Monday, September 16, 2019

Preschoolers' (3-6 years)

Developmental Task
To learn to take initiative, control impulses, interact and play cooperatively with peers, and begin socialization.

Characteristics of this Stage
The focus is on social roles and on mimicking adult behaviors. The stage of nightmares, invented monsters, vivid fantasies and magical thinking (“If I think it, it will happen”), which creates much anxiety. Acute sensitivity to parental conflicts and parents’ moods and feelings. Time perspective is very limited (to about 2-3 days maximum), and, when appropriate, child benefits by frequent contact (by phone or in person) with other parent.

Signs of Stress
Excessive fears and anxieties, including fear of separation and abandonment. Blames self for adult actions (including the divorce). Shows regressive behaviors (e.g. thumb-sucking, bed-wetting, tantrums, clinginess). Shows transition distress and resistance to going with other parent.

Child Needs
Reassurance with hugs and holding, and with words like “I love you” “You’ll be O.K.,” “Your Father/Mother and I will make sure things are O.K. for you.” Consistent and predictable routine, with some advanced notice and explanations for any changes in routine.