Meeting Milestones: Where Should Kids Be at Age 4 and 5?

Is your child meeting his/her developmental milestones?As parents, one of the most difficult things we face is often our own anxiety about whether or not our children are meeting their developmental milestones. This can be particularly front of mind when kids are entering the school system for the first time.

Here is a simplified guide to what can be expected of kids at the age of 4-years-old and 5-years-old, as well as when it’s worth talking to your child’s doctor.

Related: Ask the Expert: What Are Kids Expected to “Know” When Starting School?

At 4-Years-Old

  • Social and Emotional

  • Plays “Mom” and “Dad”
  • Becoming more creative with make-believe play
  • Prefers to play with other kids than on his own
  • Talks about things she likes and is interested in


  • Knows some basic grammar rules, like how to use ‘he’ and ‘she’
  • Sings songs or poems from memory
  • Can say first and last name

Cognitive (learning, thinking, problem-solving)

  • Names some colors and some numbers
  • Understands concept of counting, and starting to understand concept of time
  • Understands concept of ‘same’ and ‘different’
  • Draws people with 2 to 4 body parts and uses scissors, can copy some capital letters
  • Plays board or card games

Movement/Physical Development

  • Hops and stands on one foot up to 2 seconds
  • Usually catches a bounced ball most of the time

Talk to a doctor if your child:

  • Can’t jump in place
  • Has trouble scribbling
  • Is not interested in interactive games or make-believe
  • Ignores other kids or doesn’t respond to people outside the family
  • Resists dressing, sleeping, and using the toilet
  • Doesn’t use “me” and “you” correctly
  • Speaks unclearly

Related: 5 Early Readers for Your Kindergartener

At 5-Years-Old

Physical Movement

  • Can stand on one foot for 10 second or longer
  • Hops, maybe skips
  • Can do a somersault
  • Uses a fork and a spoon


  • Speaks very clearly
  • Can tell a story using complete sentences
  • Uses future tense when talking about things coming up

Social and Emotional

  • Wants to please and be like friends
  • Likes to sing, dance, and act
  • Knows the difference between reality and make-believe
  • Is sometimes demanding and sometimes very cooperative

Cognitive Ability

  • Can count 10 or more items
  • Can draw people with at least six body parts
  • Can print some letters and numbers
  • Can copy some geometric shapes

Talk to a doctor if your child:

  • Doesn’t show a wide range of emotions
  • Is easily distracted, has a hard time focusing on an activity for more than 5 minutes
  • Doesn’t respond to people, or responds only superficially
  • Can’t tell what’s real and what’s make-believe
  • Can’t give first and last name
  • Doesn’t draw pictures
  • Can’t brush teeth, wash and dry hands, or get undressed without help

For a complete guide on children’s developmental milestones, as well as what you can do to help your child, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

One thought on “Meeting Milestones: Where Should Kids Be at Age 4 and 5?”

  1. Your post is very informative and useful. I appreciate your work. By reading this blog I can remember my kid did all those things that you have written. Every parents should follow these steps for better development of their baby.

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