Why Kids are "Egocentric"

Miller, Susan A.
September 2002
Scholastic Parent & Child;Sep2002, Vol. 10 Issue 1, p54
This section presents advice to parents on how to deal with the egocentrism of their preschool children. Three-year-olds are in an egocentric stage of development, which means that their thought processes are centered on themselves and what is important to them. This makes it difficult for them to understand the larger picture and impedes their willingness to share. At 4, egocentrism emerges through boasting: "I am the fastest runner ever!" or "I tell the best jokes." But as children's language skills improve, they can begin to negotiate and ask questions, which allows them to develop the social skills necessary to consider and respect another's perspective. Many 4-year-olds are old enough to enjoy having a best friend; as a result, play becomes more cooperative. Rather than argue about ownership, they talk more, and ask permission before doing or saying something. Expose your child to other family members' ideas by asking questions: "What would everyone like for dinner? What book should we read? Where shall we go for a walk?" Write down the responses and talk about the various points of view. Provide a range of opportunities for interaction with others through playgroups, time at the playground, and story hours, so that your child can hear how others think. During play, offer your child myriad problem-solving opportunities by suggesting that she role play as her younger sister, her grandmother, the cashier in the store, and the school crossing guard.


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