4 year old: Challenges

This year, you will have an important choice to make regarding education. Should your child begin kindergarten when the new school year begins, or wait until the following year? This topic can be particularly vexing for parents of children with summer or fall birthdays. Keep in mind, however, that age isn't the real issue. Children mature at different rates, and just because a child is technically "old enough" doesn't mean he's emotionally, socially or physically prepared. If you decide to hold off, consider transitional kindergarten -- a program specifically designed for children not quite ready to make the leap to grammar school.

Your 4-year-old's newfound confidence also has a downside. He may now become boastful and show off by misbehaving intentionally -- especially while in the presence of his peers. If you need to discipline your child when his cronies are around, pull him away from the group before speaking to him about his transgressions. If you reprimand him publicly, he may be tempted to continue his misbehavior out of embarrassment.

Children this age love to tell tall tales. They're not always lying, just indulging their imaginations. But sometimes kids lie to get out of trouble or simply to get their way. Parents should understand that children are not born with a moral sense of right and wrong, and that lying is a normal part of intellectual development.

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