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Emotional Development: 4 to 5 years

Emotional Development means developing a full range of emotions, from sad to happy to angry, and learning to handle them appropriately. This leads to deeper qualities – sympathy, caring, resilience, self-esteem, assertiveness and being able to rise to life's challenges.

Emerging Skills
  • Concentrate on an activity for 20 to 30 minutes
  • Identify and talk about feelings in relation to events
  • Experience positive feelings about themselves and what they can do
  • Separate easily from family in familiar surroundings
  • Recognize another's need for help and give assistance
  • Find out more about What to Expect from your preschooler, 4 to 5 Years.


    Through the comfort and responsiveness of an adult, preschoolers will learn how to handle their emotions and how to seek help when needed.

    Parents Can:
  • Monitor and identify stresses that may cause experiences to be negative
  • Prepare their preschooler for a stressful situation ahead of time
  • Child Will:
  • Experience lower stress levels
  • Learn how to use strategies to deal with new and stressful situations
  • Feel secure with parental support

  • Parents Can:
  • Offer opportunities for their preschooler to develop her strengths and talents
  • Child Will:
  • Learn to feel capable about herself in many different areas, for example, music, sports, drawing
  • Feel good about who she is and what she can do

  • Parents Can:
  • Show their preschooler that he is loved unconditionally
  • Point out why he is special and so loved
  • Child Will:
  • Feel valued and experience a strong sense of belonging
  • Feel good about himself

  • Play

    Through opportunities for play, preschoolers will experience joyful, free, spontaneous moments of fun while also learning about themselves and others.

    Parents Can:
  • Provide crayons, markers and paper and encourage their preschooler to draw pictures of happy events
  • Talk with her about the picture and write down her story
  • Child Will:
  • Use her creativity to express emotions and related ideas
  • Identify and talk about feelings in relation to events

  • Parents Can:
  • Provide their preschooler with the opportunity to be with other familiar children in a supervised setting without them. For example, kindergarten or instruction programs, such as swimming
  • Child Will:
  • Begin to separate easily from family in familiar settings
  • Feel good about his ability to play with other children independent of a primary caregiver
  • Develop strategies to deal with conflicts that may arise with a friend

  • Parents Can:
  • Create a dramatic play area together where their preschooler can experiment with roles, situations and emotions
  • Join the play with their preschooler in this area, or arrange for a playmate to come over
  • Child Will:
  • Experiment with different roles and situations
  • Use language to create stories
  • Use his creativity to explore familiar and unfamiliar situations and events

  • Teach

    Through routines, and emotionally and physically safe and secure environments, preschoolers can learn how to think, solve problems and communicate.

    Parents Can:
  • Model and coach their preschooler on how to handle emotions and feelings
  • Child Will:
  • Learn how to express anger and frustration safely
  • Learn how to express caring and empathy for others

  • Parents Can:
  • Model persistence and patience in all their efforts and tasks
  • Child Will:
  • Learn that sticking to something, and not giving up easily will bring a sense of accomplishment and pride

  • Parents Can:
  • Support their preschooler's bid to take risks in social situations, as well as everyday tasks
  • Child Will:
  • Feel confident in her abilities
  • Understand that motivation to try out new things can bring successes

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