Positive Parenting Tips for Preschoolers (3-5 Years)

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Developmental milestones are things most children can do by a certain age. Children reach milestones in how they play, learn, speak, behave, and move (like crawling, walking, or jumping).


Understanding the milestones for each age is important because positive parenting strategies vary based on the child’s needs at certain stages.


What happens to kids in childhood shapes who they become as adults. Children who are nurtured and supported throughout childhood are more likely to thrive and develop into happy, healthy, and productive adults.



Skills such as naming colors, showing affection, and hopping on one foot are called developmental milestones.

As children grow into early childhood, their world will begin to open up. They will become more independent and begin to focus more on adults and children outside of the family.

They will want to explore and ask questions about the environment around them.  Their interactions with family and caretakers will help shape their personality and world views.

During this stage, children should be able to ride a tricycle, use safety scissors, notice a difference between girls and boys, help to dress and undress themselves, play with other children, recall part of a story, and sing a song.


You don’t have to be a perfect parent to make a positive impact on your child. Positive parenting can be as simple as reading to them or allowing them to make simple decisions on their own. Find some ideas for implementing positive parenting with your preschooler below.


  • Continue to read to your child. Nurture their love for books by taking them to the library or bookstore.
  • Let your child help with simple chores.
  • Encourage your child to play with other children. This helps them learn the value of sharing and friendship.
  • Be clear and consistent when disciplining your child. Explain and show the behavior that you expect. Whenever you tell your child no, follow up with what they should be doing instead.
  • Help your child develop good language skills by speaking to them in complete sentences and using “grown up” words. Help them use the correct words and phrases.
  • Help your child through problem-solving steps when they are upset.
  • Give your child a limited number of simple choices (for example, deciding what to wear, when to play, and what to eat for snack).





  • Tell your child why it is important to stay out of traffic. Tell them not to play in the street or run after stray balls.
  • Be cautious when letting your child ride a tricycle. Keep them on the sidewalk and away from the street and always make sure they wear a helmet.
  • Check outdoor playground equipment. Make sure there are no loose parts or sharp edges.
  • Watch or supervise your child at all times, especially while they are playing outside.
  • Be safe in the water. Even if you teach your child to swim, you should still actively supervise them at all times when in or around any body of water (this includes kiddie pools).
  • Teach your child how to be safe around strangers.
  • Keep your child in a forward-facing car seat with a harness until he/she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by the car seat’s manufacturer. Once your child outgrows the forward-facing car seat with a harness, switch them to a booster seat, but keep them in the back seat of the vehicle. The NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION has information on how to keep your child safe while riding in a vehicle.



  • Eat meals with your child whenever possible. Let your child see you enjoying fruits, vegetables, and whole grains at meals and snacks. Your child should eat and drink only a limited amount of food and beverages that contain added sugars, solid fats, or salt.
  • Limit screen time for your child to no more than 1 to 2 hours per day of quality programming, at home, school, or child care.
  • Provide your child with age-appropriate play equipment, like balls and plastic bats, but let your preschooler choose what to play. This makes moving and being active fun for your preschooler.
References & Sources


  1. Information Courtesy of CDC.
  2. Positive Parenting Tip Sheet for Preschoolers 3-5 Years CDC.

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Positive Parenting Tips for Preschoolers (3-5 Years)