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Your 4-year-old now
"One, two, three," your child says as he counts his stuffed animals. And by now, he gets that the final number is the actual quantity of objects he has. What he probably doesn't understand is that even if you rearrange his animals, the number stays the same. Move them farther apart from each other and ask how many and he may say he has four animals instead of three, as they now occupy more space.
Preschoolers make judgments about quantity based on appearance. If one pile of blocks is higher, they'll think it has more blocks than a smaller pile. They can't logically grasp the idea that "The higher pile has the same number of blocks; the blocks are just bigger." That's because they focus on how things look rather than the concept of an amount, which is a more complex mental task.
The same goes for judging volume. Try this experiment. Serve your child a glass of juice in a thin, tall glass. Give his friend the same amount of juice in a short, squat glass. Ask the pair which glass holds more. Did they say the tall glass? (Probably so — and no doubt it led to bickering over who got more!)
Your life now
One area of the home that's often overlooked in safety proofing is the garage. That's because babies and toddlers — whose parents tend to be most vigilant about making sure their home is safe — seldom venture there. But fours may go into the garage for bikes and ride-on toys or to work on a building project. Make sure that gasoline, standing tubs of water, paints, pesticides, power tools, and other dangers are stored in locked cabinets or far out of reach, bearing in mind that nothing is really far out of reach for an inventive and agile 4-year-old.
And now that your child is becoming ever more social, it's important to check in with the parents of his playdates to make sure that any guns they have at their home are locked up at all times. You may choose not to let him play at houses where weapons are stored, even if they are in a safe. And, of course, if your family has guns, you'll want to be equally sure that they're always locked away.
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