3 - 4 years social and emotional development
Your pre-schooler is beginning to learn impulse control and can now wait (for a very short time) for things to happen. Because of this new skill, he is also able to learn how to share and take turns – although, for some, this can be a long journey.
He is beginning to understand that other people have feelings that may be different from his own. Children of this age are often upset by seeing someone else upset. Tantrums at this age still occur but with ever decreasing regularity and severity.
Developmental milestones include:
- Beginning to take responsibility for his own toileting – although there may be the occasional accident during the day
- Playing cooperatively with other children some of the time
- Learning to sharing and taking turns – this will develop somewhere around his fourth birthday and may take some time to master!
- Leaving his parents more easily
- Becoming more independent and resistant to help
- Showing empathy towards others
- Being involved in complicated imaginative play
- Developing a sense of humour
How can I encourage his social and emotional development
- Play some simple board and card games with him. These will give him lots of opportunities to learn how to take turns and share.
- Give him plenty of time to express himself on paper. Children this age adore craft and will take every chance they’re given to shower you with tokens of their love in the form of paintings and drawings.
Signs that could suggest a developmental problem include:
- He still has big fears that persist and hold him back from doing what he wants to do.
All children are different and develop at different rates, so don’t be overly concerned if your pre-schooler is acquiring new skills at a different rate to those around him. But if you are worried about his development, or it seems to have stalled or be going backwards, talk to a health professional.
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