Research reveals that there is a shift in preschoolers in their ability to understand beliefs that are different from their own. During their third year, children develop a strong sense of themselves. The word “I” is central in their vocabulary. But they still believe that everyone thinks what they think.
However, by their fourth year, children develop the ability to think from others’ points of view .
What is “Theory of Mind” and Why is it Important for Preschoolers?
Theory of mind (“ToM”) is the ability of the child to understand that people have beliefs, intentions, wishes, and feelings different from their own. By age four, children understand that others have such mental states. This is a milestone in their development.
Some children with special needs such as those on the autistic spectrum and others with emotional disorders often have deficits in this ability when they are young, but can attain this milestone as they grow older with assistance. It is important for parents and special education teachers to help children reach this goal, so they can relate well to others and feel liked.