• Infant Birth to 18 months
  • Toddler 19 months to 3 years
  • Preschooler 3 to 5 years

Preschooler : 3 to 4 Years

Three to four year old

He’s in his fourth year with a very active time ahead of him. At this stage your preschooler will:

  • Climb, slide and swing on playground equipment.
  • Handle child’s scissors and cut out simple designs.
  • Enjoy playing with other children and socialize well.
  • Become less self-centred and more able to understand feelings and point of view of others.
  • Start to count objects.

It’s important to respect your child’s feelings. Don’t make fun of his fears or worries. You’ll find, too, that your child will have more understanding of how other people think and feel. And because he can think about others more, he can cooperate better, and play simple games in small groups. When he plays, he can set goals, such as “I’m going to build a castle”, and he is beginning to plan ahead a bit. For instance, he’ll understand when you say, “Grandma will be here after three more sleeps”.

Things to Remember...

At about this age, children start to think more about the feelings of others. Talk with your child about how he would feel if people started talking and interrupting while he was talking. You and your child might create a signal, like the child touching your arm, when she wants a turn to talk.

Developmental Milestones at 3 to 4 Years

Social

Social Development as a preschooler involves making friends, getting along with and helping others, working as part of a team and starting to solve problems within a group. These skills are built on self-confidence, cooperation and trust

Typical Skills

  • Enjoys playing with other children and socializes well
  • More able to take turns, share, co-operate
  • Greets familiar adults and says ‘please’ and ‘thank you’
  • Imitates mom or dad in play
  • Likes to talk and carry on conversations

Emerging Skills

  • Participates in interactive games like ‘London Bridge’ and ‘Farmer in the Dell’
  • Enjoys games with rules
  • Complies with requests from parents more often
  • Seeks adult approval
  • Enjoys dramatic play with others

Activities to Support Your Child's Development

Emotional

Emotional Development as a preschooler involves understanding of emotions – from sad to happy to angry, and learning to deal with them appropriately. Your child is also beginning to develop and understand who they are; their abilities, their family, their culture. This helps build self-esteem and leads to  deeper qualities such as sympathy, caring, resilience, assertiveness and empathy and the ability to rise to life’s challenges

Typical Skills

  • Experiences a broad range of feelings, e.g., jealousy, excitement, fear, happiness, anger
  • Expresses needs with words, e.g., “I’m tired”
  • Is more able to express anger verbally rather than physically
  • Is becoming less egocentric and more able to understand feelings and point of view of others
  • Is less upset by limits and discipline

Emerging Skills

  • Continually grows in independence and self-esteem
  • Expands pretend play into rich, connected themes
  • Is more even tempered and co-operative with parents
  • Shows empathy, e.g., for a friend who is upset
  • May show attachment to one playmate

Activities to Support Your Child's Development

Fine Motor

Fine Motor Development as a preschooler involves mastering precise and accurate small muscle movements of the fingers and hands in order to reach, grasp and manipulate small objects.

Typical Skills

  • Builds a tower of nine blocks
  • Handles scissors and cuts out simple designs
  • Holds pencil with thumb and forefinger in adult-like grasp
  • Draws a house, and people with two to four body parts
  • Can button large buttons

Emerging Skills

  • Carries liquid in a cup, with some spillage
  • Puts on shoes, but not yet able to tie laces
  • Tries to print some capital letters (usually the letters in her name)
  • Dresses and undresses without assistance
  • Cuts out and pastes simple shapes

Activities to Support Your Child's Development

Gross Motor

Gross Motor Development allows a child to gain balance and bring large muscles under control in order to master physical activities such as sitting, crawling, walking, running, climbing, jumping and generally enjoying all their body allows them to do.

Typical Skills

  • Runs several steps with alternating arm movements
  • Catches, bounces and throws a ball easily
  • Climbs, slides and swings on playground equipment
  • Gets up from squatting position without any help
  • Gallops, runs, walks, wiggles, and tiptoes with other classmates

Emerging Skills

  • Catches a large ball with arms extended
  • Gallops, runs, walks and tiptoes as part of a group activity
  • Jumps off the ground with a two-footed jump
  • Turns somersaults
  • Stands on one foot with momentary balance

Activities to Support Your Child's Development

Intellectual

Intellectual Development as a preschooler includes being able to think creatively and abstractly, to pay attention, solve problems and develop keen judgement along with a lifelong readiness to learn.

Typical Skills

  • Enjoys dramatic play and role playing; play is becoming more realistic, e.g., school, fire station, shop
  • Classifies objects by purpose, e.g., ‘to play with’, ‘to wear’
  • Understands the order of daily routines
  • Sorts objects by colour and size
  • Counts objects

Emerging Skills

  • Sorts and classifies objects by characteristics
  • Understands ideas like opposites
  • Understands different forms of measurement, such as weight, height and length
  • Attaches words to numbers, for example, when you say the word ‘three’, it means three things
  • Understands time intervals better, e.g., today, tomorrow, yesterday

Activities to Support Your Child's Development

Language

Language Development as a preschooler includes the ability to speak in sentences that make sense to most people, enjoyment of  retelling stories, and talking about something that happened to them. This will lead to a love for books and an ability to recognize letters.

Typical Skills

  • Enjoys books, simple songs, nursery rhymes, nonsense words and stories
  • Uses a vocabulary of about 900 words
  • Uses sentences with five words
  • Uses plurals and pronouns, e.g., ‘I, you and me’
  • Understands position words, such as ‘in’, ‘out’, ‘behind’, ‘in front of’

Emerging Skills

  • Asks and answers ‘who, what, where, why, when, how’ questions
  • Can follow a three-part command
  • Recognizes some letters and words
  • Uses regular past tense forms, but may add ‘ed’ to some words (e.g., eat-ed)
  • Understands “It’s time to”