4 - 5 years

Nutrition

By the age of 5, children should be following the same healthy eating guidelines as adults.

Change4Life provides useful information about how to ensure your child is eating healthily. 

Vitamins

It’s recommended that your child has vitamin A, C and D supplements at this age.

Immunisations and screening tests

Your child is eligible for an annual flu vaccine, usually given as a nasal spray in autumn/ winter

Development

Your child is due for a full health review this year.

Children develop skills at different rates, however usually by 5 years children will:

  • understand spoken instructions without stopping what they are doing to look at the speaker
  • choose their own friends and play mates
  • take turns in much longer conversations
  • understand more complicated language such as ‘first’, ‘last’, ‘might’, ‘may be’, ‘above’ and ‘in between’
  • understand words that describe sequences such as “first we are going to the shop, next we will play in the park”
  • use sentences that are well formed. However, they may still have some difficulties with grammar. For example, saying 'sheeps' instead of 'sheep' or 'goed' instead of 'went'.
  • think more about the meanings of words, such as describing the meaning of simple words or asking what a new word means.
  • use most sounds effectively. However, they may have some difficulties with more difficult words such as 'scribble' or 'elephant'.

Action for Children has produced a useful guide explaining ‘What to expect, when?’ in relation to your child’s learning and development.

Education

At this age your child will start school.

During the first year at school (Reception Year) your child’s learning and development continues to follow the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Framework. Read a parents’ guide to the EYFS.

Activity

Children under five should be physically active every day for at least 180 minutes (three hours).

This should be spread throughout the day, indoors or outside, and include a variety of different activities.

Change4Life has lots of ideas for having fun and being active regularly.

Children’s centres

Havering’s Children’s Centres offer a variety of services and support to parents and children including infant feeding support, parenting courses and play sessions. These can be good opportunities to socialise with other parents, expand your knowledge and receive advice and support.

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