These skills tend to be quite variable. But at this age the typical child:
- Hops and jumps forward and can stand on one foot.
- Climbs a ladder, rides a tricycle, walks on tiptoes.
- Can build a tower of ten small blocks and can cut and paste.
- May name three or four primary colors.
- Counts from one to five and can sing a song.
- Dresses and undresses with supervision except for laces and buttons.
- Initiates make-believe and dressing-up play.
- Has formed gender identification.
- Copies a cross and a circle.
- Draws a person with two or three parts.
- Plays cooperatively and enjoys the companionship of other children.
- Asks questions constantly
- Tells stories about experiences either real or imaginary.
Injury prevention is proactive. Consider the following:
- Children may appear more aware of danger but still require close supervision.
- Select safe toys; avoid placing furniture with sharp edges in play areas.
- Wear appropriate car safety restraints.
- Teach children what to do in case of fire.
- Supervise a child when riding a bike or playing near the street.
- Lock up power tools, firearms, matches and poisons.
- Use caution when serving hot liquids at meals.
- Instruct children about behavior regarding strangers.
- Advise children to use caution around strange animals.
- When around water, children should be constantly watched by a responsible adult.
These activities provide good examples for modeling important skills and encourage your child to grow in a healthy and happy way:
- Encourage children to sleep in their own beds if this arrangement is feasible.
- Provide opportunities for interaction with similar aged children.
- Begin to assign small chores such as setting the table.
- Praise a job well done.
- Realize a child can make and keep an agreement.
- Children are ready for simple board or card games.
- Keep up with an established bedtime ritual.
- Show interest in a child's daily activities at daycare or preschool.
- Limit television viewing.
- Encourage exploration and outings to new places.
- Promote activities that make children "figure it out" for themselves.
- Answer questions regarding sex honestly and at an age-appropriate level.
- Encourage privacy for children when they are dressing, undressing or bathing.
- Use correct terms for genitals.
- It is normal for children to be interested in their own bodies as well as their playmate's.
Good nutrition is essential to a growing body. Tips include:
- Serve balanced meals; avoid junk food and junk drinks.
- Continue fluoride supplementation if necessary.
- Create a pleasant atmosphere at mealtime with conversation about the day's activities as well as what's planned after the meal or the next day.
- Offer small portions of food with the opportunity for seconds.
Childhood behavior may go from one extreme to another. This age is no exception:
- Reprimand privately.
- Provide clear and appropriate limits.
- Meaningless threats are ineffective; always follow through.
- Establish a balance between a child's need for independence and the need for limits.
- Do not talk down to a child or belittle a child.
- Be consistent.
Health maintenance is essential to a child's well-being.
- Biannual dental visits ensure healthy teeth; promote dental hygiene.
- By this age, 95 percent of children are bowel trained.
- By this age, 90 percent of children are dry during the day and 75 percent are dry at night.
The following items may be useful:
- Ames, Louise. Your Four Year Old. Delacorte, 1976.
- Brazelton, Berry. Touchpoints: Your Child's Emotional and Behavioral Development. Addison Wesley, 1992.
- Mitchell, Grace. A Very Practical Guide to Discipline With Young Children. Telshare Publ., Inc. MA, 1982.
- Faber, Adele. How to Talk So Kids Will Listen, and Listen So Kids Will Talk
- Pantell, James Fries. Taking Care of Your Child—A Parent's Guide to Medical Care
- West, Richard. The Complete Guide to Childhood Ailments