Emotional Development: 3 year old

By now, your child's separation anxiety has probably abated. Still, that doesn't mean he won't dissolve into tears when he first sets off for preschool. It is normal for children, as well as adults, to react with trepidation when adjusting to a new environment.

Your child's vivid fantasy life will take him to many new and exotic destinations. It will also help him come to terms with a wide range of feelings, from love and dependency to anger, frustration, rebellion and fear.

He may invent invisible playmates. This companion may be a special someone or a menagerie of fantasy friends that change from day to day. Make-believe friendships can also be forged with a favorite stuffed animal or doll. Imaginary friends help a child try out different activities, behaviors, emotions and dialogues.

Your preschooler will move continuously between real life and fantasy play. Some days he may insist that you address him as His Majesty. On other days he may prefer that you call him by his given name.

An inability to distinguish between fantasy and reality gives rise to a new set of fears. Monitor your child's media consumption closely. Even a G-rated movie can sometimes be frightening to a 3-year-old.

More skills and milestones:

Development Tracker main page


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