Skip to content

    Health & Parenting

    Select An Article

    Preschooler Social Development

    (continued)
    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Your Preschooler: Off to School

    Around age 3 or 4, many children are starting school for the first time. This may be their first experience in a large group of children their own age, and it may take some getting used to. Your child suddenly has to share toys, take turns, communicate clearly, and cooperate with other children, and she'll probably need some help from the adults in her life. Many preschool activities are designed to work on developing these social skills.

    If your child isn't in school yet, it's important to provide plenty of opportunities for her to interact with other children her age, whether it's through playdates, trips to the playground, or organized activities like music classes or gymnastics.

    Preschoolers and Peer Relationships

    By age 5, many children are beginning to prefer the company of other children over the company of adults. They may also show a preference for certain children over others. Your child may have someone he calls his "best friend" now. It's important for parents to nurture these friendships. Encourage your child to have his best friend over for a playdate, because being allowed to "show off" his home and possessions will help build his self-esteem and confidence.

    Older preschoolers are beginning to understand and internalize social norms. Your 5-year-old probably realizes that if he doesn't let his friends have a turn, they won't want to play with him anymore. This helps to guide his behavior and choices.

    While 5-year-olds can be wonderfully loving friends, they can also be hurtful. At this age, children are beginning to understand the power of social rejection. Don't be surprised to hear an argument between two 5-year-olds culminating with the declaration, "If you don't let me have the ball, I'm not going to be your friend anymore!"

    Most of the time, this is just normal 5-year-old interaction. But it's important to keep an eye on mean behavior and make sure your child isn't ganging up or picking on others excessively. Bullying can happen even at this young age.

    Your Challenging Preschooler

    Your 5-year-old's friends are more than just her playmates. They are a major influence on her. To that end, you may find her trying on behaviors that are new (and unwelcome) to you. For example, If your child's best friend talks about a particular TV show, your child may suddenly demand to watch it, even if TV is forbidden in your home. She may insist on a sugary cereal because it is her friend's favorite.

    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    Girl holding up card with BMI written
    Is your child at a healthy weight?
    toddler climbing
    What happens in your child’s second year.
     
    father and son with laundry basket
    Get your kids to help around the house.
    boy frowning at brocolli
    Tips for dealing with mealtime mayhem
     
    mother and daughter talking
    Tool
    child brushing his teeth
    Slideshow
     
    Sipping hot tea
    Slideshow
    Young woman holding lip at dentists office
    Video
     
    Which Vaccines Do Adults Need
    Article
    rl with friends
    fitSlideshow
     
    tissue box
    Quiz
    Child with adhd
    Slideshow