- Emotionally, children of preschool age want to be independent and will seek out activities that allow them to be autonomous. They will insist on being involved in deciding things that affect them directly such as what they wear, what to eat, what books to read and what games to play, although they still find the presence of familiar adults to be a comfort while completing these tasks, in case they need assistance. They will also like to help with simple household chores.
- Socially after turning 3, preschoolers display even more signs of empathy to peers due to an ability to see some things from the perspective of their peers that they can relate to. They continue to developing friendships and interact more with other children, joining in group play, and sharing toys and other belongings more often, and try to resolve conflicts with other children with assistance from adults.
- During play, 3 and 4 year old children enjoy imaginative and pretend games that become more complex as they approach 5, taking the structure of specific scenarios with role playing as familiar people like mum and dad, and other characters in the community such as policemen and doctors, as a way of acknowledging their place in the world, and will imitate and mimic characteristics of animals in play as well. They are also capable of understanding rules in more formal games and following them, and will also start taking on roles such as leading and following in play situations.
- Preschoolers are just starting to compare themselves to others and want to try new experiences based on things they see other people do or hear about. For this reason children are more likely to try new foods if they see others eating and enjoying them.
- Children in this age group are not only old enough to learn the difference between appropriate intimate contact shown between family members and the type of physical contact that is appropriate to teachers, peers and strangers, they will also understand basic safety principles for traffic and road rules, water play and stranger danger.
Facts verified by Clare Rowe, Educational & Developmental Psychologist at Sydney South Child Psychology.