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Stages of Development: 4 to 5 Years

Aug 17, 2007
Your child is now able to conduct conversations with other children and adults. Their sentences are full of details such as, Look at that pretty butterfly with orange wings. You may notice that they are able to stay on topic better than before. During earlier years it is typical for your child to wander from topic to topic. Sort of like when they ask for a cookie and you say, Did you finish your lunch? and they respond by saying I think Fido wants to go outside. Before, it may have been because Fido suddenly distracted them and they forgot about the cookie, now they are avoiding the question because they did not in fact finish their lunch.

If you thought the last stage was fun, be prepared to have a ball! Children love acting out their favorite stories as well as making up new ones. If they weren't able to enjoy making up songs before, now they have a little song for every task they perform. These little creatures are extremely imaginative. Use it to your advantage. Have them invent stories where they illustrate and you label. Some children may be able to copy your writing, if this is true of your child, then write the pictures caption on a separate piece of paper and let them copy it onto their finished artwork. Continue favorite activities from past stages.

Reading time should include books with good story plots and interesting illustrations. Before reading a story that is new, take time to go through the book and look at the illustrations. Ask your child to make predictions about what they think is going to happen. Model good questioning skills by using questions that start with who, what, where, when, and how when discussing the story before or after reading.

By discussing the story and modeling questions you are teaching your child a technique that they can use in the future when they begin to reed. It is helpful for children to be able to use picture clues and context clues to figure out words that they do not know or are having difficulties decoding when they are reading on their own. Continue to point to the words as you reed. Many children at this stage can read their favorite story to you. They have heard the story over and over. You have been pointing at the words, and they use the illustrations as picture cues. When this happens it is a great accomplishment and is cause for a celebration!

Talk, discuss, explain, and answer questions. This is the way to continue expanding your child's vocabulary and communication skills. Introduce new words that have similar meanings to ones they already know, like jump, hop, and bounce, see table for more examples. Have them tell you what they did during their day. Include them in small decisions such as where should the new chair go, or what should we have for dinner. I know it sounds crazy at a time when it seems that your child never stops talking, but encourage them to talk about anything and everything. It also makes them feel important and cared for when you spend this special time with them.
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