A preschooler’s social and emotional development continues to change dramatically. Your child should start to develop social-emotional skills like the ability to pay attention, transition between activities, and cooperate with others. These types of skills are helpful as your child progresses through preschool and prepares to enter the kindergarten classroom.
Every child progresses at his or her own pace, but keep in mind these milestones for your preschooler to help ensure that your preschooler is on track for development.
Social-Emotional Developmental Milestones for Ages Three and Four
Children at this age are learning how be independent and play with others. Rather than engaging in parallel play, they should start to show an interest in cooperative play with other children. Here are some milestones to look for in children between ages three and four:
- Follow simple directions
- Express anger verbally rather than physically (e.g., biting or hitting)
- Show more independence
- Complete simple self-help tasks, like getting dressed
- Play cooperatively, sharing toys and taking turns
- Initiate or join in play with other children and make up games
- Begin dramatic play, acting out whole scenes (such as traveling, pretending to be animals)
Milestones for Ages Four and Five
As children get closer to kindergarten, typically they are interested in playing with others rather than playing alone. At this point, they are now aware of their feelings, but are also becoming more aware of other children’s feelings. Children ages four to five typically show these accomplishments:
- Show interest in developing friendships, especially with peers of the same gender
- Distinguish right from wrong
- Develop an awareness of other people’s feelings
- Enjoy engaging in imaginative play with other children, like pretend dress up or house
- Differentiate between real and “make believe”
- Understand their gender identity
When researching childcare, consider programs that focus on teaching children skills to help them meet these social-emotional milestones. At U-GRO Learning Centres, we incorporate social-emotional development into our curriculum through our Life Skills program. Request more information about this program when you tour one of our centers!