Your Child at Four Years
What Most Children Do at this Age:
- Enjoys doing new things
- Plays “Mom” and “Dad”
- Is more and more creative with make-believe play
- Would rather play with other children than by himself
- Cooperates with other children
- Often can’t tell what’s real and what’s make-believe
- Talks about what she likes and what she is interested in
- Knows some basic rules of grammar, such as correctly using “he” and “she”
- Sings a song or says a poem from memory such as the “Itsy Bitsy Spider” or the “Wheels on the Bus.”
- Tells stories
- Can say first and last name
Cognitive (learning, thinking, problem-solving)
- Names some colors and some numbers
- Understands the idea of counting
- Starts to understand time
- Remembers parts of a story
- Understands the idea of “same” and “different”
- Draws a person with 2 to 4 body parts
- Uses scissors
- Starts to copy some capital letters
- Plays board or card games
- Tells you what he/she thinks is going to happen next in a book
- Hops and stands on one foot up to 2 seconds
- Catches a bounced ball most of the time
- Pours, cuts with supervision, and mashes own food
The Milestone Child Development Chart is shown Courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
What You Can Do for Your Four-Year-Old:
- Play make-believe with your child. Let him/her be the leader and copy what he/she is doing.
- Suggest your child pretend play an upcoming event that might make him nervous, like going to preschool or staying overnight at a grandparent’s house.
- Give your child simple choices whenever you can.
- Let your child choose what to wear, play, or eat for a snack. Limit choices to 2 or 3.
- During play dates, let your child solve his/her own problems with friends, but be nearby to help out if needed.
- Encourage your child to use words, share toys, and take turns playing games of one another’s choice.
- Give your child toys to build imagination, like dress-up clothes, kitchen sets, and blocks.
- Use good grammar when speaking to your child. Instead of “Mommy wants you to come here,” say, “I want you to come here.”
- Use words like “first,” “second,” and “finally” when talking about everyday activities. This will help your child learn about sequence of events.
- Take time to answer your child’s “why” questions. If you don’t know the answer, say “I don’t know,” or help your child find the answer in a book, on the Internet, or from another adult.
- When you read with your child, ask him/her to tell you what happened in the story as you go.
- Say colors in books, pictures, and things at home.
- Count common items, like the number of snack crackers, stairs, or toy trains.
- Teach your child to play outdoor games like tag, follow the leader, and duck, duck, goose.
- Play your child’s favorite music and dance with your child. Take turns copying each other’s moves.