Your 5-year-old now
As fine motor skills develop, allowing better control over pencils or crayons, most 5-year-olds' drawings become more recognizable, if not always obvious. Details previously left out before, like fingers and hair, or doors on houses, begin to appear. But there may be two fingers or eight, and the door may take up the entire center of a building.
Resist the impulse to respond to a skewed drawing by correcting your child or offering to show him how things "really look." Drawings at this early stage aren't meant to be realistic. Your child is unconsciously working on his sense of shapes and proportion, color and detail, rather than trying to capture the exactness of something. Instead, praise his choice of colors. You could also ask open-endedly what he likes best about the picture or invite him to explain what's happening in it.
Display your child's creations. The refrigerator is great, but having something framed is a real ego boost to your pint-size Picasso. (Inexpensive ready-made frames work well.) You might even look into services that turn kids' art into mugs, mousepads, T-shirts, or other objects. They make great gifts for grandparents!
Your life now
It's not too early to teach basic table manners. Mealtimes are a lot more pleasant if your child learns the basics now, so you won't have to nag for the next ten years. (Well, you might need to nag a little bit.) Among the basics you should expect:
- Sitting up straight in the chair without slouching.
- Elbows off the table.
- Saying "please" if he'd like something passed.
- Saying "No, thank you" when he refuses a dish.
- Keeping his napkin in his lap.
- Not reaching over the person next to him (asking to have something passed).
- Not discussing bodily functions at the table.
It might seem like a long list, but with lots of role modeling and reminders, your child will eventually internalize these basic rules of civility.
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