4-year-old girl in a black and white floral dress holds a bouquet of white flowers and playfully covers one eye. At 4 years of age, children should be strengthening some essential life skills such as communication, self-advocacy, and self-care.

6 Life Skills You Should be Teaching Your Child This Year

We want to give our children the best possible start in life and one way to do this is by teaching them important life skills from a young age. At 4-years-old, your little one is making rapid developments in their language, socialization, and cognitive ability. It's the perfect time to start buckling down on life skills that will ensure confidence, independence, and success!

  1. Communication Skills - Encouraging your child to express themselves verbally, to use manners, and to listen actively is an important step in their development. Spend time with them, asking them open-ended questions that require thoughtful answers. Help them build their vocabulary by reading together, telling stories, and discussing them.
  2. Social Skills - At age four, children begin to interact more with others outside of their immediate family. It is important that they learn social skills such as sharing, taking turns, and playing cooperatively. Encourage your child to play with others, organize playdates, and give them the opportunity to interact with other children.
  3. Self-Care Skills - As your child grows, they will need to learn how to take care of themselves. Teach your child self-care skills such as getting dressed, using the restroom independently, washing their hands, and brushing their teeth. Encourage them to take responsibility for their own belongings and to help with simple household chores.
  4. Emotional Regulation - Children experience a wide range of emotions, and these feelings only become more complex as they age. Help your child learn how to identify and manage their emotions in a healthy way. Talk to them about their feelings, provide opportunities for them to express themselves through play or art, and teach them techniques to calm down when they are upset.
  5. Self-Advocacy Skills - Teach your little one to speak up for themselves. Whether this means simply knowing how to ask for help or having the courage to tell a trusted adult when something isn't right, children at this age should practice identifying their needs and speaking to adults about them. You can start practicing by having your child order their food at a restaurant or asking where the bathroom is when you guys are out and about.
  6. Basic Literacy Skills - Literacy skills are also essential for success in life. Although your child will likely start learning to read next year when they start school, the actions that you take at home, now, will ensure that they are ready to receive the information when the time is right. Play word/sound games that will sharpen their phonemic awareness, sing plenty of rhymes that will help them recognize sound patterns, and have them spend time with books so that they build print awareness!

Teaching your 4-year-old these essential life skills can help them build a foundation for success in life. Communication, social, self-help, emotional regulation, and literacy skills are all important skills that your child will use throughout their lives. By teaching them at a young age, you can set them up for success in school, work, and life. Remember to be patient, encouraging, and make learning fun!

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