We've collated some of the most common information parents need to know to make this transition from toddler to preschooler as smooth as possible.

Behaviour to expect

Between the ages of three and five, children are curious, building their independence, easily distracted and developing on self-regulation.

"Preschoolers are fascinated by the world around them, so you can expect lots of ‘who’, ‘what’ and ‘why’ questions," says the Raising Children Network.

Really nurture their willingness to learn. It might take some extra time - for example stopping in a park to look at the birds in the trees or a snail on the footpath - but this is what's going to help them understand the world around them.

Allowing them to stop and ponder also helps them build their independence. They're obviously very keen to do things on their own at this age but they need a parents' support in doing so. Giving lots of positive praise and opportunities to practise new skills will help build their confidence and self-esteem.

Why preschool matters

During this time of immense curiosity, trials and triumphs, your child is going to benefit greatly from being around other preschoolers.

It will encourage your child's social skills, problem-solving and rule-following behaviours - among other experiences like learning to share and taking turns with other kids around them.

Of course there are valid concerns when it comes to sending your child to preschool.

These can include anxiety - on both the parent's and child's part - about being left alone for the day, fighting with or bullying from other children, tantrums and shyness.

Know that these feelings of worry are normal, and reassure your child that any uncertainty they're feeling is OK and that you're proud of them for being so brave. Of course if any of these experiences become crippling to your child or they're experiencing severe fighting and/or bullying, speak to your preschool and your GP or child psychologist.

More on dealing with preschool bullying here.

Building resilience

Teaching your child how to 'bounce back' from difficult situations and experiences is how they will build their resilience.

At this age, difficult situations can of course include starting preschool and bullying but also moving house, welcoming a new sibling into the family or illness.

If a child is resilient and can recover from challengers or setbacks, they are more likely to be good at problem-solving and learning new skills, because they're not afraid to give things another go if perhaps it didn't work out the first, or even second, time.

Here are some ways, according to Raising Children Network, to help your child build resilience:

  • Support your child but try not to solve every minor problem or disappointment. For example, if your child doesn’t get invited to a birthday party, you could talk about how they feel instead of trying to fix the problem.

  • Avoid predicting and preventing problems for your child.

  • Help your child to identify and manage strong emotions. For example, you can say ‘I can see you’re really worried about XYZ. It’s OK to be worried’ and reassure them what's being done to rectify what they're worried about.

  • Encourage your child to have another go when things don’t work out the first time they try something. Praise your child for trying, no matter the result.

  • Build your child’s self-compassion. Self-compassion helps your child deal with disappointment, failures or mistakes by being kind to themselves.

  • Make it a habit to recognise and acknowledge when things are going well.

  • Help your child to develop problem-solving skills in an age-appropriate way. For example, if a child at school says or does something unkind to your child, brainstorm how your child might respond next time.

Temperament and parenting styles

A child's temperament can be defined as the way in which they respond to the world around them.

You can outline their temperament by looking at her they react to things (good or bad), how they control their own behaviour and feelings and how comfortable they are meeting new people or having new experiences.

You can't change your little one's temperament in the here-and-now, that's who they are - and we love them for it!

However as they grow up and mature, you may notice that their temperament does shift. Perhaps they were once very distracted at school and then they grow into a young adult who is very focused in their job.

In the meantime while they're still at this preschooler age, what you can, and should, change is your parenting style so that it best suits their temperament.

For example, if you have a child that is very reactive and very active, they're likely to respond really well to positive situations, but then will be very loud, dramatic and challenging when something negative happens, like them not getting their way.

Your parenting style for this child shouldn't be far from reactive, and instead use calm responses and encouraging your child to take a breath, relax and describe their angry feelings with words as opposed to 'telling them off' or raising your voice.

For more on parenting styles for different temperaments, read here.


If you have any questions or need extra support, we're here to help you anytime in any language.

Article originally published by: Raising Children Network

Image credits: Erika Fletcher on Unsplash, BBC Creative on Unsplash

All content is created and published for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice.

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