What Can I Expect? Toddlers to Preschoolers ages 2-5
At some point in time every parent wonders if their child is meeting the “typical” expected milestones. So, what exactly should we be expecting of our children and what age should we expect our child to reach certain milestones? Every child is different, and develops at their own rate, but there are certain things to expect at different ages of their development. Each stage brings their own challenges and successes, and they go faster than you think!
Toddlers are in constant motion and developing in every area, but their growth starts to slow down a bit and they begin to lose that “baby” look. They can say between 200-300 words and are not particularly good at “sharing”. They play alongside other children but do not really interact yet. You will notice their motor skills developing more, meaning they can run and walk well, they are beginning to be able to throw and catch a ball. Toddlers can look at books and build simple block towers. Your child knows their name and can name some body parts too. Tantrums will still be part of this stage as children of this age are still developing their language and coping skills. Don’t lose heart, tantrums won’t last forever!
At this age your child needs rules, but not too many. Keep them simple and give a lot of positive praise when they get things right and be gentle when they don’t. Toddlers need boundaries, but they also need to know you love them and are there when they make mistakes. Help give words to their feelings and let them know you understand. Be careful
not to expect them to always understand what you want them to do, sometimes they won’t, or you may notice some defiance as they begin to test their independence.
As your child enters the preschool stage, (ages 3-5) you will begin to notice their language develop rapidly saying between 500-900 words at age 3 and using 4 to 5-word sentences to communicate. Pretend play becomes a big part of your child’s life as they begin to experiment with the world around them. Children at this stage become more interested in playing with others as opposed to just “next to” them. Many children can identify colors and shapes and say their whole name. Fine motor skills begin to get more refined and some children may begin to write their name and other letters. Preschoolers can also begin to solve problems, but still need help in resolving conflict amongst their peers. Helping to give them the right words or actions they need to use will give them confidence to try it on their own next time. Sometimes preschool age children develop “fears”. Fear of the dark, new places, or people, or “monsters”, things that are not real.
Preschoolers need reassurance and positive praise when they do things right, and gentleness when they make mistakes. When necessary correct gently and let them know what they did and how they can do better next time. Children at this age need lots of hugs and love to help build their confidence and security. When they are approaching the end of the preschool years, they become more competitive and can understand rules for games and might join a team. Be consistent with rules and expectations so they know what to expect from you. Consistency is important in building good behavioral habits. Give them rules but keep them few and simple. Let your child know you love them, regardless of their actions.
Remember, every child is different and unique and will develop in their own time. These are some common milestones and expectations. If you ever have concerns about your child’s development talk to your pediatrician.
Young, K., Gary September 20th, Eva January 2nd, Parm S May 24th, & *, N. (2020, September 09). Phew! It’s Normal. An Age by Age Guide for What to Expect From Kids & Teens – And What They Need From Us. Retrieved October 09, 2020, from https://www.heysigmund.com/developmental-stage/
Development Milestones for Your 3-Year-Old Child: CHOC. (n.d.). Retrieved October 09, 2020, from https://www.choc.org/primary-care/ages-stages/3-years/