4-year-old developmental milestones

Social skills for 4-year-olds

  • shows more independence — able to brush his teeth and get dressed by himself
  • demanding but also eagerly cooperative
  • may be rude, or even tell you to shut up — the more you emotionally react, the more he will misbehave
  • wants to be liked and to please his friends and perhaps has a best friend which could be of either sex
  • understands about everyday things like food, money and appliances and the concept of time
  • has little sense of ownership — possession means he views all things as his
  • has learned sympathy and sadness when someone or something is in pain — that is what he wants when he is in the same situation
  • has become aware of sexuality and has a natural curiosity about it
  • shows a high degree of interest in singing, dancing and acting
  • brims over with imaginative ideas
  • tries to distinguish the difference between fantasy and reality
  • may like telling “tall tales” and making up stories

What to expect at this age

“You can’t have it!” your child shouts as he grabs his toy truck from his playmate. No sooner have you smoothed out that squabble than another erupts. “No!” he yells as his visitor heads toward his rock collection. Why doesn’t your child know how to share?

Well, he knows; he just isn’t very consistent about doing it. Your three or four year old may spend hours a day playing with other children, he can take turns in games, and he’s less self-centered than he was a year or two ago. But he’s still impulsive and doesn’t have a very good grasp of time, so waiting while his playmate takes a turn with a coveted toy is challenging for him.

On the other hand, many preschoolers love to draw pictures for teachers, make presents for parents and share snacks with friends. Children are just learning that it feels good to give and that it’s fun to share with friends. You can sow the seeds of sharing by encouraging these displays of generosity and by gently discouraging your child’s less-charitable impulses.

4-Year-Old Development: Language Milestones

If your child is not very talkative, that will likely change soon. Between or at ages 3 and 4, your child should be able to:

  • Say his or her name and age
  • Speak 250 to 500 words
  • Answer simple questions
  • Speak in sentences of five to six words, and speak in complete sentences by age 4
  • Speak clearly
  • Tell stories

4-Year-Old Development: Movement Milestones

Your busy preschooler continues to be on the move. Between or at ages 3 and 4, your child should be able to:

  • Walk up and down stairs, alternating feet — one foot per step
  • Kick, throw, and catch a ball
  • Climb well
  • Run more confidently and ride a tricycle
  • Hop and stand on one foot for up to five seconds
  • Walk forward and backward easily
  • Bend over without falling

How to Care for Three to Five Year Old’s

  • Feed them breakfast: Make it nutritious. One idea is to give them their favorite cereal (nothing extremely sugary or fatty) with low-fat or fat-free milk and fruit. For fruit, put in bananas, apples, mango, and/or strawberries depending on what they like.
    • Muffins. Ask the children if they want chocolate chip, orange, cranberry, or blueberry and make some muffins. They’ll be sure to love them.
    • Waffles. Make some waffles with fruit. If you know how, make waffles in a certain shape (e.g. their initial, a basic shape). You could also make pancakes.
    • Parfait. Get berries, vanilla yogurt, and granola to make a delicious fruit parfait!
    • Fruit salad.If nothing else can be made or you’re in a hurry fruit salad is always good.
  • Play with the child for a few hours: Play princess or whatever games they like. If they want to go outside make sure they are properly dressed for the weather. More games to play are ball and tag if they’d like to play those, or just run around for a little bit.Crafts are great as long as safety precautions are taken.
    After playtime, it’s time for lunch: Be sure to carefully watch children as they may touch a hot stove or other dangers. Ask them what they would like. Suggest PB & J, chicken fingers, or hot dogs
  • Put them down for a nap: Make sure that they sleep so they won’t be tired. Give them a pillow or two and a nice blanket.
  • Allow them to watch TV for an hour or two: Make sure that they watch age-appropriate shows, and change the channel if something inappropriate/violent comes on. Sit with them and watch the show with them if they want.
  • By now it should be almost dinner time: Feed them a yummy but healthy meal, like soup, chicken, or pizza. If it’s not time to eat or if they aren’t hungry, play until it is
    Now would be a good time to go outside: Stay out there until it gets cold\dark or it’s bedtime. You could take a walk with them or just play.
  • Give them a bath: This doesn’t have to be every day, just three or four times a week is fine. Get some play toys they like (like a rubber ducky) and give them a bubble bath if they want. Never leave a child this age alone in the bathtub.
  •  Play inside until 10-15 minutes before bedtime.
  •  Read them a book or tell a story. It will help them fall asleep.Make sure it isn’t overly exciting or scary.
    Help them get ready for bed. Make sure they brush their teeth!
  •  Read a book : If they can read a little bit, have them read every couple pages or read with you at the same time.

Your 4-year-old: Development, behavior and parenting tips

Curious and fun 4-year-old’s

Your 4-year-old is full of energy, talkative and curious. He’s eager to show you what he can do, and you will both be excited by his accomplishments. He constantly tests his environment and will waffle between feelings of security and insecurity. Your 4-year-old may also be a bossy little tyke who feels the need to be in charge. You will experience emotional highs and lows with this age and each day will be a new challenge — for both of you.

Sure, we know each child is different — and what one child does at 4 might be quite different from another. However there are some benchmarks that you will find your 4-year-old reaching this year.


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