Your Preschooler: 4 years old

Four can be a challenging age for kids... and their parents. Your child is grappling with the challenges of a world that gets bigger every day.

Meet your 4-year-old

There’s more to explore and understand, but at the same time, there are new things to worry about, and a growing sense of what’s fair and what’s not.

As her world expands and her thinking becomes more complex, expect lots of those head-scratching questions: “How did the moon get into the sky?” and “Where do babies come from?” You won’t have all the answers, but if you seek them out together, you’ll teach her something invaluable. You may find that she’s also more argumentative or defiant at times, and more prone to question you. It may be a challenge, but try to see this as a positive sign that a growing mind is at work.

Shopping for sanity

Do your shopping trips turn into a constant refrain of “I want, I want, I want”? These insider tips, tricks and tactics will make shopping with kids a snap. Shopping together also provides a great opportunity to talk to your preschooler about how much things cost and how you choose which items to buy. Experts say that it’s never too early to start teaching your child about money.

Daycare dilemmas

Do you think your child might be outgrowing her daycare? Does the menu or nap schedule not jive with yours? Is there a lack of communication? Many parents find they have issues with their child’s daycare, even if there’s been a longstanding relationship. Before you look elsewhere, here are solutions to five common daycare dilemmas.

Your child’s nightlife

Those active imaginations don’t ever really stop when you’re four! That means kids who used to snuggle happily to sleep alone may now be nervous at bedtime. Some children actually worry about monsters or intruders; others just feel vaguely afraid once the lights go out.

Remember that your child’s fears are real, even if they aren’t realistic. You can stay with her until she’s asleep, if you don’t mind doing it; eventually she will grow out of her nervousness. Or look for ways to add reassurance: let her know that monsters aren’t real and your house is safe, but go ahead and check the closets and under the bed if it makes her feel better. See if she wants a flashlight or nightlight. Then perhaps you can putter around near her room, putting away laundry or having your own bath, so she can be comforted by knowing you’re close by. Learn how to deal with children’s fears and phobias.

Playtime! Masking fun

Kids love to put on a mask and pretend they’re someone else. Why not make your own?

1. Cut a paper plate in half. Cut out eye holes and a space for your child’s nose.
2. Make a hole on each side of the plate.
3. Thread yarn through the holes and tie it on each side, leaving space for your child to stick her head through.
4. Get creative! Have your child decorate the mask however she’d like.
5. Put on a skit or just play and pretend you’re your masks’ characters.

Discover more fun crafts and activities!

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