At around 3-4 years of age, your child rapidly transitions from babyhood to childhood. She's no longer a babbling, giggling toddler who turns to you for constant guidance. Seemingly overnight, she has become an independent-thinking child with her own ideas, emotions, preferences and beliefs.
As your toddler reaches preschool-age, you may begin losing the bond that you shared when she was a helpless baby. But it is quite possible to maintain a strong bond with your little one while also fostering his transition from toddlerhood to childhood. Here are a few tips for bonding with your preschool-age child.
1. Take a trip. Take your preschool-age child on bonding "field trips" to enjoyable destinations, such as the playground, book store, toy store, zoo, restaurant, park or nature preserve. A long day sitting at home won't facilitate bonding between you and your little one, but a family outing can encourage conversation, laughter and fond memories. At three to four years old, your child is beginning to develop long-term memories. Would you prefer that she remember a day at home in front of the TV, or a day or ice cream and walks in the park?
2. Make something. Involve your child in craft projects, scrapbooking, photo organization and other creative projects. Make a mold of your child's fast-growing hand. Make a collage of your favorite things. Paint a birdhouse and hang it somewhere near your house. Write a story ask your preschool-age child to contribute to it. These simple creative activities can help you bond with your child while creating a masterpiece that you will treasure for years to come.
3. Get growing. Your preschool-age child can't even begin to comprehend the amount of time, effort and emotion that you put into parenting. But, by sharing in "parenting" responsibilities for something else, you facilitate your child's understanding of what it means to be a parent. If you have pets, allow your child to help you feed them and clean up after them. If you don't have pets, a garden (or even a houseplant) is a great alternative. Your child will enjoy nurturing another living thing, and it will help her to understand and appreciate the role that you play in her life.
4. Make time for one-on-one. If your family, friends, coworkers, and other children are always around, you may be missing out on important bonding time with your preschool-age child. At least once a week, try to schedule an hour of uninterrupted play and conversation with your preschooler. Use this time to talk about all the highs and lows of your child's life. How is she feeling? What is she thinking about? Has she been having good dreams or bad dreams at night? Keep an open line of conversation so your preschool-age child knows she can talk to you.
5. Be your child's teacher. Even if your child is in preschool, home education is still important for fostering both good education and a strong parental bond. Teach you child about subjects that she finds interesting and enjoyable. If she's crazy about cars, read her books about them. If she's pony-crazy, buy her some puzzles with horses of different breeds. Your preschool-age child will remember you not only as a parent, but also as a source of knowledge-- which is important for maintaining a strong bond for the rest of her life.