The Growing Child: Preschool (4 to 5 Years)
What can my child do at this age?
As your child continues to grow, you will notice new and exciting abilities that your child develops. While children may progress at different rates, the following are some of the common milestones children may reach in this age group:
Sings a song
Skips and hops on one foot
Catches and throws a ball overhand
Walks downstairs alone
Draws a person with three separate body parts
Builds a block tower with 10 blocks
Understands the difference between fantasy and reality
Balances on one foot with eyes closed
Begins learning to tie shoes
Copies shapes while drawing
Knows address and phone number
Recognizes and recites the alphabet
Permanent teeth may begin coming in
What can my child say?
Speech development in children is very exciting for parents as they watch their children become social beings that can interact with others. While every child develops speech at his or her own rate, the following are some of the common milestones children may reach in this age group:
May put together four to five words into a sentence
Will ask questions constantly
May know one color or more
Likes to tell stories
May use some "bad" words (if he or she has heard them spoken repeatedly)
May put together six to eight words into a sentence
May know four or more colors
Knows the days of the week and months
Can name coins and money
Can understand commands with multiple instructions
What does my child understand?
As a child's vocabulary increases, so does his/her understanding and awareness of the world around them. Children at this age begin to understand concepts and can compare abstract ideas. While children may progress at different rates, the following are some of the common milestones children may reach in this age group:
Begins to understand time
Begins to become less aware of only one's self and more aware of people around him/her
May obey parent's rules, but does not understand right from wrong
Believes that his or her own thoughts can make things happen
Increased understanding of time
Curious about real facts about the world
May compare rules of parents with that of friends
How does my child interact with others?
A very important part of growing up is the ability to interact and socialize with others. This can be a frustrating transition for the parent as children go through different stages, some of which are not always easy to handle. While every child is unique and will develop different personalities, the following are some of the common behavioral traits that may be present in your child:
Very independent, wants to do things on his or her own
Selfish, does not like to share
Moody; mood swings are common
May be aggressive during mood swings and become aggressive to family members
Has a number of fears
May have imaginary playmates
Likes to explore the body and may play doctor and nurse
Might "run away" or threaten to do so
Fights with siblings
Will often play with others in groups
Generally more cooperative than 4-year-olds
Generally more responsible than 4-year-olds
Eager to please others and make them happy
Has good manners
Dresses self completely without help
Gets along well with parents
Likes to cook and play sports
As child enters school, he or she may become more attached to parent
How to help increase your preschool child's social ability
Consider the following as ways to foster your preschool child's social abilities:
Offer compliments for good behavior and achievements.
Encourage your child to talk to you and be open with his or her feelings.
Read to your child, sing songs, and talk with him or her.
Spend quality time with your child and show him or her new experiences.
Encourage your child to ask questions and explore.
Encourage physical activity with supervision.
Arrange times for your child to be with other children, such as in play groups.
Give your child the chance to make choices, when appropriate.
Use time-out for behavior that is not acceptable.
Encourage your child to express his or her anger in an appropriate manner.
Limit television watching (or other screen time) to 1 to 2 hours a day. Use free time for other, more productive, activities.