Your 5 or 6 Year Old

5 Year Olds:


Period of slow growth. Body lengthens out and hands and feet grow larger. Girls usually about a year ahead of boys in physical development.

Good general motor control, though small muscles not so fully developed as large ones.

Eye-hand coordination improving, but still poor. Apt to be farsighted.

Activity level high.

Attention span still short, but increasing.

Little infantile articulation in speech.

Handedness established.


Stable-good balance between self-sufficiency and socialibility.


Beginning to be capable of self-criticism. Eager and able to carry some responsibility.

Noisy and vigorous, but activity has definite direction.

Purposeful and constructive, knows what he's going to draw before he draws it.

Uses language well, enjoys dramatic play.

Can wash, dress, eat and go to the toilet by himself, but may need occasional help.

Individuality and lasting traits beginning to be apparent.

Interested in group activity.


Assurance that he is loved and valued.

Wise guidance.

Opportunity for plenty of activity, equipment for exercising large muscles.

Opportunity to do things for himself, freedom to use and develop his own powers.

Background training in group effort, in sharing and in good work habits that he will need next year in first grade.

Opportunity to learn about his world by seeing and doing things.

6 Year Olds:


Growth proceeding more slowly, a lengthening out.

Large muscles better developed than small ones.

Eleven to twelve hours of sleep needed.

Eyes not yet mature, tendency toward farsightedness.

Permanent teeth beginning to appear.

High activity level-can stay still only for short periods.


Eager to learn, exuberant, restless, overactive, easily fatigued.

Self-assertive, aggressive, wants to be first, less cooperative than at five, keenly competitive, boastful.

Whole body involved in whatever he does.

Learns best through active participation.

Inconsistent in level of maturity evidenced-regresses when tired; often less mature at home than with outsiders.

Inept at activities using small muscles.

Relatively short periods of interest.

Has difficulty making decisions.

Group activities popular, boys' and girls' interest beginning to differ.

Much spontaneous dramatization.


Encouragement, ample praise, warmth, and great patience from adults.

Ample opportunity for activity of many kinds, especially for use of large muscles.

Wise supervision with minimum interference.

Friends-by end of period, a best friend.

Concrete learning situations and active, direct participation.

Some responsibilities, but without pressure and without being required to make complicated decisions and achieve rigidly set standards.

Help in developing acceptable manners and habits.