3 to 6 years of age

Psychosexual Stage: Phallic Psychosocial Stage: Initiative versus guilt Cognitive Stage: Preoperational

Fear: Castration Body Mutilation Fear of the Dark

 Loosely organized group play where

membership changes readily, as do rules  Through play, the child deals with reality, learns control of feelings, and expresses emotions more through action than words  Play is physically oriented but is also imitative and imaginary  Increasing sharing and cooperation among preschooler, especially 5-yearold children

Suggested toys:
 Dress up clothes  Housekeeping toys  Dolls, doll house  Painting sets, coloring books,

paste and cutout sets  Illustrated books, puzzles with large pictures  Tricycle, playground equipment (slide, swing, seesaw)

 They love to watch adults and imitate      

their behavior. They are very creative and curious. Favorite word is “why?” Imaginary playmates are common. They love to tell lies and brag or boast in order to impress others. They enjoy offensive language. Length at birth is doubled at 4 years of age. May exhibit genu valgus (knock-knees).

 Age of sibling rivalry.  Oedipal and Electra complex.

 Questions about sex should be

answered honestly, at the level of their understanding.  Masturbation may be seen in some – do not make fuss about it or punish the child; just give toys to play with or divert attention.

3 years old
    FINE MOTOR Undresses self Stacks tower of blocks Draws a cross Copies circle GROSS MOTOR  Rides a tricycle   Alternates feet on stairs   Stand on one foot LANGUAGE Vocabulary of 900 words Uses three- or four-word sentences Gives own first name and age

4 years old

 FINE MOTOR GROSS MOTOR Can do simple  Constantly in buttons motion Draws a 3-part man  Jumps  Skips

LANGUAGE Vocabulary of 1500 words Short paragraphs w/ sentences of 4 or 5 words Gives first and last name Sings

5 years old
FINE MOTOR    Draws a 6-part man Can lace shoes Dresses self independently Copies a triangle   GROSS MOTOR Walking, climbing,  and running with coordination  Throws overhand   LANGUAGE Vocabulary of 2,100 words Speaks in short paragraphs Gives own address Asks meaning of words

Do not allow preschooler to
 Play outside unsupervised
 Operate electronic appliances  Light candles, fires

Teach preschooler
 Safety with tricycle
 Always hold hands with a     

grownup before crossing a street Wear helmets when riding bicycles Beginning swimming Appropriate uses of medication Dangers of strangers What to do during emergencies

 Do not leave preschooler alone in      

bathtub or near water Supervise child’s play with pets Never present medications as candy Never take medication in front of a child Never store food or substances in containers other than their own. Stock first aid box with medications Turn handles of pans toward back of stove


Behavior Variations: telling tall tales, imaginary friends, difficulty sharing, regression Sibling rivalry Sex education Preparing child for school Broken fluency & Swearing