Medical Encyclopedia


Medical Encyclopedia

Other encyclopedia topics:  A-Ag  Ah-Ap  Aq-Az  B-Bk  Bl-Bz  C-Cg  Ch-Co  Cp-Cz  D-Di  Dj-Dz  E-Ep  Eq-Ez  F  G  H-Hf  Hg-Hz  I-In  Io-Iz  J  K  L-Ln  Lo-Lz  M-Mf  Mg-Mz  N  O  P-Pl  Pm-Pz  Q  R  S-Sh  Si-Sp  Sq-Sz  T-Tn  To-Tz  U  V  W  X  Y  Z  0-9 

Preschooler development

Contents of this page:


Preschooler development
Preschooler development

Definition    Return to top

The normal social and physical development of children ages 3 - 6 years old includes many significant milestones.

Information    Return to top

All children develop a little differently. If you are concerned about your child's development, talk to your child's health care provider.



Stuttering may occur in the normal language development of toddlers ages 3 - 4 years. It occurs because ideas come to mind faster than the child is able to express them, especially if the toddler is stressed or excited.

When the child is speaking, give your full, prompt attention. Do not comment on the stuttering. Consider having the child evaluated by speech pathologist if:


The preschooler learns the social skills necessary to play and work with other children. As time passes, the child is better able to cooperate with a larger number of peers. Although 4- to 5-year-olds may be able to start participating in games that have rules, the rules are likely to change frequently at the whim of the more dominant child.

It is common, within a small group of preschoolers, to see a dominant child emerge who tends to boss around the others without much resistance from the other children.

It is normal for preschoolers to test their limits in terms of physical abilities, behaviors, expressions of emotion, and thinking abilities. Having a safe, structured environment in which to explore and face new challenges is important. However, preschoolers need well-defined limits.

The child should display initiative, curiosity, the desire to explore, and enjoyment without feeling guilty or inhibited.

Early morality develops as children develop the desire to please parents and others of importance. This is commonly known as the "good boy" or "good girl" stage.

Elaborate story-telling may progress into lying, a behavior that -- if not addressed during the preschool years -- may continue into the adult years. Mouthing-off or backtalk in the preschooler is usually a means of getting attention and attempting to get a reaction from an adult.


Safety is extremely important for preschoolers.


References    Return to top

Feigelman S. The preschool years. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 18th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007: chap 10.

Update Date: 11/3/2008

Updated by: Jennifer K. Mannheim, CPNP, private practice, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

A.D.A.M. Logo

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. Copyright 1997-2009, A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.