Nothing beats the high of seeing your four- year- old dress up without help for the first time. After pulling off this feat, you’re at the edge of your seat waiting for another triumph to transpire. But as your child knocks off one milestone after another, it’s important that you’re right there beside him.
“Children learn best in the context of health, positive, and nurturing relationships with their parents and the other significant adults in their lives-including their teachers, peers, and family members”, explains Rosa Milagros Santos, Ph.D., associate professor of the Department of Special Education- University of Illinois, USA. Thus, being doting “stage parents” can be a big plus at this point.
As your child develops many of the skills he would need for everyday living (cognitive, physical, motor, social, emotional, language, and communication), keep in mind that what he learns and masters today will predict his success in the late years, Dr. Santos adds. That’s why it’s important for parents to understand how preschoolers acquire and develop life skills as well, says Rosita Guevarra, early childhood specialist and principal at the Little Presidents Learning Palace Preschool in San Miguel, Manila.
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Dr. Santos stresses, however, that every child is different; each develops at a different pace. “Perhaps some sooner than others, simply because of their genetics and the environment with which they interact,” Dr. Santos says. Children have an inherent drive to explore and master their
environment because they are active participants in their own development.
How do you know your child is becoming a member of the big kid league? Look for the following:
From chatterbox to storyteller
Amazing skills – Your preschooler is learning an average of nine to 20 words a day, stringing together five to six words in a sentence just by listening to conversations and stories read aloud to him. He can now speak and express himself clearly to adults and caregivers. With a longer attention span, your child is more keen on recalling stories that he has read or heard, and would not tire of entertaining you with his fantastic attempts at inventing action and rhymes.
Must-do – “Surround your preschooler with printed materials so he can see and learn their many uses,”says Guevarra. Make reading, writing, and listening materials accessible. Seeing words around him can boost his early language development and, later on, his quest to read. But don’t force him into reading. Doing so will make it seem like a task, and not a fun thing to do.
Click here to read about more preschooler to big kid milestones.