Blog Series: Building a Child’s Emotional Savings Account (Part 4)

Early childhood-This is the period also known as the “terrible twos”. It is important to note here that at this stage, parents are even more important in the development and well being of the child and therefore they need to be even more tolerant. This stage is a time when the child may be dealing with a range of confusing feelings such as feeling little, helpless and dependent and therefore the child needs someone who understands that for every three steps forward there are likely two steps back. This is a time when young children play, experiment, explore and imitate.

They struggle between their intellectual understanding and their feelings and become preoccupied by their bodies and the differences between them. This is too when children begin to develop a sense of gender identity and this is why the role of father is important at this stage. Early childhood is also the time when cultural identity is being formatted. As a parent, it is essential to understand that singing and listening to music is good for your child’s development and recognize that daily supervised outdoor play, including running, climbing, swinging and sliding helps children develop strong bodies and minds. Also, realize that when you and your child play “pretend” together, she is learning to use her imagination and understand her world. Ideas at this stage in life is for you to play rhyming games, recite nursery rhymes and do fingerplays to help your child notice the sounds of words. You can also help your child notice words and other print in the world around you. Now too is a good time to begin sharing a favorite book with a caring adult can provide comfort to a child, as well as a love of books and reading. It is ok to limit TV watching and when you allow your child to watch, sit with him and talk about what you see, remembering that young children should not watch the news or adult programs. A good idea too is to get a free library card so that you can visit the library often and check out a variety of age-appropriate books to share with your developing child.

Next week, we will explore the developmental stage that seems to bring lots of anxieties in parents…. Starting school and beyond! Stay tuned!


Dr. Philippe Rey is Executive Director of Adolescent Counseling Services (ACS).  Prior to becoming Executive Director in 2004, Philippe first joined the ACS staff in 1998 as Caravan House Program Director.  Born and raised in the French-speaking part of Switzerland, Philippe came to the United States to attend college in 1984. His credentials include a bachelor’s degree in clinical psychology from UC San Diego and a master’s in counseling psychology from National University. In 1997 his doctorate in clinical psychology with a concentration in child and family therapy was conferred by Alliant International University in San Diego. Before pursuing graduate studies and a career in psychology, Philippe graduated from business school in Switzerland. Philippe can be reached at or 650.424.0852 ext. 101.

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