Before you know it, your child has turned four and then five years old. You may find that your somewhat calm child of three has now become a dynamo of energy, drive, bossiness, belligerence, and generally out-of-bounds behavior.
Your three-year-old will spend most of her waking hours questioning everything that happens around her.
She loves to ask “Why do I have to . . . ?” and she’ll pay close attention to your answers as long as they’re simple and to the point.
Your child’s more abstract “why” questions may be more difficult, partly because there may be hundreds of them each day and also because some of them have no answers—or none that you know.
If the question is “Why does the sun shine?” or “Why can’t the dog talk to me?” you can answer that you don’t know, or invite her to look into the question further by finding a book about the sun or about dogs. Be sure to take these questions seriously. As you do, you help broaden your child’s knowledge, feed her curiosity, and teach her to think more clearly.
By age four, your child is beginning to explore many basic concepts that will be taught in greater detail in school. For example, he now understands that the day is divided into morning, afternoon, and night, and that there are different seasons. By the time he’s five and entering kindergarten, he may know some days of the week and that each day is measured in hours and minutes. He also may comprehend the essential ideas of counting, the alphabet, size relationships (big versus small), and the names of geometric shapes.
At age six, your child will become more independent. He or she will be able to do more things that are dangerous. Your child will try to prove that he or she is grown up. But children still aren’t good at judging sound, distance, or the speed of a moving car at this age. Your child can learn a few simple things to do for protection, but you must still be in charge of his or her safety.
Protect your child from bad head injuries or even death. Make sure your child wears a properly fitted, approved helmet every time she rides a bike. Never let your child ride in the street. Your child is too young to ride in the street safely!
Never let your child play near the street. Your child may dart out into traffic without thinking. The park or playground is the best place to play. Begin to teach your child safe street habits. Teach your child to stop at the curb, then look to the left, to the right, and back to the left again. Teach your child never to cross the street without a grown-up.
And Remember Car Safety
Your child must now use a booster seat in the car. Always check to be sure that he or she is correctly restrained in the booster seat before you start the car. The safest place for all children, even through school age, is in the back seat of the car. Set a good example. Make sure you and other adults buckle up, too!