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Socialisation, confidence building and self-esteem - 3 to 4 years

 

At this age, your child is becoming more aware of himself. He knows that he is a boy, that mummy is a woman, and that daddy is a man whom he will grow up to be.​​

As he progresses from a toddler to a young child, he is building his sense of self. This is an important time for his personality to shine through. Encourage him to develop his self confidence as he interacts with others.

Young children develop communication skills over time as they interact with you, their peers and other adults. He probably has a few friends whom he plays with regularly. Through these interactions, he is developing important qualities such as empathy, making friends, resolving conflicts peacefully, patience and taking turns.

At this age, your child can express his feelings and relate to others. Helping him recognise and identify his feelings is important. This helps him to understand his own emotions and develop the ability to manage and regulate his feelings.

Teach him the words to express how he feels, such as ‘happy’, ‘sad’, ‘angry, and ‘frustrated’. By doing this you help him to develop positive emotional well-being. This is how children gain confidence and independence as they mature.
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WHAT YOU CAN DO
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Cleaning up can be fun! Encourage your child to clean up after playtime by turning it into a game! For example, if she leaves her dolls and stuffed toys around, ask her to walk, hop or jump each "friend" to its place! You can even create voices for these toys to make the experience more enjoyable! For example, Baby Bunny says, "I need to go home! My mummy is calling!" Cleaning up!

Use hand puppets to develop empathy
​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Act out using puppets to develop empathy! Use a puppet to act out simple scenes reflecting common issues that your child faces, like sharing toys and taking turns. Ask your child, "What do you think the puppet is feeling?" or "How can we help the puppet?"
You can make your own puppet using ice-cream sticks or even a sock! Click here to learn how!
Model respect when conversing with your child. When your child starts a conversation, always give her your full attention whenever possible. Similarly, always make sure that you have your child's attention before you speak. Pause after speaking to allow your child an opportunity to continue to conversation. Give her time to respond and show that you are interested in what she is communicating. Model respect in conversations!

​Fostering positive relationships and communication with your child. Build your child's self-esteem and self-efficacy through warm and nurturing relationships and communication. Model positive ways of managing challenging situations and regulating your emotions. This will encourage your child to adopt similar positive behaviours. For example, persist in adopting different methods to problem solve, remain calm even in challenging situations, and when needed, seek help from others for alternative solutions.
~ Ms Sai Jun Lin, Psychologist, Department of Child Development, KK Women's and Children's Hospital
Fostering positive relationships

​Socialise through play dates! Arrange for opportunities for your child to play with peers of the same age at home, in the homes of others, and in the playground! Let children try to negotiate and resolve their misunderstandings on their own. Step in only when necessary or when the issue escalates. Adopt a positive approach through your tone and words as children will model after your behaviour.
~ Ms N. Pushpavalli, Principal of Ramakrishna Mission Sarada Kindergarten
 
Socialise through play dates

​Let junior learn from mistakes! Show patience and stay calm if your child makes mistakes when doing an activity. Give her time and encourage her to continue trying. All the while providing support when needed.
~ Ms Sai Jun Lin, Psychologist, Department of Child Development, KK Women's and Children's Hospital
 
Let junior learn from mistakes

Set limits and boundaries by having consistent consequences for desirable and undesirable behaviours.

Set limits and boundaries by having consistent consequences for desirable and undesirable behaviours. For example, praise your child when he stops an activity when asked to do so; ask your child to pack up his toys each time he throws them around in a temper tantrum, and praise him after he follows through with the instruction.
~ Ms Sai Jun Lin, Psychologist, Department of Child Development, KK Women's and Children's Hospital
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Encourage decision making! Give your child opportunities to make choices and decisions within reasonable limits. For example, offer your child two choices, showing him the objects or activities if needed to help him understand his options better.
~ Ms Sai Jun Lin, Psychologist, Department of Child Development, KK Women's and Children's Hospital
Encourage decision making



​Label the feelings your child is experiencing. Teach her words she can use to verbalise her emotions. Start with simpler words such as happy, sad, and angry, before moving on to more complex words. For example, say "You feel happy playing with bubbles!", or "You feel angry that you need to wait for your turn." It is also a great way to develop your child​​'s vocabulary!
~ Ms Sai Jun Lin, Psychologist, Department of Child Development, KK Women's and Children's Hospital
 
Label the feelings that your child is experiencing!

Discipline not tear down (3 to 4 year old)

Discipline without tearing-down your child when managing inappropriate behaviours. For example, saying "I do n​ot like it when you bite. You cannot bite. You need to come tell me if you are angry so-and-so took your toy", rather than labelling "you bad boy/ girl" when your child bites another child. Model positive attitudes towards self and others for your child and don't resort to belittling yourself or others.
~ Dr Jane Ching-Kwan, Chief Executive Officer/ Principal, KLC International Institute
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Conflict is okay

Conflict is okay. Children at this age are learning how to bargain, so allow him to negotiate with you. This is a great opportunity for your to sharpen your negotiation skills. For example, if it's bath time and your child still wants to play, tell him you'll give him another five minutes and have him agree to shower after the time is up. He might bargain for more time. Most importantly, come to a mutual agreement and keep to it.
 
Respect your child and he will learn to respect others. When your child sees that you are respectful towards others, he too will imitate your behaviour. When your child sees you being kind and helpful, he too, will be kind and helpful towards others. Praising him for helping others will encourage him to put on his best behaviour. Inculcate values that you treasure, such as kindness and helpfulness.
  
Respect your child

Play with your child!

Play with your child! Playing with your child not only builds a stronger bond between the both of you, it helps you know your child better. Spend time with him each day doing a simple activity -- like building blocks or solving a jigsaw -- so that he knows that he has your time and attention.
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Use positive guidance

Use positive guidance, not punishment. Managing challenging behaviours is part and parcel of parenthood. By using positive guidance, you can explain why a certain action or behaviour is undesirable. This will help your child understand what is right and wrong and learn to stay within set boundaries. Another method is to re-direct your child. If your child is doing something which you do not approve of, like throwing food onn the floor, re-direct your child to another activity. He probably has had enough of his meal.
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Ask each other questions. After reading a book together, encourage him to tell you how he feels about the characters. Ask him what he would do to overcome the obstacles in the story or what he would do if he was the character in the story. This will encourage him to understand what is socially acceptable and what is not, in addition to developing problem solving skills.

Ask him questions

Joke with your child

Be funny with your child! At this age, he is developing his sense of humour and loves funny rhymes and jokes. Share a joke together or let him have a go at telling one. He will enjoy joking around with you. 

Let him choose! A good way of helping your child build confidence is to empower him with choices. Give him a maximum of two choices each time. For example, you can ask him to choose if he wants to wear his red T-shirt or the blue striped shirt. By allowing him to choose, you are encouraging him to make his own decisions. Grow @ Beanstalk - Socialisation, confidence building and self-esteem - 3 to 4 years

Grow @ Beanstalk - Socialisation, confidence building and self-esteem - 3 to 4 years

Play board games. Board games can build your child’s social skills, such as communicating, sharing, waiting and taking turns. Some games also promote early numeracy as he has to count the number of dots on the dice and the number of moves to make. Balance your child’s pleasure in playing the game with his ability to manage frustration when he finds himself losing. If possible, make every player a winner​
Give your child errands to run. Build your child’s sense of competency and independence by allowing him to help out with simple errands. Ask him to bring the loaf of bread to the table, or collect the clothes from the laundry basket. Always thank him with a smile and words of praise for his effort, not results. These small successes give him the confidence to try new things himself. Grow @ Beanstalk - Socialisation, confidence building and self-esteem - 3 to 4 years
Grow @ Beanstalk - Socialisation, confidence building and self-esteem - 3 to 4 years Let your child have a baby doll. Young children love taking care of babies. Give your child a baby doll to take care of and he will start caring for the doll like a younger sibling. This helps him learn to be caring and builds his confidence. He might even mimic or model the way you show care change your baby’s diaper or feed the baby.

Grow @ Beanstalk - Socialisation, confidence building and self-esteem - 3 to 4 years

Allow your child to perform simple tasks on his own.  This builds your child’s confidence and inculcates a sense of independence and responsibility as he realises that he is capable. Whether he succeeds or struggles with the assigned task, always encourage him. For a start, ask your child to pack his toys away after playing with them. Tell your child how he has done well after he has packed the toys away.​

 

The difference between boys and girls is... At this age, your child knows his gender. This self-awareness increases as he socialises with others. Encourage your child to play with friends of both genders. Offer movies, books or toys that represent a wide variety of gender roles. By avoiding gender stereotypes and gender bias, you are providing your child with opportunities to develop his talents and grow up to be who he truly is on the inside, regardless of gender.​

Grow @ Beanstalk - Socialisation, confidence building and self-esteem - 3 to 4 years

Grow @ Beanstalk - Socialisation, confidence building and self-esteem - 3 to 4 years 

 

Express through art. Your child can draw or paint how he feels. When faced with a difficult situation, being able to express his feelings through different mediums helps your child regulate his feelings. Self regulation is important as it helps your child learn to control his behaviour and actions.

Grow @ Beanstalk - Socialisation, confidence building and self-esteem - 3 to 4 years​ 

Young children love small animals. They are fascinated with anything smaller and younger than them. You may like to let your child interact with a friend’s pet. Rabbits or hamsters are a good start. If you are considering getting a pet.  Ensure that no one in your family is allergic to animal fur or has any asthma or respiratory problems. More importantly, keeping a pet is a lifetime commitment. Do instil the right values about keeping pets. 

​​Set Boundaries.  Cre​ating boundaries actually makes your child feel safe, letting him know what he can or cannot do. For example, when your child throws a tantrum, let him know that it is okay to feel angry, but not to misbehave. This will help your child understand that acting on negative feelings will bring about negative consequences. 
Grow @ Beanstalk - Socialisation, confidence building and self-esteem - 3 to 4 years

​​Role Play!  Your child can act as a doctor or a chef or a teacher. Young children love to re-enact familiar scenarios and pretend play is a great way to learn new vocabulary, discuss different roles and responsibilities, and help your child learn to relate to others respectfully and develop empathy. For example, while playing doctor, your child’s doll could be the patient while your child plays the doctor. You could take on a supporting role by being the assistant. Talk about the patient and how she feels, or what she could be ill with – flu, dengue or hand foot and mouth disease. This is also a good time to introduce hygiene, the importance of covering one’s mouth while coughing, and hand washing. 



Role play 3 year olds
Allow your child to express his feelings.  If your child is upset or throwing a tantrum, ask “Why are you unhappy? What is bothering you?” Acknowledge your child’s feelings by using words like “I know you are angry. Take a deep breath. It’s okay. Now, tell me what happened. Why are you angry?” Giving your child the opportunity to talk about his feelings will help him learn to regulate his emotions and behaviour. When you handle situations calmly, your child will also learn to remain calm when he is feeling agitated or angry. Expression of feelings
Role model

You’re the role model!  Young children love to copy and imitate your words and actions, so remember that you are a role model for your child. Keeping your words and actions in check will help you be more aware of the values and manners you want to inculcate in your children. Model the behaviour you want to see in your children. For example, emphasise using “Please” and “Thank you” and praise your child when he is polite. Encourage him to take turns and share with others. This will cultivate a caring child who is willing to delay his gratification by allowing others to go first.

 

Be expressive.  Cut out pictures of different facial expressions or use graphics to make a feelings chart. You can even download one from the Internet. This will help your child identify and relate to different emotions by giving him the words to express himself. For example, show your child expressions of happiness, anger, sadness such as a smiling face, a person clenching his teeth with furrowed brows, and a person crying. By putting a label on each emotion, your child will be able to articulate his feelings. Being able to express his feelings is important for his emotional well-being. Acknowledging feelings
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