You’d be amazed how children who are polite to others are regarded more positively. For example, saying “please” and “thank you”, waiting patiently for her turn at the swings, sharing her toys with her friends, sticking to the rules of the game and developing good table manners are all habits that make others feel comfortable in her presence.
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We are all, by nature, social animals; we enjoy the company of others. As children vary in their ability to interact in a friendly way with their peers, develop good social skills in your four-year-old by reminding her to smile and chat when she meets people, to invite her friends to play with her, and to resolve disagreements without fighting.
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Apart from helping her siblings, friends and family if they are struggling with something, your child can also be introduced to charity – perhaps by encouraging her to give away part of her pocket money or donate some of her old toys. Care and consideration are always much appreciated by the recipient.
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Life is so much more enjoyable when she can stand on her own two feet and do as much as possible by herself. The effects of independence are both psychological and practical. For example, she will feel good knowing that she can dress without your help in the morning, or that she can pour her own drink without needing to ask you.
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Most challenges require persistence for completion, and if your four-year-old can develop this habit, she will achieve lots in life. It’s about teaching her to continue working on a puzzle until she finds the solution, continuing with her dance lessons until she masters the steps, and resisting any temptation to give up when success seems elusive.
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If your kid shows sensitivity towards the needs and feelings of others, she’ll be more popular with and valued by them. This means thinking about her friends and family, looking at the world from their points of view, and acting in a way which shows she understands them by modifying her words and actions appropriately.
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It will be much easier for her to follow her daily schedule if she starts organising her life properly and preparing in advance for what lies ahead. For instance, suggest that she lays her clothes out neatly the night before, and that she packs her bag for preschool well before she has to leave the house in the morning.
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Establishing healthy lifestyle habits at this age will have long-term benefits throughout childhood and into adulthood. This involves her having plenty of exercise, getting involved in both indoor and outdoor activities, and eating a wide range of healthy foods. She’ll easily achieve this with your advice, guidance and support.
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The habit of showing respect not just to adults, but also to her siblings and peers, will have a huge impact. People like to feel that they are taken seriously and valued, and that their views are held in high regard. Respect means your child should listen to the views of another person – even if she does not share the same view or thinks they are wrong – and then give a sensible reply.
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Nobody likes a liar. She can’t be trusted, she isn’t popular and she won’t be included in games, parties and other social activities. That’s why your four-year-old should be encouraged to be honest at all times. Explain to her that telling the truth is always better than lying, whatever the consequences. That’s the only way others will regard her as trustworthy and reliable.
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