Child Development: Preschoolers (3-5 years old)

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Developmental Milestones

As your child grows into early childhood, her world will begin to open up. She will become more independent and begin to focus more on adults and children outside of the family. She will want to explore and ask about her surroundings even more. Her interactions with family and those around her will help to shape her personality and individual ways of thinking and moving. During this stage your child will be able to ride a tricycle, use safety scissors, show awareness of gender identity, help to dress and undress herself, play with other children, recall part of a story, and sing a song.

Positive Parenting

  • Continue to read to your child. Nurture her love for books by taking them to the library or bookstore.

  • Let your child help with simple chores.

  • Encourage your child to play with other children. This helps her to learn the value of sharing and friendship.

  • Foster your child's language by speaking to her in complete sentences and in "adult" language. Help her to use the correct words and phrases.

  • Be clear and consistent when disciplining your child. Model the behavior that you expect from her.

AAP Developmental Delay Warning Signs

The following are signs of possible developmental delay in your child (remember to always consult your pediatrician because children develop at their own particular pace):

  • Shows no interest in interactive games.


  • Doesn't respond to people outside the family.

  • Cannot grasp a crayon between thumb and finger.

  • Lashes out without any self-control when angry or upset.

  • Doesn't use "me" and "you" appropriately.

  • Rarely uses fantasy or imitation in play

  • Shows little interest in playing with other children.

  • Is unable to separate from parents without major protest.

Child Safety First

As your child becomes more independent and increases her interaction with the outside world, it is important that you and your child are aware of ways to stay safe. Here are a few ways to protect your child.

  • Tell your child why it is