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Growth and Development, Ages 2 to 5 Years - Promoting Healthy Growth and Development

Nurturing your relationship with your child

Your relationship with your child will constantly change as your child gains new skills and develops independence. You can help your child through each stage by looking at your relationship from time to time. Ask yourself:

  • What do I like most about my child?
  • What could be triggering problem behavior? Are any of these new triggers?
  • What new skills has my child learned within the past 3 months? 2 months? 1 month?
  • What tasks can I encourage my child to do for himself or herself? How can I encourage him or her?
  • When am I happy about how I treat my child?
  • What don't I like about some of our interactions? When do these episodes tend to occur?

If you are the parent or caregiver of children, it is also important for you to:

  • Learn and use effective parenting and discipline techniques and avoid the use of corporal punishment. Parenting classes are offered in most communities. Ask your doctor or call a local hospital for more information.
  • Learn healthy techniques to resolve conflicts and manage stress. For more information, see the topic Stress Management.
  • Ask for help when you need it. Call a family member or friend to give you a break if you feel overwhelmed. Find community resources to help you with child care or other services that you need. Call a doctor or local hospital for a place to start. Some communities have respite care facilities for children. They provide temporary child care during times when you need a break.
  • Get help from school programs if your child has special needs.
  • Seek help if you think you have a problem with alcohol, drugs, anger, depression, stress, or other issues that affect your mental health.

Getting ready for kindergarten

Most children start kindergarten around age 4½ to 6 years.

It can be hard to know when your child is ready for school, but your local elementary school or preschool can help. Attending preschool or play groups can be a great way for children to build new skills and learn to interact with others.

Some of the tasks and behaviors that show that a child is ready for kindergarten are the following:

  • Your child can keep hands to himself or herself while in line; sit and pay attention for at least 5 minutes; help with clean-up activities, such as putting away toys; use words for frustration rather than acting out; work and play with other children in small groups; talk with other children and adults.
  • Your child can hold a pencil correctly, cut with scissors, do what the teacher asks, get dressed, and use the bathroom without help.
  • Your child knows the alphabet; can write his or her first name; may recognize some printed words; can count from 1 to 20 and name the colors.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: February 22, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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