While every age group has its challenges, the preschool years, in general, are often felt to be magical! Preschoolers are developing a sense of independence, from toileting and dressing themselves to even caring for others, whether pets or siblings or dolls. They develop readiness for separation from you as they start preschool programs.
Their thinking becomes highly imaginative, manifested in pretend play, imaginary friends, dressing up in costumes, and telling wild stories. They are full of excitement and adventure. Sometimes their imaginative thinking will lead to heightened fears (i.e. monsters) or experimentation with lying. This is normal but requires parenting modification. The enthusiasm can also contribute to a normal period of stuttering, as their speech takes on sentence structures while their minds race through paragraphs!
Their sense of coordination between both sides of their body leads to pedaling then skipping and swimming. Their dexterity lends to holding a crayon/pencil correctly and working more complex puzzles or building materials. They are little sponges with learning and quickly start to pick up shapes, colors, letter recognition, and counting. Point these things out as you walk through everyday life. They will also enjoy books as they learn about animals and places and people and life!
Most of them have been developing a sense of respect for authority and boundaries in behavior. They are also able to express their needs and thoughts much more thoroughly. These milestones make the age enjoyable and more adaptable to your lives. Family time is very important! Meals together, play together, and trips together will establish their sense of security and identity.
Eating can be a challenge at this age, as they typically resist trying new things. Don’t give up! Another confounding factor is that they usually do not enjoy the social aspect of meals like adults do. Therefore, they will eat when they’re actively growing and when their bodies need fuel but otherwise be disinterested. Our section on feeding helps guide you through these issues.
Enjoy the bright spark of life they offer each day! Laugh at the silly things and face the challenges with careful attention balanced with optimism.