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.
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.
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.
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.
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.