parents should keep in mind that milestones should not be used as the only indicator of normal development. Below are a just a few skills a family may want to probe. Set up natural situations that would reveal how your child typically responds. If it seems your child is a little behind, set up situations to practice. In the case of delays, it might be wise to have a speech and language evaluation. This way you get an accurate picture of your child’s social and communication abilities.
- Children in this age range understand “wh” questions, such as “where is your backpack”, “who is in your class”, and “when do you come home?”
- They understand familiar descriptors and can also describe objects as well as what they are doing. They can also tell you the use of simple objects.
- This age group typically can answer questions about personal events or stories and also participate in group discussions.
- These children use complete sentences of at least 5 words in length and understand well over 5000 words. Understanding is typically higher than expression.
- Children in this age range are able to change activities when requested and interact appropriately with others during group activities.
- They can offer an item in exchange for another item and ask before using something that belongs to another.
- Children on this age can show empathy for others, offer assistance to others and talk about their own feelings. They also display appropriate expressions or actions for a given social situation.
*some information taken from the Early Childhood Development Chart, 3rd edition, Pro-Ed, 2013
Children may “know” a great deal, but in a new situation, they may seem to “loose” those abilities due to shyness or fear. Parents can help their kindergartner prepare for a positive experience. Visiting the classroom and meeting the teacher are always wise things to do if possible. That way, the first day is not also the first exposure to a new environment and a new adult. Reading books about school and talking about the structure of a school day can also be very helpful. Children can pick out new items just for the beginning of school, like a backpack, thermos, and new shoes. Parents can assure their child they will see them at a certain time and that they will be eager to hear about their child’s school day.
If you think your child may have a speech or language disorder that will impact their comfort or success in kindergarten, contact Speech & Occupational Therapy of North Texas. We will be happy to answer your questions.
For more information about speech and language development of a five year old, visit http://www.asha.org/public/speech/development/45.htm