Child development and milestones: Your 5-year-8-month-old
What is your child up to this month?
From a six-month-old baby to a 5 years 8 months old child, your little one continues to amaze you with his daily prowess.
In this article, we cover all the common milestones that a 5 years 8 months old child should be achieving, but please remember, every child is a unique individual and will hit his milestones at his own pace.
Your 5 years 8 months old child is able to undress and dress independently, even tie his own shoelaces which shows just how much his fine motor skills have developed. Physical play remains very important. Make sure you encourage your child to play outdoors, rather than stay in one place hunched over an electronic device.
If your child shows interest in more advanced sports like soccer and tennis, now is the time to introduce these. Sports not only promote physical development, but also leadership skills and other positive traits in your child.
- Help make your child's motor skills even stronger by engaging with them in physical activities outdoors. Try fun games like balancing a lemon on a spoon race! It's a great bonding activity too.
- Encourage fine motor skills honing by getting your child to practise his writing skills. Keeping a diary a good way to do this, as well as develop literacy skills.
When to talk to your Doctor
- If your child cannot run without stumbling.
- Your child cannot balance on one foot or throw a ball under-arm
- Your child struggles to grip a pen/pencil properly
By now, your little one might be able to read and write a fair bit, and count up to 50 and even beyond. The questions will still continue and this curiosity remains a sign of further-developing cognitive skills.
Nurture your child's love for reading and basic maths, as this sets firm foundations for budding literary and numeracy skills -- both crucial to proper cognitive development. By now, your child also understands the concept of yesterday, today and tomorrow. Similarly kids of this age understand the difference between past, present and future.
- Get your child STEAM (Science, Tech, Engineering, Arts, Maths) toys to play with to enhance cognitive development. These include puzzles, blocks and art-and-craft activities.
- Play fun games that encourage your child to think. A good example is a treasure hunt.
- Bring learning to everyday activities to make it fun and relatable. For example, a nature walk is a great opportunity to teach your child Science, a fun pizza night where you count the "quarters" teaches maths, and a visit to the museum brings history to life.
When to talk to your Doctor
- If your child cannot count up to at least 20.
- Your child cannot read a basic three-to-four word sentence, e.g. "The cat is fat."
- Your little one shows no curiosity about the world and learning in general.
Your 5 years 8 months old child has well developed social and emotional skills. He plays well with his peers, often preferring this to individual play, and tantrums are minimal or don't occur at all.
Your little one may wear his heart on his sleeve, and cry when he's sad or frustrated. This is a normal part of emotional development at this age. Comfort your little one when this happens and encourage him to articulate what made him upset.
Gone are the days when your child didn't want to share. You'll notice an amicable exchange of toys when your little one plays with friends. He may also want to join in adult conversations, which is fine and good for his social development.
- Practice what you preach. If you ask your child to not lie, and then lie in front of your little one, it will give your child the wrong message.
- Never belittle your child's emotions. Validate them, and find out what is upsetting your child. Don't forget to label the different emotions: "Are you feeling sad because Grandma went home?"
- Avoid promoting stereotypes when it comes to gender and emotions, for example, "boys don't cry." Boys do cry, and this is perfectly okay.
- While teaching manners to your child is great, never force them to hug people (known or unknown) if they don't want to.
- Understand that sometimes, your child might not want to play with others. This is fine and give your little one the alone-time he needs.
When to talk to your Doctor
- If you notice a drastic change in your child's behaviour. For example, he is suddenly fearful to go to school, or to certain houses for playdates.
- If your child displays erratic and violent emotional outbursts.
- You child does not want to play with other children at all.
Your 5 years 8 months old child might amuse you with his "grown up" talk. Kids of this age speak quite well, and in complete, sometimes complex sentences. Don't mind the occasional grammatical mistake in your child's speech. This will correct itself over time.
By now, your child understands what you say - including instructions - completely. You might also notice your child commanding younger friends or siblings around, using their every-expanding vocabulary.
- Encourage your child to speak in front of a mirror. This clever exercise allows your child to see himself talking and the expressions associated with certain ideas and words.
- Your child mirrors your behaviour, including your speech. Remember to use words like "please" and "thank you" and try to control the tone of your voice when you feel angry or upset.
- Continue to encourage your child's love of reading by buying age-appropriate books. You could also buy a simple, child-friendly dictionary and teach your child how to use it.
When to talk to your Doctor
- If your child stammers.
- If your little one cannot coherently articulate a simple sentence.
As your child continues to grow rapidly, it's essential that you offer a healthy, balanced diet to support this growth. Of course, the occasional pizza or ice cream is fine as a treat. You'll find that fussiness with food gradually declines and your little one will display clear preferences for certain types of food.
Your child should be getting between 1,200 to 2,000 calories a day, and drinking adequate water for proper hydration. Here's a quick look at your child's nutritional requirements at 5 years 9 months old.
|Nutrient/Ingredients||Amount Needed Daily||What to feed them|
|Calories||1,200-2,000- depending on growth and activity||2 slices of bread with butter/cheese, or a small cup of fortified cereals with milk|
|Protein||0.5 cup||2-3 small chunks of meat/ 1 egg/1 small cup of legumes|
|Fruits||1-1.5 cups||1 banana + 1 apple, or a bowl of mixed fruits, can mix fruits with pancake as well|
|Vegetables||1.5-2.5 cups||Daily intake should include atleast 2 different type of vegetables, include green leafy vegetables like spinach, a bowl of jacket potatoes, veggies in baked pasta or rice.|
|Grains||3/4th cup||Including rice atleast once a day along with some gluten in the form of bread|
|Dairy||2.5 cups||Feeding 2 small cups of milk a day, along with milk products like butter/ cheese/ buttermilk/ice cream etc.|
Continue taking care of your child's dental health. Please schedule a visit to the dentist if you have never done so before.
- Teach your child about hazards as they will be more prone to injuries and accidents with his active schedule. Make sure he understands the dangers of careless crossing of the road, playing around fire and electrical sockets, etc.
- Involve your child in preparing simple meals under your careful supervision. Not only will this teach your little one the value of good nutrition, but it will also teach him essential life skills.
- Introduce your child to a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, grains and meats for balanced nutrition.
- It's best not to give your child fizzy drinks and sweets which have absolutely no health benefits.
By this age, most of your child's vaccinations must have already been covered. There are a few common ones that are given every year, like the flu shot. Check with your doctor for more information about this vaccination.
In terms of illness, expect common colds and the flu as your child is exposed to bugs at school and builds his immunity.
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