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Children 2-5 Years

Preschoolers see the future

Preschoolers use their vision to guide all their learning experiences - each one an opportunity for growth and development. From ages 2 to 5 a child fine-tunes the visual abilities gained during infancy and develops new ones.

Vital years 2 to 5

Stacking building blocks, rolling balls, colouring, drawing, cutting or assembling toys all help improve visual skills. Preschoolers depend on their vision to learn tasks that will prepare them for school, developing the visually-guided eye-hand-body coordination, fine motor skills and visual perceptual abilities needed to learn reading and writing.

Steps taken at this age to help ensure vision is developing normally can give a child a good ‘head start’ for school.

This is when parents need to be alert for the presence of vision problems like crossed eyes (strabismus) or lazy eye (amblyopia). Strabismus involves one or both eyes turning inward or outward. Amblyopia is a lack of clear vision in one eye, which can't be fully corrected with eyeglasses. It often develops as a result of strabismus, but may occur without noticeable signs. Parents should also watch their child for any delays in development, such as difficulty with recognition of colours, shapes, letters and numbers, which may signal a vision problem.

How parents can help

There are everyday things you can do at home to help your child’s vision develop. Playing with other children, toys and games can help stimulate the process. Even so, eye examinations at ages 3 and 5 are important to detect and treat problems before a child begins school. Here are several things you can do to help your child successfully develop his or her visual skills:

  • Practice throwing and catching a ball or bean bag
  • Read aloud to your child and let him or her see what is being read
  • Provide a chalkboard, finger paints or other ways to colour, cut and paste
  • Encourage play activities requiring hand-eye coordination
  • Play simple memory games
  • Make time for outdoor play like bike riding, swinging and rolling activities
  • Encourage interaction with other children.
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