The child’s development 4-5 years

At this age, children often have a lot of imagination. They talk a lot, ask a lot of questions and are curious about other people. Children become increasingly confident in their movements and climb, balance and use knives and forks. Many people like to tinker.

All children are unique and develop differently. However, there are some characteristics that are common and typical for most children in an age group. These are described here.

It can vary greatly in how children develop. To understand and recognize your child you may also need to read about the child’s development 3-4 years or the child’s development 5-6 years.

Development is going fast at different periods

The development is different at different times and can vary greatly from child to child, even between siblings.

Development is both fun and hard for the child. This means that they can sometimes be worried, change their mood and need more closeness or attention than before.

A child’s development is affected by many circumstances. There are individual conditions and events that can affect how a child develops, both in the short and longer term. For example, it may be that the child is born prematurely, has a disability or is involved in a major change in life.

You need to be active in the child’s development

The child is still dependent on adults, but also thinks and acts more independently. You are very important, and will increasingly guide your child. The child needs help and encouragement to choose leisure activities outside the home, to play and play with friends. How the child feels and develops is greatly influenced by how you and others who are important to the child provide closeness, attention and it shows that they need. Then the child feels safe.

What the child thinks, understands and feels

At the age of four, a lot happens and the child develops very much. The child’s thinking and language become more like adults.

They become better at planning and coordinating games and tasks. For example, children in a preschool can play for a long time without the support of adults, find themselves playing new rules and new content during the play. Now the child also gets better at pictures and shapes. They also get better at finding their surroundings.

Now many children have good self-esteem and believe in their own ability. They can and do know. The child is looking further and further away from you as a parent, but also needs to be in your safe arms.

Great imagination

Four-year-olds play a lot of fantasy games. Heroes and characters from movies and books are often included. The child can sometimes have a little difficulty separating fantasy and reality. Imagined dangers can feel real, such as ghosts and fantasies about dangerous animals.

The child understands more what others think and think

The child now has an easier time getting into how other people view things and what they want. The child also begins to understand that the behavior of others may be due to having other information than the child has. A four-year-old can thus explain the behavior of others with what the other wants and what the other thinks.

It is still difficult for the child to understand that others think when they are silent, waiting or standing still. It is also difficult to understand that one can learn things by thinking and drawing conclusions. Instead, the child believes that one must have experienced something in order to know something about it.

The 4-year-old can both invent and follow rules. The child can bring along a rule that applies in one context to another context.

Begins to understand different concepts

Many children begin to understand the meaning of terms such as greatest, longest, equal, opposite, more than and less than. They also understand the order, for example that lunch comes before dinner. They usually know at least four colors and are interested in numbers and letters. The child can have an idea of ​​seasons and knows that you can swim in the lake or sea in the summer and go sledding in the winter.

Nightmares and being afraid of darkness

Children can now become more anxious and, for example, not dare to go to the toilet itself. It is common for children to be afraid of darkness and have nightmares.

Some children wonder what death means. The 4-year-old can often assume that death is forever and that everyone dies. It can be more difficult to understand that only living things can die and that death is caused by the body no longer functioning. The child’s thoughts on death are influenced by the culture and religion that surrounds them.

How the child is with others – social development

Friends are becoming increasingly important. Many have one or a few friends they prefer.

4-year-olds can play imaginative pretend games and plays with other children. It may be important for everyone to follow the group’s rules. Emotions can play an important role in the game. Role play in a group differs from other play in that it lasts longer, is more about collaboration and makes the children more engaged. This kind of game trains many different things.

That the child is now easier to understand how others think will enable them to cooperate, compromise and wait their turn better than before.

Understand what is right and wrong

Many children find it interesting to decide and make plans for things to do. For example, it could be to build a course, paint a castle or decide what roles different people or characters should play in the game. They can also engage you or other people nearby.

The child often knows what is considered right and wrong, but still has difficulty distinguishing between his own and others’ perceptions. The child starts from himself, but is beginning to understand that other people may think differently and see the same thing in different ways. The child gets better at taking into account others and having compassion for others, but it is not developed yet.

At this age, many children are social, but also want to leave and be alone sometimes.

Teach the child how it feels to others

The 4-year-old often plays well and intensely in a group without any adult being involved, but sometimes there is trouble and conflict.

When the child makes another child sad, it is good that you as an adult tell the child how it feels to the other child. Say, for example, “When you took the doll from Vera, it made her sad.” When the child learns what the actions lead to, the motivation to think morally increases. It also gives the child more compassion with the one who became sad.

The purpose is not for the child to feel guilt, but to give the child an opportunity to do well again.

Usually the child can and does

At this age, it is common for children to do this:

  • Counting to ten.
  • See immediately that there are three cars on the floor without counting them.
  • Can distinguish and name at least four colors.
  • Begins to get a better idea of ​​time.
  • Want a good friend.
  • Want to be like your friend.
  • Enjoy singing, hearing rhymes, dancing and playing theater.

Tips on fun things you can do together

Here are some tips on what can be fun at this age:

  • Let the child participate in something that happens. Give the child a task, for example to pick up and tell a sibling when the food is ready.
  • Use the cleric and play some sort of Follow John with it. For example, you first make a ball, then the child makes a ball. You make a body, the child makes a body, and so on. It is a great way for the child to understand the body and talk about different body parts. Keep playing with the clay, let your imagination decide.
  • Present five different items. Let the child look at them for a moment and say what the different things are. Then the child turns a blind eye and then you remove something. When the child is watching, they should say what is missing. Then allow the roles to be changed so that you can close your eyes yourself. For example, you can have colors, shapes or numbers as a theme.
  • Let the child count and sort in everyday life. Four-year-olds usually like to sort and count things, for example, “How many to eat? How many knives, forks and spoons do I need? How should they be around the plate? Next to, behind or in front? ”In the kitchen, for example, the child can help count how many potatoes or carrots are needed for dinner.
  • Have the child undress and play role plays together. Give your child old clothes and things that can be transformed into something else with the help of your imagination.
  • Go to the library and discover exciting and fun books. Visit and discover museums if possible.

Language, speech and communication

It is completely understandable when children at the age of four talk. The child now begins to use grammar correctly. But it is common that difficult sounds such as r, s, girl and sje sounds are not pronounced quite right until the age of 6-7.

Children now know many language rules, but they understand things literally. For example, if you say “Now we go home”, the child often thinks that is the only thing that should happen, nothing else. Therefore, it may be good to also tell about other matters that should also be done on the way home.

Children 4 years of age often speak highly of themselves. It helps them solve everyday problems. Such talk is common and good for the child’s development.

Uses long sentences and is happy to tell stories

4-year-olds are happy to tell their own stories and can use quite complicated sentences, for example “Little sister took the mud before I could put it on the table”. The child can talk about the future, tell about things that have happened before, and can recount parts of stories they have heard. Playing with rams and rhymes is a fun way to practice how the language works.

Asking for information

Children of all ages are questionable. They use language at the level they can to get information about the world. At the age of four, children have learned to ask quite tricky questions, such as “Is onion a fruit and why does it not smell good?”, Or “How does the pilot know where the aircraft is going?”. Give correct answers that are at the child’s level. It helps the child to better organize and understand their world. It is important for the child’s development to ask many questions and to get reasonable answers.

Screens and various media

You as a parent set boundaries around and teach the children how to handle different media. You make the decisions for your child that you think will be best. It is good to avoid extremes. Never allowing a child to come near a screen can give a disadvantage to other children. Giving children unlimited screen access is harmful, as it takes time from physical activity, play, socializing and other tasks. It is also bad for children’s bodies to sit passive with a screen for long moments.

It is important that the time in front of the screen does not replace the time when you are together, or replace the time when the child is allowed to move and play outdoors. Children need to move a lot and be active. The biggest problem with screens is that they take up too much time from something else that children need more.

There are different perceptions about how television and computer games affect children. Some age-appropriate television programs, video games and computer games can be fun and good at this age. At this age, most children, for example, come across a screen as an educational tool in preschool.

Remember to have the same supervision over your child when they have screen time as with all other types of activities.

Take into account the child’s age and personality

Think about what you think your child is capable of. It can differ between children of the same age. Customize that child to see and do according to their personality. Look with the child, talk about what you see and experience. Keep in mind that children can be scared of things you don’t think they are scared of.

Time limit the child’s screen time. One obvious way is to set an egg bell for example. Help the child to finish by saying “now it is only five minutes left, and when the bell rings we should turn off”. It also gives the child some time perception.

The younger the child is, the less time with different media needs them. It is not possible to say something that applies to all children about the right screen time at different ages. One recommendation is that children of this age can use the screen for shorter moments, usually up to an hour but preferably shorter. They should not have their own access to social media. You can sometimes show them pictures or videos from social media that you have selected or approved yourself.

Do not allow children to watch news programs, adult films or play games with violence. Turn off unpleasant background noise.

Think about how you use media yourself when you are with your child. Children do as adults do. Most social media programs are designed to devour as much of your own attention as possible. Therefore, when you sit with a screen yourself, you become less attentive to your child.

Usually the child can and does

At this age, it is common for children to do this:

  • Uses at least four words in one sentence.
  • Uses the word “I” instead of his name, and knows his last name.
  • Uses “why” and “think about” often.
  • Tells stories, talks a lot, invents and plays with words.
  • Talking about the future, for example “tomorrow I want to go to Grandpa”.
  • Uses prepositions, such as on, in, during, then, behind, before and in front.
  • Begins to argue for their cause.
  • Begins to wait for their turn.

Tips on fun things you can do together

Here are some tips on what can be fun at this age:

  • When answering the questions why, ask a follow-up question about the topic. Then you develop the conversation and help the child to practice the language.
  • Play business or other role-plays where the child is encouraged to play with words and talk a lot.
  • Read books together.

The body and how the child moves

Now the baby round body shape has disappeared.

Now children are safer in their movements. Many children can use a knife and fork, walk the balance and stand on one leg. They run and jump high and far. It is usually fun to, for example, climb and climb in a climbing frame or in a tree. It is normal to be a little restless and have a hard time sitting still.

When the child kicks or throws ball, the cooperation between the eye, hand and foot develops even more than before.

The child is not able to be in the traffic himself. This requires maturity and experience that the child does not have for several years.

Draws of reality

At this age, the child begins to draw from reality. Children draw because it is fun but also to process experiences, both good and bad.

At the age of 4, most children can draw a head foot, that is, a round head with eyes and legs that attach directly to the head. At age 5, the child usually draws more details and can often name most parts of the body. To find out how a child perceives their body, ask them to draw a human. Then the child usually draws the parts of the body which they themselves are most aware of.

It is getting easier to do things with your hands

The child gets better at doing things with his hands. Buttoning big buttons usually go well. Many children like to make crafts, such as forming figures and patterns in clay or making necklaces of small pearls. Some movements are more difficult, such as pouring milk into a glass. The child may like to form letters, preferably letters that are part of their own name.

The child is curious about his body

Children between the ages of 3 and 5 are very interested in how people live together and by the body. By playing, they learn to understand what it is like to have adult relationships, for example, to be married. It can be exciting that girls have snippets and boys have snouts. The child explores his and others’ bodies by, for example, playing doctor, playing family and playing chase-and-kiss.

Children can also explore their body by touching their genitals. It is most common at home but also happens in preschool. Touching their genitals for the sake of being nice or interesting can make children from birth. It is very different how interested children are by their genitals and by satisfying themselves, masturbating. Examining oneself in this way is common and part of the development. It has no connection to later problem behaviors. At about 3 years of age, the child discovers that they can give themselves pleasure by touching their genitals on their own. Research shows that masturbation is most common around the age of 4, and then it becomes very common again at puberty. But masturbation occurs throughout life.

The child learns a little at a time through guidance from you and from preschool staff what they can do when and where. How children explore their own and others’ bodies is influenced by what is allowed or forbidden by you and the environment. If you prohibit talking, playing and exploring about relationships and the body, it is common for the child to turn to friends or other adults instead to find out. Then it can be difficult for the child to understand what is okay and not.

It may be good to talk to a nurse at the childcare center, hospital, or to a child psychologist if the child repeatedly shows a sexual behavior that is adult, or if sexual behaviors take over completely when the child is playing. The same applies if the child forces other children with sexual behaviors against those children. You should also talk to the hospital or a child psychologist if the child does not respect the adult’s attempt to set reasonable limits on sexual behavior, or when the child ignores other children being scared, hurt, or uncomfortable.

Usually the child can and does

At this age, it is common for children to do this:

  • Stands on one leg for a few seconds.
  • Hits dumbbells, jumps and shoots
  • Swings yourself in a swing.
  • Climbs well.
  • Draws a cross with a clear shape.
  • Cuts after a dash.
  • Dress and wear clothes without small and complicated buttons.
  • Wires beads on string.
  • Wash your hands and face yourself.
  • Manages to go to the toilet itself, but may need help to dry.

Tips on fun things to do

Here are some tips on what can be fun at this age:

  • Play a game where you walk like different animals. Tell each other as you walk in, on, under, behind, next to someone or something.
  • Have the child cut out pictures from old magazines. Consider whether the child is right-handed or left-handed so that they get the right scissors. There are scissors for the left hand. Collage the images.
  • Give the child a puzzle book or draw geometric patterns and shapes that the child can draw from.
  • Build different types of houses with many blocks and with many different functions.
  • Play in the woods or on playgrounds. Let the child climb to develop and learn, and also show how good they have become in jumping or climbing. Children want to be seen, get appreciation and confirmation. When you are out together, the child can discover the world and things around him.

If you need support

Seek help if you need support, have questions or feel anxious about your child’s development.

In addition to talking to, for example, friends and relatives, you can contact the childcare center, hospital. The staff there has a lot of experience with questions about children of this age. You can also talk to preschool or family daycare.

You can also contact a health care center or the municipality. Some municipalities offer parental support in groups or individually.

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