At this point, fantasy and role-play games are more common both alone and with others. It can often be wonderful to see how your child becomes immersed in fantasy, but it may be good to know that sometimes, it can be hard for them to differentiate between reality and fantasy. It is not unusual for your child to become afraid of imagined dangers, like ghosts or monsters. Nightmares could be common at this point, and kids aged 4-5 may be afraid of the dark from time to time. As a grownup, being there with your feet planted in reality and a soothing voice for the child to turn to is important. Children are also learning to interact with other people of all ages at this point, which is an important part of learning to cooperate and compromise. For example, coming up with games and rules with other kids is common and important. Often, children want to figure out how their games should work without any adult input. It can be good to be present in the background and help out if any conflict arises, as it often does. Having help to put into words just what happened is very helpful for children when it comes to practicing conflict resolution. Most kids will start making their own friends and will often want to be like them. As a parent, standing by your child and seeing changes in them can be exciting, and knowing that this is only the beginning of their exploration of identity often feels wonderful. This little person who you once welcomed into the world is becoming more and more their own individual with each passing day.
Most people now fully understand what their child is talking about and for the most part, grammar is falling into place. But it isn’t unusual for children up to age six or seven to stumble with certain letters or sounds. For example, the ‘r’ and ‘s’ sounds may take time for kids to get used to. But even if language is in place, children often can’t fully pick up on nuance or subtext. Irony goes over most children’s heads and if you want to be sure that you are understood, then remember that kids aged 4-5 will interpret most of what you say literally. Have you noticed that your child has started making rules at home? Rules that you, the adult, maybe haven’t signed off on? At this age, rules – or getting to come up with and adhere to something – is a skill that’s in the process of being refined. It’s important to practice adapting to rules and as a parent, you can be very helpful in this area. At this age, it’s great practice to set rules at home together – for example, that when the alarm goes off, it’s time to put the screen away or stop playing a game. Who knows? This might also lead to less conflict when the TV is turned off or when it’s bedtime.