One morning you wake up and wonder what happened to my child. They don’t want to give you a hug as much. They roll their eyes at you when you ask them to do something. All you hear is “I can do it. Don’t help me”, “I already know that”, and the dreaded” whatever”. It seems that your child is now a walking attitude and confrontational monster. Welcome to the ages of four and five. Don’t worry it is a natural transition. There is a reason for it. You just need a few pointers on how to get through this latest storm. The main thing to consider is that your child is going through a huge emotional and physical change. The biggest thing to remember is to supportive and consistent.
Physically your child, according to them are having all kinds of problems. Their ones might hurt (growth spurt), they lose their teeth (what is up with that?). Since their bodies are changing their balance will be off and they may seem a little awkward in their movements. You may want to stock up on band-aids. You will see changes in their face too. You can look at them and be surprised that they look older. A little thinned out. The checks aren’t as pinchable. The physical changes are the easy part. They are explainable. They are expected.
The hard part is the emotional changes they will be going through. Let’s start with friends. They will be best friends with a child one moment, then they hate them, then they are best friends again. The best thing for this situation is to go with the flow. Let them complain. Just be there for them. Remind them that they can as many friends as they want and that there will be disagreements that need to be worked out with their friends. The thing to remember is that they are seeking acceptance with their peers and don’t know how to go about it. Guide them through by teaching them to be kind and respectful. Teach them how to solve their differences with words and understanding. The next thing they are trying to navigate is independence. They are realizing that they are growing up. They need to have some autonomy and control. Find things that they can do on their own. Picking out their clothes and getting dressed by themselves is a good start. Let them share in some responsibility in the house by doing a few chores. There will be a lot of frustration with you and your child during this. They want to be able to do this that they have never done and expect themselves to be able to do them one the first try which as adults we know that isn’t always the case. Give them the opportunity to keep trying. Be patient. As they are building their skills of independence you may notice a bit of a negative attitude coming out. They may be a bit sassy, use a tone of voice you don’t appreciated and let’s face it word usage may not be what you would like. Being consistent in reminding them of expectation will be in order. Try to remember that they are uncertain about what they are feeling and doing right now. They are afraid of making mistakes, being left out. They are trying to figure out who they want to be and how to go about accomplishing it. They are learning so much and their perception of their world is changing.
PS. Find a friend to help you. Someone to talk to who understands because you are going to need some emotional support yourself
PSS. Think of all this as a trial run to teenage years when it all happens again. LOL.
Lead Pre-Kindergarten Teacher