How I Think and Learn
- I can count and touch four or more objects.
- I like to finish up what I’m doing.
- I tell tall tales, brag and compliment myself.
- I may tattle, or call people names.
- I ask when, how, why questions.
- I play with words by creating my own rhyming words.
- I am beginning to know the difference between fact and fantasy.
How I Get Along with Others
- I like group activities.
- I am noisy and vigorous during play.
- I cooperate and take turns.
- I am interested in the differences between boys and girls.
- I seek approval from adults.
- I am beginning to criticize myself.
- I want to do more to help you.
How I Move
- I can climb a ladder and trees.
- I can cut paper on a line.
- I can build a tower of 10 or more blocks.
- I can dress myself — except for back openings.
Some children do things earlier or later than described here.
Most differences are normal. Focus on what your child can do and get excited about each new skill. If you notice that your child is lagging behind in one or more areas for several months, circle the things that your child cannot do. Check the things your child can do. Use this list to talk with your doctor about your child’s development.
One of the greatest rewards for being a parent comes with sharing good times while playing with your children. As you have fun together, you are creating a strong relationship. The bond you are developing with your child will last throughout life.
- Ask your child to color a sheet of stiff paper with different colored crayons.
- Next, color over the whole sheet with a black crayon.
- Your child can then make patterns by scratching through the black layer with his fingernail or other tools — such as a ballpoint pen without a point — to expose the mixed color layer.
- Think of a word and ask your child to tell you the opposite word. You will have to explain what opposite means. Say to your child, “If I say big, you say the opposite for big –little.” Try a couple of examples until your child gets the idea. You may begin by saying “high” and the child says “low.” Other words you might use are “tall, short;”
“in, out;” “over, under;” and “above, below.” Take turns letting your child lead the game.
- Look at an object and say to the child “I see something red. What do I see?” The child tries to guess what you see. Now the child selects something to describe. This game helps children use and understand language.
- Say to your child, “Touch your face, and then touch your foot.” See if she can follow directions. When she can carry out one direction, add another. Three directions in a row are enough for your child to remember. Now listen and follow your child’s directions. Playing this game will help her learn to remember things.
Most divorcing parents are very concerned about their children’s reactions to their separation and divorce. They want to know, “Will my child grow up to be healthy and happy?”
Research shows that the effects depend on the age of the child at the time of divorce, the child’s sex and personality, the amount of conflict between parents and the support provided by friends and family.
Preschoolers frequently believe they have caused their parents’ divorce. For example, they might think that if they had eaten their dinner or picked up their toys when told to do so, Daddy would not have gone away. Be sure to tell your children that it is not their fault and that mommy and daddy think that this is the best thing to do.
- fear being left alone or abandoned altogether
- show baby-like behavior — such as wanting their security blanket or old toys
- deny that anything has changed
- become uncooperative, depressed or angry
- act disobedient and aggressive
Here are some ways to help children adjust when parents separate or divorce.
It often takes two or more years for children to adjust to their parents’ divorce. Through love, understanding and keeping in close contact with your children, you will help them grow into well-adjusted and productive adults.
- Discuss the separation and divorce with your children. It will strengthen your relationship with them. It will also maintain their trust in you. Share general information, not every detail, when talking with younger children.
- The most important factor for children’s well-being is not having them see and hear a lot of intense conflict between parents. Try to come to some agreement about discipline and childrearing. Having love and approval from both parents will help your child’s sense of well-being and self-worth.
- Day-to-day involvement of both parents in their children’s lives helps children feel loved and valued. A parent who lives in a different town or state can still keep in close touch with his or her children. Letters, phone calls, recorded messages, and emails, sharing school paperwork and artwork are ways parents and children can keep in contact.
- Children of all ages fantasize that their parents will get together again. This may be particularly true when parents have joint custody. Be clear with the children that the divorce is final, and discourage their attempts to get you back together.
- If possible, limit the number of disruptions children must handle during separation and divorce. For example, try to keep your child in the same school, childcare facility, home or neighborhood.
- Work with your counselor or lawyer to figure out how to share financial resources — including regular child support payments — with the other parent so that children’s needs are met.
Encourage your child’s interest in books by helping him write his own. After a trip to the park, a birthday party or other events, help him cut and paste pictures into a booklet of 4-5 pages. Have your child tell you his story or talk about the pictures. Print his words on the pages. Children are proud of the books they write and often read them again and again.
For a free online version of this newsletter, more parenting info and updated links, visit www.extension.org/parenting
Questions? Need help? Contact your local extension office.
This newsletter gives equal space to both sexes. If he or she is used, we are talking about all children.
Credits: This newsletter is adapted from Extension Just In Time Parenting newsletters in California, Delaware, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Tennessee, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico and Wisconsin.