Open and honest communication will create a lifelong closeness with your child.
Routines and responsibilities will let your child know what to expect. When a rule is broken, a natural consequence needs to follow.
As you teach your child how to be independent, you also need to teach how to be safe.
Learning how to be a good friend is an important skill you can teach your child.
Children from 4 to 6 years old are:
Beginning to develop their independence and form real friendships.
Learning rules to more difficult games.
Developing important life skills.
When children do something against the rules, explain simply and in a few words:
That what they did was wrong
What will happen if the behavior continues
Consequences need to be logical, meaningful, and simple. For example:
If your child rides a bike without a helmet, the bike is off limits for a day or two.
When your child won’t share a toy, that toy can’t be used for the rest of the day.
Teach about rules by setting up daily routines. Children do best when they know what to expect.
In the morning:
Use the bathroom
Take a bath
Read a story
When you know what your child is watching, you can avoid violence and other unacceptable content.
This helps your child:
Settle down after a busy day
Learn how to read
This is a great way to spend time together and share family traditions, while also teaching good eating habits and table manners.
Children feel important when adults take the time to talk with them. Talking often, and about many things, helps them gain self-confidence.
Ask your child:
Let your child know that it’s OK to have and talk about negative feelings. Share the best and hard parts of your day. This teaches your child that we all have ups and downs.
When young children copy everyday household tasks, they are really learning how to contribute. With your support, tasks will soon be done with few reminders. As children grow older, they can begin to take on real responsibilities, such as:
Watch your child’s self-esteem grow when given the chance to help out.
At first, this may take a little more time than helping your child get dressed or take a bath, but it is time well spent. Independence comes with practice, and with your guidance.
If you get the clothes ready the night before, the morning routine will involve only getting dressed. This way, your child can focus on just one thing.
Your child may need to be reminded of all the steps.
Praise your child’s efforts and successes:
Keeping children safe is an important job for parents. You want your child to respect and trust others, but you also need to teach your child to be careful.
Following are some simple rules and ways that you can start a conversation with your child about different safety issues.
“If an adult asks you to do something that you’re not sure is OK, always ask me first. I won’t get mad at you for asking.”
“No one should ever tell you to keep a secret from me—one that might make me mad if I found out. Adults should never expect you to do this.”
“No adults (except parents, doctors, and nurses) should touch you where you normally wear a bathing suit.”
“This is a very busy place. If you can’t find me, find a security guard or police officer, or ask someone to help you find one. That person will help you find me.”
Four- to six-year-olds are learning what it means to be a friend. They will have fun times as well as arguments and hurt feelings. It can be tempting for parents to try to solve these problems themselves or by talking with the other child’s parent.
Instead, guide your child to solve problems. With your help, your child can learn how to solve social problems.
“I guess Suzie wants a turn too.”
Do not hit, grab, or shove
Being close by puts the children on their best behavior. This is how they begin to develop the confidence and skills to communicate honestly, calmly, and politely with others.