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The Expert: Your Young Preschooler, 44 to 50 Months


As you watch your young preschooler move, talk, play, and work, you are amazed at how much your child has learned and accomplished in so little time. The "expert" will remind you frequently of these accomplishments.

Your child is ready for the challenges of complicated toys, books, and adventures, but still can tire easily from the excitement. Your preschooler needs your help in setting limits and finding quiet time to unwind.

These are the accomplishments of your preschooler: identifying the eight basic colors and four basic shapes; counting things up to four; counting from memory to 10; speaking in sentences of 4-5 words; expressing complicated ideas; making up wonderful stories (but sometimes having trouble telling make believe from truth); speaking clearly, except for some hard sounds like z, th, v, l, s, sh, ch, and r.

Your young preschooler still asks many questions but doesn't always wait for the answer, or will even argue that your answer isn't right. Your child is beginning to reason things out, but like everything, reasoning takes practice, so be patient with some of the strange notions your child insists are right. Here are some fun things to try:

  • Write out made-up stories, then act them out with mom and dad as audience.
  • Cooperative play is great fun for your child, so provide times to spend with other children the same age. Develop a baby care co-op. Find a mother or two with children your child's age and set up a play schedule. Your child will have a chance for fun and learning with others, and you will get some time for yourself to talk to the other mothers.
  • Explore all the playgrounds in local parks and schools. Your child will love the variety of places for physical activities.
  • Play with elaborate puzzles with 18 to 25 pieces.
  • Legos are good additions to your basic wood blocks. Encourage your child to name and make up a story about everything that is built.
  • Make a list and then take a trip to the grocery store. Talk about the groups of foods, and let your preschooler hold the coupons. Show your child which items to cross off the shopping list.
  • Sort through clothes. Talk about how small your child was when wearing the things that are too small, and how much bigger your child will be next year.
  • Talk about yesterday and try to remember as many things as possible. See who can remember the most.
  • Make a pretend house under the table. Invite each other for a picnic.
  • Make a number book: Cut out magazine pictures and glue one on the page with a 1, two on the page with a 2, etc.
  • Go on an outside scavenger hunt. Find a small leaf, a big leaf, a round rock.
  • Use markers and glue to make animals, people, and bugs from your rocks.
  • Cut strips of colored comics and glue loops together for a chain to celebrate a birthday or spring or just for fun.
  • Use a deck of cards to match the numbers.
  • Record a letter to Grandmother.
  • Have your child help plan the weekend. Having pancakes for breakfast and a walk to the playground are reasonable requests you might not know about unless you include your child in the planning.

It's never too early to read with your child...

Alfie Gets in First by Shirley Hughes
Anno's Counting Book by Mitsumasa Anno
Going to Day Care by Fred Rogers
First Comes Spring by Ann Rickwell
The Little Red Hen by Paul Galdone
More, More, More, Said the Baby by Vera Williams
Nobody Asked Me If I Wanted a Baby Sister by Martha Alexander
The Very Quiet Cricket by Eric Carle
When You Were a Baby by Ann Jonas

The paper version of this child development calendar has been published and distributed to schools and hospitals (for new moms) throughout the state by the Vermont-National Education Association.Stephanie Keitel of the Vermont Speech, Language and Hearing Association wrote the calendar. Sharon Damkot of the Vermont Educational Media Association compiled the book lists. Vermont-NEA Communications Director Laurie Huse edited the project.

Categories: Pre-Schoolers, Children,

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