Child Development of the 4-5 Year Old


♥ Displays frustration when things don’t go their way
♥ Ability to follow rules and directions improves
♥ Presence of a wide range of emotions – may be overly accommodating and then very demanding
♥ Thoroughly enjoys receiving positive adult praise and attention
♥ Freely expresses emotions
♥ Wants to be like their friends and may desire to have the same toys or possessions
♥ Strives to please adults and friends
♥ Has learned how to be a friend and enjoys participating in play dates
♥ Prefers playing with friends of the same sex
♥ Enjoys pretending, singing, acting, and using their imagination
♥ Is able to tell the difference between right and wrong through words and actions
♥ Personal fears develop such as fear of the dark, spiders, etc…
♥ Tattling occurs frequently as they attempt to please adults by pointing out that they are following the rules and someone else is not
♥ Is very competitive
♥ Feels proud when demonstrating responsibility and accomplishing things on their own
♥ Enjoys participating in new experiences such as the first trip to the zoo or a baseball game
♥ Accurately can read the emotions of others and expresses empathy and support
♥ Participates successfully in board games
♥ Enjoys telling jokes


♥ Is able to identify consequences of their behavior
♥ Speaks in complex sentences and has an extensive vocabulary
♥ Can problem solve and talk through situations with an adult
♥ Recalls portions of stories
♥ Continues to learn best through first hand experiences
♥ Is able to think through their actions before acting
♥ Able to tell the difference between fantasy and reality majority of the time
♥ Starts to develop logic in thinking
♥ Is aware of everyday items in the home such as appliances
♥ Knows house address
♥ Follows two-step directions
♥ Reading varies with a child this age being able to read a few words to very simple books
♥ Can remember and tell stories that have a beginning, middle, and end
♥ Understands mathematical concepts such as numbers, bigger, smaller, sorting, matching, counting, patterns, and can do basic addition with manipulatives
♥ Realization that symbols and pictures can represent objects
♥ Begins to learn about three-dimential shapes
♥ Understands time in relation to past, present, and future events
♥ Appears interested in learning about time such as on clocks and calendars
♥ Continues to ask, “Why?” to help make sense of their world and to increase their knowledge base

Motor Skills

♥ Draws a person including their body
♥ Prints some letters
♥ Able to hold a writing tool with the correct formation
♥ Use of either the right or left hand is consistent
♥ Colors within the lines
♥ Cuts on a line
♥ Can copy advanced shapes such as triangles,
♥ Dresses and undresses themselves without assistance
♥ Can independently brush their teeth and comb their hair
♥ Is able to run by controlling movements such as starting, stopping, and turning
♥ Climbs, jumps rope, swings, hops, somersaults, and gallops
♥ Can throw a ball, catch a ball, and bounce a ball
♥ Uses a spoon, fork, and sometimes a knife to eat

Wondering how to use positive discipline and consequences with the 4-5 year old? Visit our age-based discipline page for guidelines and things to consider.

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