The Power of Parenting

Monday, 18 May 2020

Emotional Development: 3-4 Years

Emotional Development means the development of a full range of emotions from sad to happy to angry, and learning to deal with them appropriately. This helps build self-esteem and leads to such deeper qualities as sympathy, caring, resiliency, assertiveness and empathy and the ability to rise to life’s challenges.

Typical Skills
  • Experiences a broad range of feelings, e.g., jealousy, excitement, fear, happiness, anger
  • Expresses needs with words, e.g., “I’m tired”
  • Is more able to express anger verbally rather than physically
  • Is becoming less egocentric and more able to understand feelings and point of view of others
  • Is less upset by limits and discipline
Emerging Skills
  • Continually grows in independence and self-esteem
  • Expands pretend play into rich, connected themes
  • Is more even tempered and co-operative with parents
  • Shows empathy, e.g., for a friend who is upset
  • May show attachment to one playmate

If you do this:
Your Preschooler Will


  • Model coping with emotions
  • Help your preschooler deal with tantrums by talking to her about what makes her feel better when she is angry or sad
  • Explore books that talk about emotions
  • Learn acceptable ways to cope
  • Feel supported when experiencing negative emotions
  • Begin to develop the ability to empathize with others
If you do this:
Your Preschooler Will:


  • Arrange special play dates with his friends
  • Provide opportunities for him to make choices about play activities
  • Help him set small goals he can achieve during play or other activities
  • Feel supported in his social needs
  • Develop a sense of mastery and positive self-esteem in areas he likes
  • Develop the ability to complete a task or activity
If you do this:
Your Preschooler Will:


  • Engage in activities that make your preschooler happy, e.g., reading books, doing puzzles
  • Provide her with some tasks that require some concentration
  • Give her some responsibility during daily routines, e.g., choosing her clothes and getting dressed
  • Feel respected when you engage in her favourite activity
  • Learn to persevere on a task for a period of time
  • Develop confidence in her ability to be responsible