Five starts off with an abundance of curiosity about the world around them. Five soaks up knowledge like a sponge, asking seemingly endless questions as they try to figure out how things work. She is always watching the people around her, hoping to grasp why they do the things they do. Five often mimics the tasks of mom and dad and their play might include such
behaviors like cooking, cleaning, building and/or fixing things. Five likes to be a “helper” and assist mom and dad in tasks around the house. Use this desire to increase connection time, allow them to help out and encourage them to be part of the family team!
Five is a time for transitions. Five’s brain is transitioning from being egocentric to focusing on understanding how their actions effect others. This shift leads to an increase in empathy and the development of more positive social behaviors, such as: sharing, comforting, helping, cooperating, and controlling their aggression. Five primarily depends on observable information to understand the world around them. However, they are also prone to drawing false conclusions about the behaviors they have observed because it is hard for Five to differentiate between fantasy and reality. Five is beginning to understand causality, but may not be able to discriminate between two events happening together and one as the cause for the other. For example, if Five disobeys his mom by not picking up his toys, and later that day mom does not talk much to Five, he may draw the conclusion that his mom no longer loves him because he didn’t pick up his toys. This egocentric logic is based on observable behaviors, and occurs even if mom is busy with other tasks and if mom reassures Five that she is not angry with him. Five struggles to understand, which can result in emotional meltdowns and sadness. Try not to talk too much, comfort Five physically, and reassure them that your love is available even in times of distress. Parents have a magical power of co-regulation. By being accepting, understanding, and calm in times of emotional distress, the parent can calm Five and others. You can do this by being present physically, limiting the language, and increasing understanding by answering the child’s questions when they are ready.
Five may also be transitioning to the start of Kindergarten. Children who have been in daycare may struggle less with the transition to full school days, yet still may feel that Kindergarten is an important milestone because it marks the start of feeling like “a big kid.” Five’s brain is growing tremendously at this time. By the time Five reaches Six, her brain is 90% of its fully grown size.