The preschool years are a period of profound change during which you will witness your dependent, tottering youngster transform into a decidedly more coordinated and capable child. This period of development, which includes the years spanning from age 3 to age 5, is rife with physical changes. The skills your child acquires during this period of development will prepare her for effective participation in school and enable her to more gracefully and effectively interact with the world around her.
As any parent of a preschooler knows, their little tykes appear to sprout up magically during this period, outgrowing clothing seemingly overnight and picking up an inch of height every couple of months or so. During your child’s preschool years, expect her to transform from a gawky toddler into a mini-adult. She will likely grow approximately 2 to 3 inches each year. Her proportions will also start to look more like those of adults, with her legs lengthening and her stomach flattening as she loses the baby chub.
Though the internal changes your preschool child experiences during this period of growth may not be outwardly apparent, there are a number of important developmental processes occurring within your tot’s body at this time. As your child moves through her preschool years, her heart rate will slow from its rapid infant rate to a more steady and slow rate standard to children and adults. Along with this heart rate change, breathing deepens and slows as well. This is also an important time period for bladder development, with the youngster’s bladder growing in size, making it easier for her to control her urination, a skill requisite for effective potty training.
Gross Motor Skills
All of the active play in which preschoolers engage is vital in helping them develop gross motor skills. During the years that fill the preschool age band, your child will become gradually more coordinated and capable of performing gross motor tasks with greater ease. Your preschooler, already adept at walking, will work to develop the ability to run. She will likely enter the preschool age band already capable of running in a rudimentary fashion; however, during this age band her gait will become smoother and she will develop the ability to make sharp turns or change directions while running without falling. She will also develop her jumping skills during this period, moving from being able to perform basic jumps up and down as she enters the period of development to being able to jump rope, a skill that requires decidedly more coordination, as she exits this developmental phase.
Fine Motor Skills
Much to the delight of many parents, the fine motor skills that preschoolers develop during this period allow them to complete more tasks independently. Your child will likely enter this period of development able to remove her clothes and help you as you put her clothes on. By the end of this period of development she will be able to dress herself independently including, in many cases, operating zippers or even tying shoes. Children also develop their writing abilities during this period, entering it capable of creating some lines and circles and exiting capable of drawing some crude geometric shapes, including triangles, and writing some basic letters.