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Developmental Milestones

Have you ever wondered how your child is growing and developing as compared to other children of the same age? How do you know if your child is on the right track ?

Your child is going through many physical and emotional changes. Although no two children grow at the same rate, experts agree there are expected ages and stages of development. Below is a checklist of important milestones in your child's development during the third and fourth years of life.


Motor Skills


feed himself (with some spilling)
hold a glass in one hand
hold a crayon correctly
wash and dry hands by himself
build a tower of numerous blocks
throw a ball overhead
try to catch a large ball
put on shoes (but not tie laces)
dress herself with help
use the toilet with some help
walk up steps, alternating feet
walk on tiptoes if shown how
walk in a straight line
kick a ball forward
jump with both feet
pedal a tricycle

Sensory and Thinking Skills


recognize sounds in the environment
remember what happened yesterday
know some numbers (but not always in the right order)
know where things usually belong
understand what "#1" is
understand "now," "soon," and "later"
substitute one object for another in pretend play (as in pretending a block is a "car") laugh at silly ideas (like "milking" a dog)
look through a book alone
simple matching
avoid some dangers, like a hot stove or a moving car
follow simple one-step commands

Language and Social Skills


Use three - five word sentences
ask short questions
use plurals ("dogs," "cars," "hats")
name at least ten familiar objects
repeat simple rhymes
name at least one color correctly
imitate housework or help with simple tasks
enjoy being read to
talk about feelings and mental states (e.g., remembering)
demonstrate some shame when caught in a wrongdoing
try to make others laugh
play spontaneously with two or three children in a group
assign roles in pretend social play ("You be mommy;" "I be daddy")

know her first and last name
understand "I," "you," "he," and "she"
believe everything centers around him ("if I hide my eyes, no one will see me")
answer whether he/she is a boy or girl


Motor Skills


feed herself (with little spilling)
try to use a fork
hold a pencil
try to write his name
draw a circle, a face
try to cut paper with blunt scissors
try to buckle, button and unbutton, and lace, with assistance
completely undress herself if wearing clothes with simple fasteners
brush teeth with help
build a tower of 7-9 blocks
put together a simple puzzle of 4-12 pieces
use the toilet alone
try to skip
catch a bouncing ball
walk downstairs using a handrail and alternating feet

Sensory and Thinking Skills


recognize red, yellow, and blue
understand taking turns and can do so without always being reminded
understand "big," "little," "tall," "short"
want to know what will happen next
sort by shape or color
count up to 5 objects
follow three step instructions given at one time
distinguish between the real world and the imaginary or pretend world
identify situations that would lead to happiness, sadness, or anger

Language and Social Skills


have a large vocabulary
often talk about action in conversation ("go," "do," "make")
enjoy rhyming and nonsense words
use regular past tenses of verbs ("pulled," "walked")
use "a," "an," and "the" when speaking
ask direct questions ("May I?" "Would you?")
want explanations of "why" and "how"
relate a simple experience she has had recently
understand "next to"
separate from his parent for a short time without crying
help clean up toys at home or school when asked to
like to play "dress up"
pretend to play with imaginary objects
act out elaborate events which tell a story
sometimes cooperate with other children
often prefer playing with other children, unless deeply involved in a solitary task
change the rules of a game as he goes along
try to bargain ("I"ll give you this toy if you"ll give me that one")
share when asked
enjoy tag, hide-and-seek and other games with simple rules
like moderate "rough and tumble" play
like to do things for himself
know her age and the town where she lives
act as though a doll or stuffed animal thinks and feels on its own