GROWTH & DEVELOPMENT: 3-5 YEARS OLD KIDS
NURSERY: learning to socialise
Children between 3 and 5 have already started walking for a while, and we usually start taking them around with us, and to the park, where they will show a great desire to play and socialize with other children.
As they get bigger this desire to play with other children becomes stronger and therefore becomes a necessity, and for them staying at home becomes terribly boring so will often ask to go out and see other children. It is no longer a primal instinct like for younger children, but it is a necessity.
SENSE OF RESPONSIBILITY
At three, children are usually less temperamental and more cooperative than a two-year-old. They also begin to know how to put themselves in the shoes of others and often seem genuinely happy to please their mother. However, it continues to be necessary to monitor them closely and prevent them from having behaviors that jeopardize their own safety and household items. Furthermore, their tendency to dirty and mess up everywhere creates a lot of inconvenience. It becomes increasingly essential to get them used to collaborating to maintain order and cleanliness, knowing that they will resist the idea of doing so very much.
Even at this age, going to bed leaving the company of parents and stopping playing or watching television is a big sacrifice, which they would certainly avoid, if left free to behave as they liked. This requires determined and consistent action to impose healthier rules.
When they start going to kindergarten, other problems arise, related to conflicts with their classmates. For example, they may start arguing, hitting or biting and it is not at all easy to get them to stop. At the same time they begin to ask more and more insistently for “fashionable” consumer goods, from expensive toys, to the most sophisticated dolls, to the shoes that their companions wear, and so on. In short, whether we like it or not, the battle for money begins. This will continue for the rest of family life and will form an important part of the power struggle between a child and his parents.
From three to six years you can count on the children’s ability to identify with their parents, but it is not justified to believe that this will induce them to respect the rules much more willingly than before. While leveraging their new ability to understand, it is still necessary to continue to act with authority when circumstances dictate it. Moreover, precisely because they can understand many more things, they can be expected to begin to develop an ever better defined sense of responsibility.
POTTY TRAINING: when does this end?
Most babies aged two to three no longer use diapers as they have learned to control their bowel.
However, it may happen that there are children who are particularly resistant or distracted when potty training and that cannot control the urge to defecate (with urination this it is really rare) and therefore it happens that they soil themselves.
Normally it happens for those children who in the first years of life have “easy poop” that is, they have 4-5 discharges a day of liquid and mucous stools that they are unable to retain, or those who retain it for up to 10 days.
Normally the right approach is to respect their discomfort, using the tools of active listening, of the “I messages” of which I speak better in the section of the parenting course.
For example by saying to them: “I know it’s hard to keep it, but if you get dirty I have to clean you and it’s a problem for me, will you do me this favor? Can you hold it and do it in the bathroom instead? “. Or even “If you hold back the poop you can hurt yourself and you can feel uncomfortable”
THE BABY THAT DOESN'T SLEEP
Reflux almost always causes this problem.
The child who never falls asleep easily and who wakes up many times during the night, getting little rest and making the whole family rest badly, creates a very noticeable discomfort for himself and others.
Recent research has shown that, in most cases, the child who has this problem suffers from a physical disorder, almost always gastroesophageal reflux.
Read what I wrote about the topic in the “Gastroesophageal Reflux” section and check whether your child may suffer from it.
Sometimes the child does not sleep because he has suffered bad conditioning, in other words he has been “spoiled” because the right rhythm has not been imposed on him at the right time.
I believe that in these cases the use of sedative medicines is counterproductive and I believe that the solution must be to “recondition” the child in the appropriate way.
If you have any kind of difficulty with your little one’s sleep I believe I can give you more effective help than you have received so far.
VALUES AND BEHAVIOUR
To promote a greater awareness of your children towards the sensitivity of people and a greater attention to the emotions of those around them, you can make endless theoretical speeches that they will no doubt start to shut out. Instead the most effective way that we have all learned as an approach for respecting the sensibilities of others, is to see it in action and by the parents.
So first of all there is a need to pay great attention to setting a good example also in interpersonal relationships with the child. If I treat my child in a rude and disrespectful way and I do not acknowledge his sensitivity it is the first bad example that leads to nothing else on the side of the child than to emulate and simulate the parent and to do exactly the same thing when confronted with others.
It is very important to give a lot of attention to their sensitivities, their concerns, their difficulties in situations in which we come into conflict with them and then ask them to do the same thing.
How do we encourage our child to be polite and attentive to the sensitivity of others? Always approaching it, as I explain in the section dedicated to my parenting courses, with active listening, “me messages” and avoiding using offensive “you messages”.
LEARNING IN SCHOOL: including with electronics
Today it is not possible to prevent a child from using electronic devices. However it is essential in cases where you have the feeling that they do nothing else and are always looking at the screen of a computer, a mobile phone or an iPad, to make them stop. You must then provide an alternative which can be activities such as going to the park, playing a board game, drawing or coloring.
From the early months through the teen years, one of the things that we parents worry most about is whether the child who has monotonous tastes may have nutrition problems.
The baby who is breastfed may have difficulty weaning and may refuse solid foods and continue wanting breast milk for longer than we think is the time to start weaning, which is around 5-6. months. Is this a problem? Can it cause damage to the baby’s nutrition? Absolutely not.
Trying to impose on the child during weaning a food by force is not only stressful and traumatizing for the child but it is also not justified by the concern of malnutrition as a child will not suffer any harm. This also applies to any child who until adolescence has the habit of eating always the same things and refuses other foods (and does not eat what we usually consider to be more nutritious). We cannot impose our beliefs on them by going against their personal tastes and choices. This approach is absolutely not useful to anyone.
GROWTH: percentile charts
SPORT AND PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES
From when children begin to follow instructions, and have a minimum of discipline, it is possible to make them start attending real sports courses. Therefore, from 3 years of age it is strongly recommended to enroll them in a gymnastics course. Sports activities allow our children not to stay at home idle, to socialize and to interact with other children.
How much? At least 1 or 2 times a week. The body of a 2-year-old child can sustain prolonged physical activity, but it must be trained gradually. A child at this age, if minimally trained, can run around the house and is tireless. So on a physical level we don’t have to ask ourselves the question of how much physical activity they can do or not, we just have to ask ourselves the question of which physical activity is most suitable for them considering their muscles, weight and their attitudes.
Sport for children also helps coordination, the important thing is to always choose appropriate and serious sports facilities.
The need to carry out a sporting activity, will naturally be less important, for those children who live in areas with many open and green spaces or in areas where they can do it naturally and spontaneously.