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Preschoolers: Discover Growth, Potty Training and Social Skills

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A preschooler is a young child of about 4 to 6 years of age. The term toddler is difficult to define. In general, it can be said that the infancy period starts after toddlerhood, when the child enters kindergarten, and ends around the age of six, when the child becomes more aware, thinks more realistically and abstractly and moves on to the third group (Netherlands). ) or the first year (Flanders) of primary school.

What developments do preschoolers go through?

Preschoolers are very naughty and being naughty is one of the most important developments they go through. They learn to be more and more independent and try to push their limits. 

It is an exciting period for parents because their children are doing more and more themselves and are asking more and more questions. How do you respond to their questions? How do you deal with their naughtiness? How do you stimulate their development?

In this article I will tell you all about the developments that preschoolers go through and how you can best support them.

What developments do toddlers go through

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Grow toddler

As a child you develop further and further, especially in the toddler period. At school, the toddler learns new things and gets acquainted with all kinds of new feelings and situations. During this period, the toddler grows both physically and cognitive. Below you can read more about what happens during the growth of a toddler.

Physical growth

A toddler's growth is slow but steady. On average, a toddler grows about 6 centimeters per year and weighs about 4 kilograms more than the year before. In addition, the toddler is becoming more and more potty trained, first during the day and then also at night. It is normal for this process to take a little longer and for the occasional mishap to occur. It is important to encourage and reward the preschooler when he or she does well.

In addition, the toddler's motor skills continue to develop. He or she is learning to move better and can do more and more things independently, such as washing and dressing. Sports and exercise are also important for the physical development of the toddler. It is good to give the toddler sufficient exercise and to encourage it to move.

Major causes and events

A toddler's growth depends on several factors. For example, the environment plays an important role, as does the presence of older brothers or sisters. Illness or stressful events can also influence the growth of a toddler. It is important to take this into account and to support the toddler in this.

In addition, there are a number of important events that take place during the growth of a preschooler. For example, the toddler learns to write and he or she has a greater need for independence. It is also possible that the toddler has to deal with loss, for example of a pet or a grandpa or grandma. It is important to support the preschooler in this and to help them deal with these events.

Potty-trained toddler

Potty training is an important aspect of a toddler's development. It is a big step towards independence and independence. The potty training process usually begins around age two and can last up to about four years. It is a process that requires a lot of patience and understanding from parents and carers.

The first steps to sanity

The potty training process usually begins with bladder and bowel training. This means that parents should encourage their children to use the potty at regular times, such as after dinner or after waking up. It's important to remember that every child is different and some children will become potty trained faster than others.

Get potty trained during the day

Potty training during the day is often the first step. It is important to remember that the child will need help from the parents or guardians with this. It is important to praise and reward the child when he goes to the potty and stays dry. It is also important to remain patient and not put too much pressure on the child. This can lead to stress and can slow down the process.

Relapse and problems

It may happen that a child wets his pants again after a while. This is called a relapse. It is important to remain patient and continue to encourage the child to go to the potty. It can also help to let the child know that it's okay if an accident happens and that they can always ask for help.

Some children have more difficulty potty training than others. This can be related to physical or emotional problems. It is important to take these issues seriously and seek help if needed.

Author's advice

Debby Mendelsohn, author of the book “Cleanliness is Child's Play,” offers the following tips for parents and carers:

  • Start training the bladder and bowels on time.
  • Give the child enough time to adjust to the new situation.
  • Place the potty next to the child's bed so that it can easily go to the toilet at night.
  • Make the potty a habit and let the child know that they can always go to the potty if they need to.
  • Be patient and understanding if there is a setback or problem.
  • Give the child lots of praise and rewards when things go well.

Social skills in preschoolers

As a child, a toddler continues to develop, both physically and socially. A big step in a preschooler's development is learning to interact with other people and developing social skills. In this article you can read why social skills are so important for preschoolers and how you as a parent can help with this development.

How do preschoolers develop their social skills?

Preschoolers learn mainly through play and experimentation. Some preschoolers already show social behavior naturally, while other preschoolers are less good at this. It's important as a parent to be patient and give your preschooler a chance to learn. Here are some ways preschoolers develop their social skills:

  • Playing together: Preschoolers learn best by playing together with other children. They learn to take each other into account and to share.
  • Attachment: A good attachment between parent and child is important for the development of social skills. If a toddler feels safe with his parents, he will also make contact with other people more quickly.
  • New people: By meeting new people, a preschooler learns to deal with different characters and behaviors.
  • Loss: If a preschooler loses something, such as a toy that another child takes, this can be a good opportunity to learn how to deal with feelings of loss and disappointment.
  • Relapse: It is normal for preschoolers to have occasional setbacks in their social development. This can happen, for example, when a new brother or sister is born, or when there is stress at school or at home.
  • Potty training: Potty training a preschooler during the day can be a big step in developing social skills. The toddler gains self-confidence and is better able to participate with other children.
  • Lack of social skills: Some preschoolers have more difficulty developing social skills than other preschoolers. This may be due to a lack of coordination between hand and eye, for example, or because they are less likely to pick up new things.
  • Waking up: If a preschooler wakes up during the night, this can be a good opportunity to practice social skills. For example, the toddler can learn to go to the toilet neatly and to wash his hands.

As a parent, how can you help develop social skills?

As a parent, you can help your preschooler develop social skills. Below you can read a number of tips:

  • Set a good example: As a parent, you are a role model for your toddler. Show how you treat other people in a good way.
  • Play together: Play together with your preschooler and show him how to interact with other children. Give him the opportunity to learn and experiment.
  • Praise: Praise your preschooler when he interacts well with other children. This gives him more self-confidence and he will be more inclined to show social behavior.
  • Talk about feelings: Talk to your preschooler about feelings and teach him how to deal with emotions such as anger and sadness.
  • Avoid too much stress: Too much stress can have a negative impact on the development of social skills. Therefore, provide a quiet and safe environment in which your toddler feels good.

Language development in infancy

A child's language development begins at birth and continues through adolescence. In infancy, the child takes an important step in his language development. It not only learns new words and phrases, but also starts telling stories and expressing feelings. Below you will find more information about the language development of preschoolers.

The basics of language use

In the first period of infancy, the child begins to talk. It learns to use simple words and shapes to express itself. The language used depends on the age of the child. For example, a four-year-old toddler will use simple sentences, while a five-year-old toddler can already make more complex sentences. It is important that parents encourage their child to talk and ask questions. This allows the child to learn new words and to express his opinions and ideas.

The development of language

Toddlers mainly learn through play and discovery. It is therefore important that parents and teachers use this to stimulate language development. By means of games and toys can teach the child new words and improve his language use. Reading books and telling stories can also help. It is important that the child enjoys learning new words and phrases.

The role of parents and teachers

Parents and teachers play an important role in the child's language development. They can help the child to learn new words and improve his language use. It is important that they give the child time to talk and respond. It is also important that they reassure the child if it is afraid or anxious. This makes the child feel safe and can express themselves better.

Problems in language development

Some children have difficulties with language development. This can have various causes, such as a language delay or a language development disorder. It is important that parents and teachers work together and give the child the right care and support. As a result, the child can develop better and the difference in language development can be reduced.

The advantage of younger preschoolers

Some preschoolers have an advantage in their language development. They learn new words and sentences faster and can express themselves better. This can be disastrous for the development of other children. It is therefore important that parents and teachers pay attention to this and ensure that all children have the opportunity to develop. It is important that parents and teachers give the child time to talk and respond and that they encourage the child to learn new words.

Draw the first cephalopods

As a child, the development of motor skills starts at an early age. As the age progresses, children's drawings keep getting better and bigger. An important subject in the drawing development of toddlers is drawing the first head-footers.

The first stage: round shapes

The first step in the creation of the cephalopod is drawing round shapes. The toddler starts by drawing a circle for the head and put the eyes and mouth in it. The legs are drawn at the bottom of the leaf, and the body is drawn in between.

The next phase: step-by-step improvement

As the toddler gets older, the drawing will get better and better. The preschooler starts by drawing a square shape for the body and the head is placed on top of the shape. The legs are drawn at the bottom of the leaf, and the body is drawn in between. The eyes are set at eye level and the mouth is replaced by a dash.

The final stage: reflection of reality

When the toddler is six years old, the drawing of the head-footed animal will be a reflection of reality. The toddler now draws an adult with a head, torso and legs. The drawing becomes more and more detailed and more attention is paid to the fine motor skills.

Drawing promotes the development of the toddler

Drawing head-footed animals promotes the development of the toddler in various areas. It improves fine motor skills and eye-hand coordination. The toddler also learns to interpret what he or she wants to say in a story and to put this on paper.


Playing is not only fun, but also very important for the development of toddlers. Through play, motor skills and creativity of toddlers stimulated and strengthened. Games and activities in which the toddler moves a lot, such as running, jumping and climbing, are very effective.

Play supports the cognitive development of preschoolers

Playing is not only good for the motor skills and creativity of preschoolers, but also for their cognitive development. While playing, the child learns new things and develops his thinking ability. Games in which the toddler has to think, such as puzzles and memory, are very effective.

Play offers preschoolers the opportunity to get rid of fears

Play is not only good for the development of preschoolers, but also for their emotional development. While playing, preschoolers can lose their fears and learn to deal with emotions. Fantasizing and role-playing help preschoolers express and process their feelings.

Play is good for the development of social skills in preschoolers

Play is not only good for the development of toddlers on an individual level, but also for their social development. By playing together, preschoolers learn to take others into account, to work together and to communicate. These are important skills that preschoolers need to function well in society.

Play is an important part of preschool education

Play is not only important for the development of toddlers, but also for education. Play offers preschoolers the opportunity to learn and develop in a playful way. It is therefore not for nothing that play is an important part of education for pre-school children in the Netherlands.

Play must be supervised by parents and teachers

Although playing is great fun and important for the development of toddlers, it is important that the game is supervised by parents and teachers. They can ensure that the game is educational and conducive to the development of the child.

Intellectual development

The intellectual development of a child is an important aspect of the toddler period. This involves learning to understand the world around them and developing cognitive skills. Some important aspects of intellectual development in preschool children are discussed below.

Language development and understanding

The language development of preschoolers is rapid. They learn more and more words and can use them in simple sentences. In addition, they also learn to ask questions and express their opinion. Understanding language is at least as important as speaking it. Preschoolers learn to understand the meaning of words and use them in different situations.

Factors affecting intellectual development

There are several factors that influence the intellectual development of preschoolers. This could include the role of the parents and the environment in which the child grows up. The needs of the child also play an important role. It is important to look at the individual situation of the child and to respond accordingly.

The role of play and toys

Play and toys (here the best educational toys for preschoolers) are of great importance for the intellectual development of preschool children. Through play they learn new things and develop their cognitive skills. It is important that the toy is wide enough and contains different aspects. This way, toddlers can learn and have fun in a playful way.

Anxiety and reactions to new situations

Preschoolers can react anxiously to new situations. This is normal and part of development. It is important to look at the individual needs of the child and respond to them. It is good to let the child get used to new situations and to support them in this.

Emotional development: self-awareness and self-regulation

A child's emotional development is an essential aspect of a child's development. This involves the ability to express and understand feelings, and to learn how to regulate these feelings. In this article we take a closer look at the emotional development of preschoolers and which factors play a role in this.


Self-awareness is the ability to see yourself as an individual with unique traits and abilities. It occurs in preschool children around the age of two years. They begin to recognize themselves in the mirror and can say their own name. As they grow older, they develop a better understanding of themselves and their place in the world.


Self-regulation is the ability to control and regulate emotions. It occurs in preschool children around the age of three. They learn to deal with different situations and emotions, such as anger, sadness and frustration. They also learn to express their emotions in a way that is socially acceptable.

How can you improve emotional development?

There are several ways you can improve a child's emotional development. Listed below are some suggestions:

  • Give the child a lot of attention and appreciate it for who it is.
  • Encourage the child to express and share feelings.
  • Create a safe and positive environment where the child can be themselves.
  • Work on the quality of relationships between the child and those around him.
  • Offers the child many opportunities to play and discover.
  • Provide a clear structure and rules so that the child knows what is expected of him.
  • Help the child deal with stress and difficult situations.

Cognitive development: memory attention and problem solving

As a child, you develop in several areas, including cognitively. This process means that you are increasingly able to process and understand information. According to Piaget's theory, a child develops in different stages, with one stage building on the other. In this article, we take a closer look at the cognitive development of preschoolers, especially in the areas of memory, attention and problem solving.


A child's memory develops strongly in infancy. A younger preschooler cannot remember very well what happened, while an older preschooler is much better able to remember events. This has to do with the development of the brain and the experiences that the child has. A child's memory depends on several factors, such as age, experience and the situation the child is in.


Attention is an important skill that a child needs to develop. A preschooler cannot concentrate on one thing for very long, but as the child gets older, the attention span gets longer. The ability to focus and sustain attention is important for learning and problem solving. As a parent or caregiver, it is important to take the child's attention span into account and adjust the situation accordingly.

Problem solving ability

Preschoolers begin solving simple problems in infancy. As the child grows older, the problems become bigger and more complex. The ability to solve problems depends on several factors, such as the child's experience, the situation, and the child's mental and physical aspects. It is important as a parent or caregiver to encourage the child to solve problems and to help with this.

Important factors

The cognitive development of a child depends on various factors, such as the experiences the child has, the social situation the child is in and the child's genetic predisposition. It is important as a parent or caregiver to take these factors into account and to support the child in this.

Creative development: imagination and expression

Creativity is an essential part of a child's development. The ability to fantasize, come up with new ideas and express them in different ways is in the nature of a young child. In addition, it is also important to know that creative development does not only relate to artistic activities such as drawing and painting, but also to other activities such as making music, playing and moving.

How does creativity develop?

Creativity develops in different ways and in different areas. A child's cognitive ability plays a major role in this. As a child gets older, they learn new things and develop new skills. This is mainly done by playing and trying. It is important that a child is given the space to experiment and discover.

Creative activities for children

There are many different activities that can stimulate a child's creativity. With this you can think of:

  • Fantasize and make up stories
  • Children's yoga and meditations
  • Making music and singing
  • Drawing and painting
  • Play and move

In children's yoga and meditations, children are guided by images and drawings. This way they can manage their fantasy and use imagination. Variations on yoga postures are also done and massages are given. All this contributes to the development of a child's creativity.

The role of the left and right hemispheres

Creativity is mainly located in the right hemisphere of the brain. This is the half responsible for imagination and expression. The left hemisphere is more focused on logic and spelling. It is important that there is a balance between both hemispheres. By doing creative activities, the right hemisphere can be stimulated and the left hemisphere can be inhibited. This allows the child to develop more self-confidence and self-esteem.

Self-reliance: self-care and independence

As preschoolers grow, they learn more and more skills that help them become more independent. This period is important for their development as they learn to take care of themselves and be independent. Here are some key steps preschoolers take to become more independent.


Preschoolers learn to take care of themselves by performing simple tasks such as dressing themselves, making their own food, and tidying up their own toys. It is important to give them the space to learn these tasks at their own pace and encourage them to do it themselves. Here are some examples of tasks preschoolers can learn:

  • Dressing Themselves: Preschoolers can learn to put on their own clothes, such as their shoes, jacket, and pants. It's important to help them if they get stuck, but also give them the space to try for themselves.
  • Washing themselves: Preschoolers can learn to wash themselves while bathing or showering. It's important to tell them how much to use and show them how to do it.
  • Make their own food: Preschoolers can learn to make simple meals, such as a meat sandwich. It's important to show them how much to use and show them how to do it.
  • Clean Up Their Own Toys: Preschoolers can learn to clean up their own toys after play. It is important to show them where everything belongs and encourage them to do it themselves.


Preschoolers also learn to be more independent by doing things on their own and making their own decisions. It is important to give them the space to do this, but also to guide and help them where necessary. Here are some examples of activities preschoolers can do to become more independent:

  • Play Alone: ​​Preschoolers can learn to play alone and find their own fun. It is important to encourage them to come up with their own game and give them the space to do it themselves.
  • Independent walking: Preschoolers can learn to walk independently and go farther from home. It is important to teach them how to walk safely and tell them where they can and cannot go.
  • Expressing their own needs: Preschoolers can learn to express their own needs and feelings and ask for what they need. It is important to teach them how to do this in a clear and explicit way.
  • Independent sports: Preschoolers can learn to play sports independently and develop their own skills. It is important to encourage them to have fun and set their own pace.
  • Independent Reading: Preschoolers can learn to read independently and choose their own books. It is important to encourage them to read for pleasure and form their own opinions.

Stimulate independence

To help preschoolers become more independent, it is important to encourage and support them. Here are some tips to encourage independence:

  • Give preschoolers space to do things on their own and encourage them to try for themselves.
  • Be patient and give them the time they need to learn new skills.
  • Give preschoolers simple tasks appropriate to their age and slowly build up to more complex tasks.
  • Give preschoolers the freedom to make their own choices and follow their own interests.
  • Stay involved and help toddlers where necessary, but also give them the space to do it themselves.
  • Provide a safe environment in which preschoolers can learn and grow.
  • Give preschoolers the opportunity to play and have fun, as this is important for their development.

In short, independence is an important part of preschooler development. Giving them the space to fend for themselves and be independent can help them learn important skills that will help them grow and thrive.

Factors that influence the development of the preschooler

The home environment is an important factor that can influence a preschooler's development. If a child grows up in a safe and stable environment, it will be able to develop better. It is important that parents give the right care and attention to their children and give them the space to learn and grow. It is also important that parents show their children that they are confident in their abilities and encourage them to be independent.

Social environment

A child's social environment also influences development. Children who grow up in an environment that pays a lot of attention to social skills will develop better in this area. It is important that children learn to interact with other children and adults and learn how to behave in different situations. It is also important that children learn to express and understand their feelings.

Tablets and screens

Tablets and screens can have a negative effect on the development of preschoolers. It is important that children spend enough time outside and that they have the opportunity to play and exercise. It is also important for parents to limit the time their children spend on tablets and screens and to ensure that the content their children watch is age-appropriate.

Response of adults

Adults' response to a child's behavior also affects development. If a child receives positive reactions to his behavior, he will feel stimulated to develop further. It is important that adults deal positively with children's behavior and encourage them to try new things.

In need of love and attention

Toddlers have a great need for love and attention. It is important that parents and caregivers spend enough time giving love and attention to their children. This can be done, for example, by playing together, talking or cuddling. It is important that children feel that they are loved and that someone is always there for them.


Toddlers develop quickly and grow more and more independent. It is important to encourage their development and reward them when they do good. It is also important to stimulate their motor skills and let them experience movement.

If you keep a close eye on your toddler's development, you will see that they are becoming more and more independent and discovering more and more.

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Play Choice now has the ultimate activity book collection, with over 60 pages of fun coloring pages and educational puzzles.

Joost Nusselder, the founder of is a content marketer, father and loves trying out new toys. As a child he came into contact with everything related to games when his mother started the Tinnen Soldaat in Ede. Now he and his team create helpful blog articles to help loyal readers with fun play ideas.