Although a three-to-five-year-old is already independent and can do many things, she still needs time with the parents, their support and advice in her activities. A child learns by adult example. Mutual interaction between the parents and child is important.

Although three-to-five-year-olds are still too young to dress up totally unassisted, they should be encouraged to do so. Parents should help and, for instance, check to make sure clothes are not back to front or inside out. Dressing takes patience and therefore quite a bit of time should be allowed for it. Also washing and brushing teeth should be completed together with an adult. A child should not be asked to clean the room totally unassisted. Organising toys and things can be made fun. This way a child gradually learns to be tidy.

At five years old, various developmental steps come together forming a harmonious entity. A five-year-old may have temper tantrums and be reluctant to cooperate but usually these things are easy to overcome. A five-year-old is sociable and other children’s company is important to her.

  • A child learns to consider other person’s emotions, share toys and things, wait for her turn.
  • To be able to become empathetic, a child needs to learn to understand early on how her actions have an impact on others.
  • A child can learn to be separated from the parents, get along independently with other children and cooperate with new adults.
  • A five-year-old learns to understand cause and effect; learning from experience is important.
    Reading stories together should be part of a child’s routine every day.

A three-to-five-year-old should be taken to a club, day care or other structured activities and invite friends over to the child’s home or go and visit friends, if that is what the child would like.

Four-year-old and speech development

  • Speech is developed, vocabulary is increasing, word variety and inflection fairly correct, the child’s speech is understood by strangers, too.
  • A child likes to play with words.
  • A child asks a lot of questions.
  • A child is fascinated by fairy tales and stories, but finds also non-fiction interesting.

Five-year-old and speech development

  • No longer child-like sounds.
  • A child is fairly competent in word forms and structure.
  • A five-year-old is going through the best fairy tale phase and needs a variety of story books.
  • Enjoys talking with adults.
  • Play is the foundation for healthy and balanced development. By play a child practises new skills, develops intelligence and lets out emotions. Play is just as important and meaningful for a child as work is for an adult.
  • Adults should join in children’s games and play and their world; laugh and have fun.

References and other links