Preschool behaviours to watch out for

Your child may be only three or four years old, yet their behaviour in school can provide you with information about their development.

Randburg Sun

One in every five school-age children has a learning and attention problem, and early indicators frequently manifest as developmental delays in the toddler and preschool years.

Nonetheless, children develop differently, and there are a plethora of possible explanations for each given behaviour.

A delay in fine motor abilities could be a normal developmental blip or it could suggest something more serious.

Yet one thing is certain: the earlier parents and teachers can recognise delays and begin early treatments, the better children will perform socially and academically in the long run.

Consider the five questions below to see if your toddler or preschooler’s development is on track.

1. Do they have a vocabulary of at least 200 words?

Most three-year-olds can name body parts, ordinary items, and simple pronouns like “you” or “me”. They’ll also begin to question “why?” and use plurals.

Speech and language difficulties are sometimes one of the first indications of a learning disability, such as an auditory- or language processing issue, in which a child’s brain has difficulty interpreting or using sound or words.

Undiagnosed hearing loss, as well as chronic ear infections, can potentially cause speech delays. A child’s hearing is tested at birth and again around the age of five, but if you’re concerned, you can request an evaluation from your paediatrician before then

2. Do they know how old they are?

Preschoolers should understand the concept of “how many” and be able to hold up their fingers to indicate their age by 36 months. Kids should be able to “count,” that is, recite multiple numbers in order (though they often skip some).

At the age of four, most children can count to 20. A chronic delay in this area could be an early symptom of dyscalculia, a learning condition that difficulties with understanding numbers and telling time.

3. Is your child familiar with their ABCs?

Children between the ages of three and four should be able to recognise 10 or more letters when they see them. Some children can recognise their own first name or a few words they hear regularly.

If your child is slipping behind the majority of their peers in this area, it may indicate a language-processing issue or dyslexia, a learning condition that causes difficulty reading, writing, and spelling.

4. Does your child appear less mature than other children their age?

According to a National Institutes of Health study, children with ADHD may be three years behind other children their age in key aspects of brain development.

When it comes to kindergarten, social and emotional abilities are crucial. Children must be able to cooperate with their peers while also managing their own frustrations without hitting or having tantrums.

By the age of five, a child should be able to regulate her emotions in age-appropriate ways, such as persevering through an obstacle or challenge rather than giving up in frustration as a younger child may. If your child isn’t there yet, it doesn’t indicate they’ll have ADHD or a learning handicap. You should, however, keep an eye on the issue.

5. Do they attempt to “read”?

Preschoolers can respond to inquiries about what they observe in books and can act out reading by turning pages and making up stories based on the visuals. At the age of four, most children can recite a few lines from a favourite book. This indicates they’re learning that pictures may help convey a story and that the symbols (letters) on the page have meaning – an key early literacy ability.



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