Preschooler development medlineplus medical encyclopedia electricity towers health risks


The preschooler learns the social skills needed to play and work with other children. As time passes, the child is better able to cooperate with a larger number of peers. Although 4- to 5-year-olds may be able to start playing games that have rules, the rules are likely to change, often at the whim of the dominant child.

Elaborate storytelling may progress into lying. If this is not addressed during the preschool years, this behavior may continue into the adult years. Mouthing off or backtalk is most often a way for preschoolers to get attention and a reaction from an adult.

• Car safety is critical. The preschooler should ALWAYS wear a seatbelt and be in an appropriate car seat when riding in the car. At this age children may ride with other children‘s parents. It is important to review your rules for car safety with others who may be supervising your child.

• Falls are a major cause of injury in preschoolers. Climbing to new and adventurous heights, preschoolers may fall off playground equipment, bikes, down stairs, from trees, out of windows, and off roofs. Lock doors that give access to dangerous areas (such as roofs, attic windows, and steep staircases). Have strict rules for the preschooler about areas that are off-limits.

• Kitchens are a prime area for a preschooler to get burned, either while trying to help cook or coming in contact with appliances that are still hot. Encourage the child to help cook or learn cooking skills with recipes for cold foods. Have other activities for the child to enjoy in a nearby room while you are cooking. Keep the child away from the stove, hot foods, and other appliances.

• Keep all household products and medicines safely locked out of the reach of preschoolers. Know the number for your local poison control center. The National Poison Control Hotline (1-800-222-1222) can be called from anywhere in the United States. Call if you have any questions about poisoning or poison prevention. It does NOT need to be an emergency. You can call for any reason, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

• Sex role development is based in the toddler years. It is important for the child to have appropriate role models of both sexes. Single parents should make sure the child has the chance to spend time with a relative or friend who is the opposite sex of the parent. Never be critical about the other parent. When the child has sexual play or exploration with peers, redirect the play and tell the child that it is inappropriate. Do not shame the child. This natural curiosity.

• Discipline should give the preschooler chances to make choices and face new challenges while maintaining clear limits. Structure is important for the preschooler. Having a daily routine (including age-appropriate chores) can help a child feel like an important part of the family and enhance self-esteem. The child may need reminders and supervision to finish chores. Recognize and acknowledge when the child behaves, or does a chore correctly or without extra reminders. Take the time to note and reward good behaviors.

• From age 4 to 5, many children backtalk. Address these behaviors without reacting to the words or attitudes. If the child feels these words will give them power over the parent, the behavior will continue. It is often difficult for parents to stay calm while trying to address the behavior.

• When a child is starting school, parents should keep in mind that there can be big differences among children ages 5 to 6 in terms of attention span, reading readiness, and fine motor skills. Both the overly anxious parent (concerned about the slower child’s abilities) and the overly ambitious parent (pushing skills to make the child more advanced) can harm the child’s normal progress in school.

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