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NAN: Initiative, Guilt and Cooperation in Preschoolers

Erik Erikson believed that as preschoolers continue to explore their environment and roles, they are torn between initiative and guilt as outlined in his third stage of development. 

“I will try” is a phrase that demonstrates a preschooler has a healthy sense of initiative. But as children begin to try new things, the responses they receive from adults can encourage their initiative or elicit guilt. Helping preschoolers feel positive about their self-initiated efforts will lead to the child having a sense of purpose. During this stage, nannies can encourage initiative and exploration, while helping children to make safe and appropriate choices. 

When children plan activities, make up games and initiate activities with others they develop a sense of initiative. If these attempts are stopped by criticism or control, children may feel guilt. 

“I will try” is a phrase that demonstrates a preschooler has a healthy sense of initiative. But as children begin to try new things, the responses they receive from adults can encourage their initiative or elicit guilt. Helping a preschooler feel positive about his self-initiated efforts will lead to the child having a sense of purpose. During this stage, nannies can encourage initiative and exploration, while helping children to make safe and appropriate choices. 

Through experience children begin to learn that if they only think about themselves and their own goals they may not gain cooperation and friendship from others. By encouraging children to take initiative while helping them to learn to recognize other people’s needs, as well as the advantages of cooperation, nannies can help children to develop healthy friendships. 

Michelle LaRoweNAN: Initiative, Guilt and Cooperation in Preschoolers