From the day of his birth, every moment of your child's life has involved learning something. Now that he is entering preschool, he's about to acquire a few more important life skills -- how to interact with people other than family and how to make friends. As your child's language increases during his fourth and fifth year of life, so will his interactions with other people.
Importance of Interactions
Even before you child begins to talk to other kids, or even other adults, it is important to expose him to many social situations. It is through these different experiences that children learn how they are expected to behave at different times. As they get older and start to interact with other children, they will learn how to communicate, share, and cooperate.
A three- or four-year-old child may engage in what's called associative play, where he plays next to a group of children, but more likely than not, he's more interested in doing his own thing. And while it may look like he is playing all by himself, he is most likely learning about social skills from the children around him, like cooperation and turn taking. It is not until a child is 5 years old that he is ready for games that require rules, such as board games.
Types of Interactions
Sometimes a 3- or 4-year old will interact appropriately with an adult or peer, and sometimes he will not. Since not all children this age have the necessary language skills to effectively communicate, it is not uncommon for a child to grab a toy that another child has, push or hit to gain attention, or ignore a friend or adult who is trying to talk to her. Appropriate language and behavior should be modeled by the adults present.
A preschooler's vocabulary seems to increase exponentially, and as her vocabulary grows, so does her ability to have reciprocal conversations, both with her peers and with her parents. Some children will narrate all of their actions with words or ask seemingly endless questions. It is also during these years that young children learn the power of words. While some children this age are non-stop chatterboxes, others still prefer to sit back and observe, rather than talk.
- Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images