Your amazing preschooler: "Wow!"-worthy development facts

Your amazing preschooler:

Watching your child observe and make sense of the world is a wonder for any parent to behold – especially when you see new mental abilities click into place. Here are three fascinating facts about your preschooler’s development that you might not know.

Sense of self

Kids this age can be a handful. This isn't because they're deliberate troublemakers, but because they're going through an amazing period of development known as "primary individuation," says Jackie Gotlieb, a pediatrician and spokesperson for Kids Health First, an alliance of primary care pediatricians in Atlanta. "It's when kids begin to understand that they're separate from adults and are trying to define themselves."

When your preschooler announces, "Mine!" while clinging to his truck in a playgroup, it's not so much a selfish refusal to share as it is a cognitive achievement. He's now able to see himself as an individual and, as such, capable of ownership. His declaration of "mine" is his way of saying he understands that you — and the other children — are separate from him.

Early memory

Your child probably won't remember her best friends from preschool — or much else before the age of 3 — thanks to what psychologists call infantile amnesia.

Many people assume that we can't remember things from our youngest years because even though the memories are in there, we can't access them. But what's more likely is that "early experiences never make it into the long-term memory banks because the brain's recording machinery isn't yet functional," says neuroscientist Lise Eliot, an associate professor of neuroscience at Chicago Medical School and author of What's Going On in There? How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life.

That doesn't mean the things your child experiences before age 3 don't have a profound effect on her development — they do. It's just that she probably won't be able to recall them later.

Irrational thinking

Preschoolers simply don't think the way adults do. They aren't yet capable of logical thinking.

Instead they think very literally, meaning they can't grasp abstract concepts, and egocentrically, meaning they can't imagine anyone's perspective but their own, says Wendy Ludlow, a licensed clinical social worker and child and family therapist who runs Therapy With a Twist, a counseling and therapy service in New York.

"Four- to 6-year-olds really believe that you can keep monsters out of their room if you put up a sign on their door stating 'No Monsters Allowed!'" says Ludlow. And if you're sad, your preschooler might give you his teddy bear because it's what would comfort him and therefore — he reasons egocentrically — it must also be the thing you need. He simply can't understand that you might prefer a spa day.

Back to amazing developmental facts, age by age.

Dan Tynan writes about parenting and technology for a wide range of publications and in his blog atTynan Writes. Christina Wood is a magazine writer and author of Every Woman's Guide to Technology. She blogs at Geek Girlfriends.

Watch the video: Science for kids. Brilliant Brains. The Nervous System. Experiments for kids. Operation Ouch (January 2022).

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