10 Things You Need to Know If You Have a 5-Year-Old

You’ve said goodbye, or good riddance, to all the sweet, semi-torturous trappings of babyhood—the diapers, sleep deprivation, pumps and pacifiers. You now officially have a kid. But before you start getting too nostalgic for night wakings and A+D ointment, take stock of the major milestones ahead this year (hello, kindergarten?!?). Here, ten things you should definitely know about your burgeoning little person.

21 Things Only Moms of Boys Understand

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1. Scientifically, he can exhibit self-control. The brain regions necessary for self-discipline develop between ages three and six. So your five-year-old may be less impulsive—or may still be dumping sugar packets all over the table at the diner. Either way.

2. And should be able to button buttons and tie his shoes. But definitely still needs to sleep with the same gnarled bunny he sucked on in his bassinet.

3Most five-year-olds can write their names. Still, it’s perfectly normal if they don’t read until second grade.

4. But plenty will be “redshirted.” Due to increasing academic and behavioral demands in kindergarten, up to 5.5 percent of parents hold back or “redshirt” five-year-olds with late summer or fall birthdays.

5. And you definitely shouldn’t freak out if he sometimes wets the bed. 15 percent of five-year-olds still need pull-ups at night.

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6. They can create realistic(ish) art. And will start to draw pictures that actually look like the thing they’re supposed to be. Hey, those dragons look like dragons—not a squiggly swirl!

7. Interruption is no longer the enemy. Unlike younger, more distractible toddlers, a five-year-old can return to an engaging activity after being disrupted. Meaning she will go back to the elaborate psychodrama that’s playing out inside her Barbie Dream House, even after she’s slept a full 12 hours.

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8. Obsessively picking out clothes is a textbook-typical developmental skill. Which is not to say she won’t be the next Carolina Herrera...

9. The average five-year-old acquires up to nine new words per day. That’s 4,000 words this year—meaning he’s currently doubling his vocabulary.

10. And possesses almost limitless curiosity. When she asks what Adele means when she sings “Send my love to your new lover,” well, that’s all on you to explain, Mama.