5 Years

At age five years, your child should:

  • Define objects by their use and tell what they are made of
  • Know spatial relations, like "on top," "behind," "far" and "near"
  • Have a sentence length of 5-6 words
  • Have a vocabulary of around 2,000 words
  • Know his/her address
  • Understand common opposites, like "big/little" and "hard/soft"
  • Understand "same" and "different"
  • Be able to count 10 objects
  • Carry a plot in a story
  • Use future, present and past tense
  • Stay with one activity for 12-13 minutes
  • Distinguish left and right hand in himself / herself
  • Use all types of sentences, some of which will be complex; for example, "I can go in the house after I take off my muddy shoes."
  • Give and receive information through question asking and answering
  • Use irregular plurals
  • Be grammatically correct most of the time
  • Use many adjectives and adverbs to describe actions, objects and events
  • Be 100% intelligible

At age five, your child may:

  • Tell long stories accurately
  • Use all pronouns correctly
  • Classify according to form, color and use
  • Be able to tell a rather connected story about a picture
  • Increase the correct social use of language

You can stimulate the speech and language development of your five-year-old by:

  • Encouraging your child to use language to express his or her feelings, ideas, dreams, wishes and fears
  • Allowing your child to create new, free designs with crayons and pencils or paper
  • Allowing opportunities to learn songs, rhymes or verses from memory
  • Continuing to read longer stories
  • Talking with him or her as you would an adult in most instances
  • Listening to him or her when he or she talks to you

Some specific activities are:

  • Encouraging your child to make up a story using the name of the family pet or a family member
  • Cooking something in the kitchen and talking about what you do "first, next and last"
  • Looking through magazines or books with your child and describing the people or objects that you see
  • Allowing your child to help you plan activities, such as what you will make for Christmas dinner
  • Looking at family photos and talking about the activities and the people in them

If you are concerned that your child may not be developing these skills as he or she should, you may seek the advice of a speech-language pathologist.