Birth to 5: Growth, Development, and Adoption

4 to 5 Years

Cheerful, energetic, and enthusiastic mark this stage of forming friendships and making plans. Typical 4-year-olds are learning how to wait their turn and share. Little scientists, this age group likes to take things apart. Cognitively they expand from being able to use their own individual symbols toward using more standard symbols, like letters and numbers. Less egocentric than a year before, preschoolers are moving out into the world and feel a need to be accepted there.

Four-year-olds are easily distracted and often change their mind. Hugely inquisitive, they ask each other questions. They also want facts about where babies come from, which takes on a special dimension for adopted children. This is the time when you'll have to answer, "Was I in your uterus (or belly), Mommy?" And if yours is an interracial family, be ready now for "How come I look different?" Every parent individually needs to figure out how to reply. Knowing your own child will guide you toward the best answers for these questions. Depending on your child's readiness, your response may be quite simple or a bit more complex.

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