Encouraging your three and four year old
Three and four year olds begin to show greater focus and are able to concentrate on an activity for more than five minutes, even as long as fifteen minutes. They also enjoy helping others, which demonstrates increased social connection. Your child’s independence is now apparent in day-to-day routines such as feeding himself/herself and even using utensils regularly. You will also see your child dressing (but not zipping and tying), brushing teeth, and washing hands; somewhat and then totally independently.
Three and four year olds like showing even more independence. Allowing them to make some of their own decisions — by posing some acceptable options — helps them feel good and they also gain confidence in themselves as they learn to come up with solutions. For example, “Would you like to hear a story, sing some songs together, or draw on this paper?”
Children in this stage of development will begin counting, naming colors, and drawing shapes. While three year olds match animals and their sounds, four year olds are able to make more difficult matches, such as a cow goes with the barn and a spoon goes with the fork.
Playtime becomes more social as these children play with each other instead of next to each other. You will notice that as your child plays with others, he or she will begin creating stories and using objects and clothing that support the story. Remember that three and four year olds also like to play with you.
Most three year olds:
– follow two related requests such as pick up the book and bring it to me
– point to a few colors when you name them
– count a few objects
– jump, using both feet
– imitate the drawing of a line or a circle
– can be understood by others at least half of the time
– use the toilet independently, most of the time
– have received all twenty of their baby teeth
Most four year olds:
– are easily understood by most people when they talk
– will try new foods
– count six to ten objects
– name colors when asked
– draw a person with five or more body parts
– hop a few times on one foot
– follow a series of 3 related directions