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Developmentally Appropriate Behavior

While kids between three to five years old have mastered many skills, they’re still figuring out a lot of things when it comes to controlling their behavior and emotions.

Three Kids in park holding Recycle Bin

When preschoolers can talk, act, and move like older kids, it can be hard to remember that they’re still only three to five years old. Your child’s brain is still a preschooler’s brain – despite what your child can do or tell you. At this age, tantrums, big emotions, pushing limits, and trying new things are all to be expected. Making things up and more deliberate choice-making can also be seen at this age. Sometimes preschoolers can act like toddlers, just in bigger bodies with more language skills. At this age, however, it may be a little easier to have a conversation with your preschooler about behavior and expectations.

It’s not uncommon for a preschooler to act differently depending on the setting – whether it’s a preschool classroom, at grandma’s house, or at the park. You might notice that certain behaviors are only seen in one place and not others. Your child may associate different expectations with different settings. Just like during the earlier years, consistent teaching and support from caring adults is still very important at this stage.

More Resources

Check out your Child’s Brain Development to find out what to look for in terms of skills your preschooler is developing at this age.

Check out Parenting & Behavior Management Strategies to learn ways to manage your preschooler’s behavior.

Quick Tip: If you are concerned about your preschooler’s behavior, talk to your pediatrician about your concerns. Pediatricians are trained on what is expected and can offer advice (or reassurance) if needed.

First 5 California
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First 5 California
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