Ages 3-5


Ages 3-5

Distinctives treating this age

Preschoolers are establishing their identity as different from mommy or daddy. As they set about discovering what they can do for themselves, they learn and use the power of “No!” with others. They are sensitively aware of no longer being babies and expanding what they can do for themselves. Consequently, this is an age of power struggles where children lack the verbal and cognitive abilities to process or explain their intense emotions. Fear and anger can become problematic for some children, leading to extreme meltdowns or defiant temper tantrums which may be difficult for parents to understand or manage.

Reasons for seeking treatment

  • Difficulty separating from parents
  • Inability to speak when meeting others
  • Exposed to family conflicts or violence
  • Death of a loved one or terminal illness
  • Extreme temper tantrums or meltdowns
  • Discipline methods not working
  • Sibling rivalry
  • Hitting, biting, and aggressive behaviors
  • Sexualized behaviors or suspicions of any abuse
  • Regressing back to behaviors previously outgrown
  • Defiant or problematic behaviors
  • Potty training battles

Demands on parenting Preschoolers

Parents may be surprised at the intensity embodied in their preschool aged children. At this age children feel their emotions deeply and often physically act them out. Preschoolers are often unpredictably moving between being loud and demanding to shy and withdrawn. Running errands, going on playdates, and being on time get disrupted by toileting surprises and temper tantrums. Mealtimes, baths, bedtimes, and clothing choices can become battlegrounds. A preschoolers’ increased demands for the full attention of those around them can interfere with a parent’s need to talk to others and do other things.

How we work with Preschool-aged children and their parents

Working with preschoolers requires working closely with parents. We offer both parent-child and individual child therapy in addition to parenting support for preschoolers and their parents. Rather than expecting children to sit and talk, we actively engage in Play Therapy as we step into the child’s world to work with them on their level. Mindful of their developmental capacities, we also work with parents and children together on areas of structure, challenge, engagement, and nurture to improve relationships through Theraplay® informed activities. Additionally, parenting sessions provide parents with emotional support, new insights, and practical tools to make life easier.

Therapists for this Age Group

Tyler Martawibawa, MA, ALMFT

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