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Milestones: What to Expect From Your 5-year-old

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It’s official now: our baby is no longer a baby. She’s independent, confident, has a mind of her own. She spends hours playing with her toys, loves to try new things and when she gets frustrated, is better able to express it. It’s hard to believe how time has flown, but she’s ready for ‘big school’.

Of course, every 5-year-old grows and develops at his or her own pace, but what’s interesting to note is that we will see some differences in boys and girls, especially in their physical growth, social skills and psychological maturity.

Here are a few ways that 5-year-old boys and girls tend to differ as they grow older.

In the playground 

Boys like motion. They prefer to express themselves through more rough play like pushing, shoving or chasing around. They like to be superheroes who engage in combat and destroy ‘the bad guys’. They are more likely to be competitive

Girls are more likely to be ‘talkers’. They would rather talk through their differences than get physical. Their pretend play is more likely to revolve around social situations eg. doll’s tea party or taking the baby for a walk in the pram. Their games will involve more turn taking than boys.

‘Can we be friends?’

Although there are exceptions, as they hit the 5-year mark, boys and girls tend to have more same-sex playmates

Boys tend to want to belong to a group. They strike up friendships with others who share the same interests eg. sports or racer cars. They are more likely to have many friends and not just ‘a’ best friend.

Girls prefer smaller groups and like to make deeper connections with their friends. They are more likely to have one or two best friends who they share secrets with.

In the classroom

Boys might seem slower at first, but they tend to catch up around this age. They are more likely to be better in visual tasks. Because they love motion, they may have a harder time sitting still.

Girls tend to have longer attention spans and may focus on a task for longer. Their verbal skills mature faster than boys

Dealing with emotions

Boys might seem more aggressive on the surface, but the rough behavior conceals a need for emotional support and guidance. Boys need more help with processing and articulating emotions and so tend to express themselves physically.

Girls tend to emotionally mature earlier and so can navigate the minefield of emotions with greater success. They are also more confident and likely to take charge at this elementary stage.

Let’s get sporty

Boys love more physical sports and group sports. Participating in sporting activities helps them build their confidence and sense of self.

Girls tend to gravitate towards more individualistic sports such as gymnastics and swimming.

Parenting a 5-year-old

Our kids may be growing older and more independent, but our ability to influence and nurture them is more crucial than ever. They need our guidance, our praise, our presence to grow into well-rounded, responsible individuals. They need to hear that they’re doing ok and that their opinions matter.

We need to understand and appreciate their unique personalities and help them flower at their own pace. With our understanding and support, our child can grow into a strong, self-aware, socially responsible and model young person, who can make us proud.

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