Written by: Denise Morgan
It is a legal requirement for children in England to begin school by the age of five.Primary school age development is important in preparing your child for school. ¬†This may be the first time your child has experienced the social setting of school, or they may have already attended nursery. Some children may be initially reluctant to be parted from their parents, but five year olds are usually happy to socialise with others their age. However, it is important to comfort and reassure your child should they become upset by a new situation such as school.
Learning Right From Wrong
Playground games are not just fun but are also essential components in teaching your child rules, respect and even vocabulary. Singsong chants that accompany games present the opportunity for children to develop speech and turn taking, which is a necessary part of many games, allows your child to understand the importance of respecting other children. At this age however children may understand that games have rules but will also realise that you may not always win if you follow these rules. Children often cheat in order to come first in a game and their frustrations at not winning may take the form of rough play or tantrums. Eventually they will realise that this behaviour is not acceptable and that it can also affect the dynamic of their friendship with peers.
The Love of Learning
School is a fun environment for five year olds and they will want to learn. Their inquisitive nature will absorb all information that is given to them and they enjoy solving puzzles and devising ways to get a desired result. This can be learning an instrument or growing vegetables.
The Three Rs
At this stage, children will be eager to read and write, and may be able to process simple mathematical problems. It is usual for a child of five to be able to count to 10 or even 20, but this will be from learning the numbers as a list, not as associative amounts.
Previously challenging tasks are now relatively easy and many five year olds can button, unbutton and zip clothes without any difficulty. You can enjoy active games with your child such as catch, football and skipping. Co-ordination is such that your child will most likely be able to ride a bicycle with stabilisers.
Where Do Babies Come From?
It may seem like only yesterday that your child was a baby themselves, so to have them ask them how babies come to be may be a difficult question for some parents to answer. Children of this age love to ask questions and it is wise to give them simple, honest but uncomplicated answers that are appropriate for their age. Be aware that children can often acquire information from the playground and so it is better for you as their parent to discuss sex in a positive, simple and unthreatening way so they are not confused or afraid of the subject or of asking questions in the future. If you are unsure about what to say, perhaps find a book or online guide that is specifically designed to explain sex and relationships to very young children.
If you feel your child is not reaching recommended milestones, approach a health professional who will be able to assess the development of your child. You may wish to discuss your concerns with the school to gain feedback and advice.