Every child is unique but you can do your part by loving them and cheering them on.
The “magical years” begin around the 3rd birthday, when your child’s world is filled with fantasy and vivid imagination. These are also years of tremendous growth. So what are some of the important developmental milestones your child should reach by three or four years old?
Following the criteria established by the American Academy of Pediatrics, let’s consider some of the specific achievements at this age according to their book, Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5:
Gross motor skills
- Can jump and stand on one foot for up to five seconds
- Can go up and down stairs without support
- Can kick a ball forward
- Can throw a ball
- Can catch a bouncing ball most of the time
- Can move back and forth quickly
Fine motor skills
- Can copy square shapes
- Can draw a person with two to four body parts
- Can use scissors
- Can draw circles and squares
- Can start copying some uppercase letters
- Has mastered some basic rules of grammar
- Can speak in sentences of five to six words
- Can speak clearly enough to be understood by strangers
- Can tell stories
- Can name some colors correctly
- Can understand the concept of counting and knows some numbers
- Can deal with problems from an individual point of view
- Starts to have a clear sense of time
- Can follow three-part orders
- Can remember parts of a story
- Can understand the concepts of same/different
- Can participate in fantasy games
Social and emotional milestones
- Interested in new experiences
- Collaborates with other children
- Plays “mom” or “dad”
- Increasingly creative in fantasy games
- Can dress and undress himself
- Can negotiate solutions for conflicts
- Is more independent
- Views himself as a person with a body, mind, and feelings
- Frequently, cannot distinguish between fantasy and reality
Remember, each child develops at his own pace
Because each child develops in his or her own way, it’s impossible to say exactly when or how each one should perfect a particular skill. These development milestones give a general idea of the changes that can be expected as children grow, but you don’t have to be alarmed if it takes your child more or less time to reach them — every child is unique.
The best way to support children in their growth is to be close to them, dedicate time to them, stimulate them by entering their world, and above all, give them lots of love. It’s not just the amount of time we spend with them, it’s also the quality of that time. Children feel stimulated when they feel loved and protected.
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