Having a preschooler has opened my eyes to how quickly children can learn new concepts. It also taught me how fast a bad example can develop into bad behavior. This crash course in child development: preschool will help us navigate parenting preschool aged children.
This stage is the time to be sure you have a strong sense of what your parenting philosophy is, and have a disciplinary strategy in place for teaching your child the ever-elusive lesson of self-control.
(The most important and most difficult lesson of this age group in my opinion).
I have often said about my children that they will hopefully use their powers for good and not evil because they are eager to socialize and always ready to explore! If it looks fun, they are ready and willing to try it.
My challenge is to teach my preschooler the self-control (goes hand-in-hand with self-awareness) necessary to encourage that they take into account how their actions will affect them and others while not diminishing their self-esteem and eagerness to explore.
Crash Course in Child Development: Preschool
According to another developmental theorist, Erik Erikson, children from 3-5 years old are in the stage of working out “Initiative vs. Guilt.” Initiative vs. guilt really means: developing a sense of competence.
If a child feels that they have the capability to take on a challenge, then they will attack it. If they feel insecure or unskilled, they will shy away from it. We need to encourage the ‘initiative” and guide so that failure does not result in ‘guilt.’
Child Development Milestones for Preschool
I believe that the main lessons this age group needs to learn are self-help, developing friendships, and self-control.
-Self-help skills such as removing and putting on clothes-buttons, snaps, zippers, shoes-are all milestones for children 3-5 years old.
This age range means some 3 year olds may be ready to learn these skills, but from ages 3-5 is generally when children learn and master this area of development. Some children may start later than others or earlier.
-Self-control internally with potty training and emotions-being aware that their actions affect their self and others-listening to trusted adults, taking the opportunity to make a choice when it is offered, being accountable for their own behavior, and learning about their emotions and the emotions of others are all skills preschool aged children are learning.
“Success in this stage leads to a sense of purpose, while failure results in a sense of guilt.”(Source)
We really have such power to teach our children self-esteem starting so young!
Tips for Parenting Preschoolers
If your child has a positive interest, follow it!
If they want to potty train, try it!
If they want to talk to the kids at the playground while you are supervising, allow it!
If they exhibit a behavior you do not want them to continue. Teach them!
As the adults, we have to avoid putting our children in situations for which they are not ready.
When we make smart choices, the exploration and independence is not scary for us to witness, or dangerous for our children. If we put opur children in situations that they are not ready to navigate, and we are not present enough to offer guidance, bad behaviors can develop.
It can be hard to let our children grow up, but it is so good for them, and developmentally appropriate. Let your preschooler begin to develop the sense that they are a ‘big kid’ with lots of time still to grow and learn. They are not adults yet, but the lessons they learn at this stage of child development will set the foundation for your future parenting.
What do you like best about the preschool age? What is the most challenging?
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