Preschooler Development: 3 to 3 ½ Years Old
You've spent the past thirty-six months watching your toddler achieve milestone after milestone, and all too quickly, she has reached a new age. She is a preschooler now, but only just; so if you’re not quite ready to label her as such, cherish these first few months of being three, and enjoy the remnants of her toddlerhood – the ones that assure you that she is still little.
Your preschooler, in the beginning, will still possess those familiar toddler-like qualities, like when his little legs run out of energy and he needs to be carried; and when you can still appreciate how perfectly he fits on your hip. Those adorable cheeks, though not as chubby as they used to be, are still pinch-worthy. Even though endearing characteristics like these will be missed, your child has some pretty exciting developments ahead of him. Over the next few months, you’ll begin to notice subtle differences that define your little one as a preschooler, as he refines the developmental skills that he acquired during his toddler years.
The preschool years will take your child's motor skills to an entirely new level, allowing her dependence on you to fade away.
Throughout her toddlerhood, your child’s quest to find her independence was a frustrating one. Remember the tantrums that she threw when she wanted to do something for herself, but couldn't quite manage the task? It was a constant balancing act between needing you and wanting to be self-sufficient. The preschool years will take her motor skills to an entirely new level, allowing her dependence on you to fade away. This exciting result may become evident through little tasks like getting dressed, zipping up her own zippers, being able to climb into her car seat and buckle her own seat belt, or preparing a sandwich for herself. However it happens, you’ll notice that she is becoming the independent child that she struggled for so long to become.
Past the toddler stage and newly three, your preschooler has since become familiar with the concept of emotion, although mastering the ability to manage them is still a work in progress. So when it comes to being an emotional and social being, don’t be surprised if he has struggles reminiscent to those of his toddler days; succumbing to feelings that result in fits will still happen. Improvement comes with development, and soon his ability to cope with his feelings in a more practical way will increase in consistency. So rejoice in the long absence of tantrums, for they are evidence that he is making incredible progress in his emotional and social development.
As you continue to watch this little wonder grow, your child's development as a preschooler will become evident.