Three years have already gone by so quickly, can you believe it?
Your child is now in the fourth year of his life, and he keeps growing and developing daily. During the following period, your child’s world will be filled with fantasy and imagination.
As you can see – a lot! But you must remember that every child has his own beat, so not every child has to do everything at the same time. That’s part of what makes them unique.
His social life will go through a revolution! This is the age in which your child officially becomes a part of the education system, and his social skills will develop tremendously. He is already able to play with kids his age for about 20 minutes or more (which is a long time for him!), and understand his role as a part of an organized game. He will even negotiate his position in the game if he is not pleased.
Social skills are not the only thing that improves. He will develop new motor skills – he is learning how to jump and sometimes might even stand on one leg for a short period of time. He will get better at climbing up and down the stairs with the supervision of an adult but without any assistance. He will even succeed at jumping from one step and landing on both feet. During playtime, he will manage to kick a ball, throw it over the head and sometimes even catch one that is thrown to his direction. He will get faster with every passing day, running backward and forward quickly.
With passing time, he will learn how to better control his hands and new abilities will appear. At this age, your child should be able to draw simple shapes such as a square or a circle, and he might even be able to copy a few letters. When you will draw with him you might discover that he can draw a person with a few basic organs (hands, feet, mouth etc), and he will learn how to use scissors with the supervision of an adult. He will become more and more independent, dressing by himself and putting on shoes. Closing buttons might still be a bit difficult.
Your child’s language skills will improve constantly. By the age of three, he already starts to understand the difference between “similar” and “different”. He knows at least three descriptive words such as "above" and "under". He already assembles sentences with 5-6 words, starts telling stories to anyone who would listen and speaks clearly even to strangers. Your child probably already knows the names of various colors, and can also match them to the correct color. He will start to get familiar with the different numbers and might count to 3 or even more. As time passes, he will understand different things like time perception and will play in his imaginary world. He will be fascinated by new experiences, playing along with other kids and be interested in role play as “mom” and “dad”.
It is typical that he will imagine things that he doesn’t know or fear from, like monsters. Since he is becoming more independent, he might even try to argue or disagree with you on certain things. Get used to it, it is just the beginning…
As mentioned before, each child has his own beat and you shouldn’t worry if yours is only doing part of what we have described. When should you contact your pediatrician? Here are a few examples:
1. If the child can’t throw a ball over his head or jump at all.
2. Cries dramatically when his parents leave.
3. Bursts uncontrollably when he is sad or angry.
4. Ignores other kids, doesn’t respond to people that aren’t a part of the family and doesn’t participate in imagination games.
5. Can’t hold a writing implement between his thumb and fingers.
6. Can’t copy the shape of a circle.
7. Doesn’t compose sentences of 3 words and more.
If you feel your child experiences more difficulties than other children in motor, social or language skills you should always consult your pediatrician.
Last updated: May 2017
Authors - Judah Freedman BA MED, Dr. Yair Sadaka MD PhD, paediatrician, Pediatric neurologist