Childs development

As your toddler turns 3, they’re likely to be more independent than ever, and may want to go off on their own to explore, so you’ll need eyes in the back of your head as they get older, the more you can do to encourage them to do things for themselves, the better. This will really help them when they start school.

Tips to help 3-4 year olds develop their skills and independence

Keep their hands busy: At this stage your child will start to use their hands and fingers more accurately, so try giving them toys like blocks and puzzles to help them develop their skills. Making things together using glue and scissors will also help them practise.

Co-ordination: At this age they should start to get a bit better at co-ordinating their eye and hand movements, so this is a great time to play some ball games with them to help this

Encourage independence: As your child starts nursery, now’s the time to encourage them to be more independent and do things for themselves, like put on their shoes or tidy away their toys

Becoming the helper: let your child help you around the house. You could start with simple tasks in the kitchen, like putting toppings on a pizza or stirring a cake mix or they can help you put the washing in the washing machine.

Rhythm: This is when your child will start to develop a sense of rhythm, so it’s great to share a variety of different music styles with them and see what gets them moving!

Focus: As they grow up, children’s ability to focus improves, so if they’re really interested in something like a game or puzzle they can give it their full attention. You can help by giving them time and space to concentrate when they’re doing tasks.

Tips to help 4-5 year olds develop their skills and independence

Using their hands: By this time your child should be much better at using their hands and using tools like spoons and forks and pencils and crayons. You can help them with this by encouraging them to use cutlery when eating and by giving them lots of opportunities to draw and paint with different materials.

Co-ordination: Encouraging your child to draw with their index (pointer) fingers is a good way of helping them improve their co-ordination. You could try giving them different materials to work with. For example you can use finger paints and getting them to draw / paint with their index finger. Getting stuck into messy play is also good for helping them express themselves.

Fun whilst learning: Kneading, rolling, cutting and making things out of play dough is also great for helping little hands and fingers get strong and skilful. And believe it or not, making different shapes from play dough, like circles, squares and triangles, is great practice for learning to write.

A chore a day: Encourage their independence by giving them a small task to do every day, like hanging up their coat, putting their shoes away or helping to unpack the shopping.

Don’t forget to praise: At this age your child loves to be praised, so make sure you give them lots of encouragement when they try new things and attempt to do things for themselves.

Any time is story time: Reading isn’t just for bedtime. Reading to your child is another great way to help them improve their speech and language schools and get ready for school.

At the age of 5 your child will be starting full time school. Click here for more information on how you can support your child to be school ready.

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