3 to 5 years

Children at 3–5 years of age are busy, are interested in new things and enjoy being active.

Title: Your Child: Three to Five Years. Episode 12 of 15.

Title: Ria & Barry’s Whānau

[Shots of Ria and Barry’s home.]

Ria (voice-over): It's not easy, but it's worth every moment. It's definitely one of the hardest things you'll ever do – being a parent – but it also has the best rewards.

[Shot of Kārearea and Ocean.]

Title: Kārearea, 4 years old; Ocean, 3 years old

[Interview with Ria and Barry.]

Ria: Kia ora koutou. Ko Ria tōku ingoa. Nō Porirua ahau. Ko tēnei te wāhi tipuaki ai ahau.

Barry: I'm Barry. This is my partner, Ria. We have two beautiful children. Ocean, he's three. Kārearea, she's four.

Ria: In our home, we create a safe environment by putting the toxic products up high, so the kids can’t reach them.

[Shot of Ria and Barry’s fenced section and vegetable garden.]

Ria (voice-over): We also have a fully-fenced section so the kids can't run out onto the road. It's really important that we keep our tamariki healthy, because we believe that for them to be the best that they can be in life, they need to be physically and mentally fit.

Barry (voice-over): We don't really eat junk that much. We just try and get fruit into them.

Ria (voice-over): We also have a garden, where we get most of our leafy vegetables.

Barry (voice-over): Stuff that you can mash up so they don't know it's there!

[Interview with Erika.]

Title: Erika Ware, Well Child Tamariki Ora Nurse

Erika: Kia ora. I'm Erika, and I'm a Tamariki Ora (Well Child) Nurse. The best advice that I could give at this age would be to spend as much time together doing things, so that children are learning at the same time, as well as you're there supervising them, letting them do stuff, and that's the best way to learn, to have fun, and be safe together.

[Barry fastens Ocean’s helmet, and rides a skateboard with him.]

Barry (voice-over): The stuff that I mainly do with the kids is the more active stuff on their bikes and skateboards.

[Ria draws with Kārearea.]

Ria (voice-over): Kārearea likes to draw, so I’ll sit with her and draw, and we'll learn how to spell her name. Just having those things there to provide an outlet for them to be creative.

[Ria and Barry play with their children.]

Ria (voice-over): They light up when they're with mum and dad, and mum and dad are interacting with them. It doesn't have to be anything special or grand. It's just being with them. When just dad and the kids are playing around on the floor, just tickling and horseback riding – dad's the horse! The kids jump on.

[Ria prepares vegetables.]

Barry (voice-over): So with their teeth, we stay away from real sugary stuff. It's just a real treat. We get them to brush their teeth, and then we'll do it afterwards just to make sure it got done properly. But still trying to get them to figure out how to do it.

[Interview with Erika.]

Erika: The best practice you can do is supervising your children when they brush their teeth, and making sure that they brush morning and night. Using a soft toothbrush with a smear of family fluoride toothpaste is recommended.

[Interview with Ria and Barry.]

Ria: Our Tamariki Ora (Well Child) Nurse rang me and organised for me to see the B4 School Check Nurse.

[Interview with Erika.]

Erika: It involves a hearing and a vision test. They see us. There's a questionnaire that parents need to fill out. And it also involves pre-school teachers doing a bit of an assessment.

[Ria and Barry play with their children.]

Ria (voice-over): Our goals for our children are for them to be happy and healthy, and to enjoy their childhood, so we try and make memories as much as we can by creating fun things as a family that we do together.

Barry (voice-over): Our goals for when they're older – just pretty much do what they really want to do in life. That’s pretty much it.

[Interview with Ria and Barry.]

Ria: We also work really hard on trying to develop their character. So we do that by going to the river and talking about the taiao and the environment, and how it's really important that we take care of it. That's something that's important to us, it's important to our children, and it's important for their children. Te reo Māori is also a strong aspect, a strong part of the taiao, so we really try and incorporate that because it gives them a strong sense of identity. It gives them a stable foundation for them to stand on and grow into confident people.

Title: Our thanks to the families and health workers who appeared in this video for the Ministry of Health. Find out more about pregnancy and child health on www.health.govt.nz/yourhealth.

In this video, we meet Ria and Barry and their two children, Ocean and Kārearea. Ocean is 3 and Kārearea is 4. Find out how Ria and Barry care for their children and keep them healthy and safe. Erika, a Well Child Tamariki Ora nurse has advice on the best things you can do to help your child learn and develop.

Your child may understand most of what you say and start to speak in short sentences. They may have made friends with other children. Managing your child’s behaviour may be difficult at times, so ask for help when you need it. Fussy or picky eating is common in children under 5 years – but most children will eat when they are hungry. 

Click on the links below to find out about caring for your child at 3–5 years of age.

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