Your child is still developing and each age has its own specialties. At the age of 4, your child is still developing and gaining new abilities. Now your child feels confident enough in their basic abilities (speech, running, drawing and building) and is ready to use these abilities to develop in new directions.
This year is usually defined by lots of energy and socializing. Even children who are usually less open are able to make new friendships with different kids their age. Frequently, they will stand up for themselves and are always checking the limits. In addition, your child will show unbelievable creativity with adapting abilities. Their motor skills are getting better, as are the range of motion and the games they play. All these together help prepare your child for the mature world outside.
So what do they know how to do at this age?
Motor skills development-
Your child might get upset when they are unable to button up their buttons. The visual and motor areas of the brain aren’t entirely developed in the child's brain yet and at this age, they are usually impatient. It is recommended to bring home building games (such as lego) and let your child practice building again and again. If they get impatient, break the game down to smaller parts. Never laugh if the building collapses or if something gets ruined during the game and always encourage them during the activity. Your child can already stand on one leg (for up to 10 seconds!) and even jump on one foot 2 or 3 times. They can climb and roll over. Drawing abilities will also develop and they can copy geometric shapes like triangles and draw a man with 3-4 organs that you can recognize. Some kids might be able to write a few letters at this stage. Your child is becoming more independent - they are learning to dress and undress themselves, use a fork and spoon at the dinner table and even a knife under adult supervision. It is common for children this age to be able to use the toilet without help from adults. You will still have to help them brush their teeth because children at this sage don’t have enough coordination to properly brush their teeth alone.
Your child can now remember parts from stories they hear and can tell you longer stories than what they used to. Your child should be able to construct longer sentences of 5 words or more and can use tenses and verbs better. Your child will learn to call people they know by their names. Your child's name is very special to them and they might be able to recognize letters from their name. Some children believe these letters belong to them :)
Mathematical skills develop - they can now count to 10 or more. They know some of the colors and can name up to 4 colors. Your child might start understanding the concept of time - something that might bring up some questions and interest in topics like life and death.
At this age, your children are often surrounded by others. It will become more important for them to please their friends and be like them. Many children at this age like to sing, dance and play. They are now more independent and can even visit a friend by themselves. Another thing that defines this age is mood swings - your child might be adamant about some things but completely cooperative an hour later. Kids at this age understand more the difference between reality and fantasy.
Remember that children develop at different rates, so it’s hard to know exactly how or when your child will develop a specific skill. Don’t be alarmed if your child doesn’t develop exactly according to plan, but if you believe your child is having a harder time than other kids you should seek professional help.
You should see a doctor if:
Your child is acting aggressively
Isn’t interested in children their age, don’t respond or barely respond to people
Seems unhappy all the time
Can’t pronounce their full name
Can’t use language to tell you about their day
Can't wash and dry their hands.
Last updated: May 2017
Authors - Judah Freedman BA MED, Dr. Yair Sadaka MD Ph.D., pediatrician, Pediatric neurologist
The Israeli ministry of health