No longer an infant, our toddlers and preschoolers seem to grow and mature, right before our eyes. While many are shy and reticent as they approach their second birthday, most become much more curious and outgoing by the time they reach the age of five.
During this time, they will not only grow physically, they will also master fine motor skills, learn to think and reason, develop a well-rounded vocabulary and become more socially and emotionally mature.
Challenging kids with age appropriate tasks around the house during the toddler and preschool development years is a great way for parents to help them master new skills and develop the self-confidence that will help them become successful as adults.
For the Two Year Old
The second year of life can be frustrating for your toddler because their emotional development and communication skills are not yet as advanced as their thought patterns. Children of this age enjoy chores such as picking up toys and placing them in baskets or bins and wiping surfaces with a damp cloth.
For the Three Year Old
Three year olds typically know more than 200 words and are beginning to speak and understand more complex ideas. Colors, shapes and textures are increasingly interesting to this age level and they can become quite adept at household chores that include sorting, stacking or simple folding techniques, such as folding washcloths. They can also master more complex tasks, such as using a small watering can to water flowers or put food into the family pet’s dish.
For the Four Year Old
By the age of four, children are much more physically adept and are able to easily memorize songs, stories and basic knowledge such as the alphabet, numbers and colors. They understand the concept of matching objects by color, such as pairing socks and like to help perform simple cooking chores, such as tearing lettuce for salads, peeling hard boiled eggs, stirring batters and rolling out dough.
For the Five Year Old
Five year olds are able to carry on complex conversations and express multi-faceted ideas and are beginning to have a good grasp of right and wrong. In addition, this age group is much more social and is beginning to develop caring relationships with siblings and playmates. Their more advanced physical capabilities, along with more mature thought patterns will allow them to excel at more difficult tasks such as measuring ingredients when cooking, loading the dishwasher correctly and assuming responsibility for specific daily chores, such as pet care, checking the mail or picking ripe produce in the garden.
In every age group, parents should be patient and expect an occasional tantrum or display of stubbornness. However, by keeping the sessions challenging and fun, both you and your child will reap the benefits.