5-Year-Old Well Child Check

Although the five-year-olds world seems smooth on the surface, it can be stormy underneath, and it can be more turbulent as your child begins school.

The world of a five-year-old is still a mysterious place, but one in which she has some control. Instead of the impulsiveness she showed at four, she is able to gauge a situation before she reacts, to "stop and think" first. She may be slower to get into situations, and seems to have a serious air about her. She likes the familiar territory at home, the tried and true, and rules. 


At five, your child still believes in magic; it rains because of something he did, or because the clouds were angry. He still thinks he is the center of the universe, and has trouble telling the difference between fantasy and reality. He may believe in the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus the Easter Bunny, ghosts, and monsters.

At this stage, he knows that words stand for ideas and objects, and likes to guess about cause and effect. Although he lives in the "now," he knows the difference between past and future. The five-year-old is on a quest for knowledge, and when he asks questions, he really wants to know the answers. The more experiences he has this year and the more you explain things, the broader his horizons will be.


Except for certain sounds, "s," "v," "f," and "th," your five-year-old is quite the little speaker. His sentences are nicely made, with plurals, pronouns, and correct verb tenses. He knows his name, age, address, phone number, his birthday, and over 2,000 words. It's this use of language that helps him clarify ideas and express himself. It will help him succeed in school and the world. 


Five is a truly creative age. The world is fresh and exciting, and your five-year-old can use his new skills in language, painting, and music to combine ideas in uniquely interesting ways.Your five-year-old can now invent stories, music, dances, and excels at innovative drama alone and with other children. Because creativity is using the mind more than it is using many materials, simple things like art supplies, books, and musical instruments are the tools which help them grow.


  • Stands on one foot for 10 seconds or longer
  • Hops, swings, climbs, can do somersaults
  • May be able to skip
Hand And Finger Skills
  • Copies a triangle and other geometric patterns
  • Draws person with body
  • Prints some letters
  • Dresses and undresses without assistance
  • Recalls part of a story
  • Uses future tense
  • Tells longer stories
  • Likes to argue and reason; use words like "because"
  • Able to memorize address and phone number
  • Is project minded and loves to learn
  • Organizes other children and toys for pretend play
  • More likely to agree to rules
  • Likes to sing, dance and act
  • Sometimes demanding, sometimes eagerly cooperative

Growth And Nutrition

Daily nutritional guide for the 4 to 6 year old

Grains - 6 -11 servings/day

  • Bread, ½ slice
  • Cereal, rice, pasta cooked, 1/3 cup
  • Cereal, dry ½ cup
  • Crackers, 3 to 4

Vegetables -2-3 servings/day

  • Vegetables, cooked or canned ¼ cup
  • Salad, ½ cup

Fruits -2-3 servings/day

  • Fruit, cooked or canned, ¼ cup
  • Fruit, fresh, ½ piece
  • Juice, 1/3 cup

Dairy -2-3 servings/day

  • Milk (does not have to be whole) ½ cup
  • Cheese, 1 ounce
  • Yogurt, ½ cup

Meats and Proteins -2 servings/day

  • Meat, fish, poultry, tofu, 1 ounce (2 1 inch cubes)
  • Beans, dried, cooked, 1/3 cup
  • Egg, 1

Calcium 1000 mg/day

Keep snacks healthy, encourage drinking water and keep juice to a minimum.

Common Issues And Concerns


The parents who have trouble with discipline are often more permissive, because they don't want their children to resent them or because they feel guilty about not being "superparents."  As a parent you may want to take a look at the ways you are being too permissive and make an effort to firm up your discipline in those areas. Make the punishment "fit the crime." Keep your discipline simple, short, and consistent. Be loving but firm.

Map out rules that help your child learn to control impulsiveness and expected behavior without impairing their independence. Keep your child's developmental level in mind when you set limits and don't expect more than he is capable of achieving. Remember that you are a key role model for your child. The more even-handed and controlled your behavior, the more likely your child will be to pattern himself after you.


It is important to read to you child. Children not only love to be read to, but the story and fairy tales assist kids in working through their own fantasies, conflicts, and experimentation with roles. If children are read to at home, they will do better in school, have more complex vocabularies, and ask more complex questions.


Even though your child is older now, it's important to realize that until age seven, television and movies are risky business. Because your child still can't differentiate between reality and fantasy, certain scenes, even in classic family entertainment movies, can terrify her and cause nightmares. Studies have shown that although children can learn from imitating television, they do not learn to think or solve problems. It's been proven that children who watch hours of television every day lag behind their peers in development. Remember, children can't set their own limits.

Sibling Rivalry

Jealousy toward brothers and sisters, and occasionally angry feelings with parents are natural, and nothing for your child to be ashamed of. The basic struggle in sibling rivalry is that a child must learn to share her parents with others, a hard fact to accept. The more dependent the child is on the parent, the harder the struggle is. Often the displays of jealousy are a way to get more love. The line has to be drawn when rivalry moves into destructive behavior, whether it is physical or verbal. No matter how your child feels, she will have to find a civilized solution for it. She will have to accept the fact that neither child will have the exclusive love of the parent.


Many children resort to old habits, like thumb-sucking, at five, especially when they're tired, hungry, watching T.V., or listening to a story. These habits are ways to calm down from pressure, help them concentrate, and make the transition from a hectic stage to a quiet one. By five, your child doesn't usually resort to his habits in public, because he cares too much about what his friends think. The habits will probably stop this year or next year unless you make a big deal about them.


When children are ready, kindergarten is wonderful for them. Brightness is not necessarily the guideline for readiness, behavior traits are a better guide. A child who is ready is healthy, independent, cooperative, and can follow directions.


For age-specific safety tips please visit Healthychildren.org.

Next Well Child Visit

The next routine physical examination is at six years of life.