Life Skills for a 5-Year-Old

A 5-year-old has reached an important stage in her walk toward independence. No longer a toddler and certainly no baby, the typical child at 5 begins kindergarten. Whether your child is starting school, she needs a variety of life skills to thrive. As a parent, you can encourage the development of those skills by providing a rich and supportive home environment.

Physical Skills

Your 5-year-old needs physical life skills to take care of his own needs and participate in learning activities. He should be able to dress and undress himself, go to the toilet, and eat with a knife and fork. To learn crafts and writing, he must be able to cut along a line, hold a pencil and color inside lines. Participation in active games and sports requires the ability to skip and jump. Providing activities, and writing and craft materials, and playing active games with your child will help develop these abilities.

Social and Communication Skills

A typical 5-year-old is able to play with one or more children of either sex, although she prefers those of the same sex. Giving ample opportunities to play with other children helps develop this life skill. A 5-year-old usually speaks her native language fluently, using pronouns, verb tenses and plurals, according to Talking with your child, story-telling, singing together and playing language games help develop language skills.

Emotional Health

A normal 5-year-old is generally well-adjusted, according to the Washington state Child Development Guide. However, she might sometimes tell lies in an effort to cover up mistakes. Teaching desired behaviors through simple feedback and example, rather than criticism, encourages the healthy self-image essential for kindergarten, according to 2.

Skills for Learning

A 5-year-old is able to follow instructions from the teacher. Parents can give practice in this skill through a variety of activities within the child's abilities such as crafts and imitation games. Kindergarten also requires the ability to concentrate on one task for a period of time. Allowing the child to play on a task of his choice without interruptions helps develop this ability, according to A longer attention span also helps 5-year-olds become better problem-solvers.