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Preschoolers: ‘The Wonder Years’

March 12, 2015
Brittany Berry , MOV Parent

It's amazing how fast your child grows. One minute they're completely dependent on you as a toddler, the next they want to do everything on their own as a preschooler. Welcome to the "Wonder Years." This is the time where your child develops their own personality and skills they will use the rest of their life. During this time, your child is gaining more awareness, self-control and self-confidence. Here are some tips to help your child's personality cultivate:

Avoid negative labels: Labels such as, bossy, shy, bad, etc. can unintentionally stick with your child. Instead, build your preschooler up with positive words, which will give them confidence and help them grow.

Set an example: Your child is a sponge and absorbs more than you may think. Be a positive role model for your preschooler by trying healthy new foods together and saying positive things about yourself and others in front of your child. Your child will exhibit behaviors and habits modeled (good and bad) during the preschool years.

Encourage your child to play with other children: Playing with other children helps to develop many skills like communication, leadership and problem solving. Trips to the playground are great opportunities for play with others and as your preschooler takes time climb on playground equipment he/she will build muscle strength and coordination.

Expect more: Give your child responsibility, chores and autonomy. Support your preschooler's growth and independence by allowing him/her to help with household tasks and personal needs. Ways to do this can include giving your child choices at times like snack or transition between activities. Remember however, that choices should have limits.

During the preschool years, it is also important to instill healthy habits. Some healthy habit tips include:

Limit screen time for your child (1-2 hours a day).

Incorporate all five food groups into meals.

Encourage children to try new foods.

Make mealtime, family time. Let your child help you prepare the snacks and meals.

Incorporate physical activity into your child's day.

Brittany Berry is a nutrition education intern for Children's Hunger Alliance.



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