Ten Things to Remember When Your Child is a Preschooler

Preschooler and father

1. At about this age, children start to think more about the feelings of others.

You can talk with your child about things they do that affect other people. For instance, ask how your child would feel if someone interrupted them while talking. You might agree on a signal, like touching your arm, for when your child wants a turn to talk.

2. During the preschool years, your child will learn to share you with other people.

Give your child the chance to be involved with you or other children for short periods of time. Praise your child for the times when they are playing contentedly on their own.

3. Encourage your preschooler to try new things.

Refrain from pushing  beyond your child’s limits. An activity may seem easy to you, but your child may not be ready for it. Listen to your child, especially when they are scared. Avoid making them try something because you want to do it or you see other children doing it.

4. Resist the impulse to take over your child’s play and make it better.

This may reduce your child’s self-confidence. It can make your child feel as if their work is not worthy of your appreciation.

5. The most important way to build your child’s self-esteem is to make sure your child knows they are loved.

Your child will then begin to see himself as a good, lovable person. Each time your child learns a new skill, right from the earliest days, let your child know how well they have done. You should also encourage your child to cope with new situations, but only expect what’s likely for their age, not perfection.

6. Give your preschooler lots of chances to play – alone, with brothers and sisters, with other children and with you.

When your child plays, they are practicing skills in every area. Your child thinks, solves problems, talks, moves, co-operates and makes moral judgments. Play is helping them get ready for the real world.

7. Praise your child’s attempts to try new things and to deal with frustrating situations.

Never punish, shame or ridicule a child who tries and fails. This can damage or destroy their fragile self-esteem. For the same reason, don’t look for perfection or constant success. Expect only what your child is capable of for their age and stage of development.

8. Make it clear what your expectations and limits are – it helps to prevent problems.

Enforce these limits consistently but always respect your child. Try not to yell, or humiliate your child, and never use physical punishment.

9. When you spend time with your child, let him take the lead sometimes.

Choose what you’ll do together by talking about possible choices and exchanging points of view.

10. A child needs to be given choices as they build confidence and independence.

Deciding what to wear each day is a good place to start. Offer your preschooler two or three choices that suit the weather and (hopefully) the occasion. Even if your child’s choices are not what you would prefer, be happy that your child is happy.

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