You can see signs of your child developing a more complex form of thinking as he or she logically links ideas with the sequences of action in pretend play. Perhaps you will see a stuffed animal have a birthday with a pretend birthday cake and pretend candles that are “blown out” by the stuffed animal. The stuffed animal might even receive several pretend presents.
Sometimes your child will bring elements of both make-believe and reality into his or her play. Everyday objects, such as spoons and telephones, can be used in the pretend play about superheroes, for example. Your child’s superhero of the moment might be hungry and need a bowl of cereal before they get on with the work of saving lives or flying to the moon. The logical thought of hunger is making the connection.
The logic that your child is learning may move from playroom to interactions with parents and others. “Because” might become a word you hear often during the preschool years, as in “I don’t want to go to bed yet because it is still light outside.” By the age of four or five, your child’s understanding will grow to the point that he or she understands not only that one idea is tied to another but that you might just listen if he or she can justify his or her actions: “I had to grab the toy from him because he wouldn’t share it.”
When your child tells you that she had to push someone today because the other child pushed her yesterday, she is showing you that she has developed enough reason to consider both time and feelings. If you suggest that it is bedtime, your new little thinker will be able to give you all the reasons in the world that he should be allowed to stay up late to watch a favorite television show or play a game.
When your child makes connections with logical thought, he or she is on the road to becoming a logical, abstract thinker. So, celebrate the logic that is developing when you hear words like “and,” “because,” “if,” and “but” . . .