Milestones: Four years

Posted on August 3rd, 2012

Here’s what important milestones you can expect during your child’s fourth year.

  • The words ‘inquisitive’, ‘energetic’ and ‘imaginative’ best describe your child. Often impatient and silly, he discovers humour and spends a great deal of time telling you ‘jokes’.
  • Imagination suddenly becomes greater than life for your 4-year-old, who often confuses reality and ‘make-believe’.
  • Wild stories and exaggerations are common.
  • Most 4-year-olds feel good about the things they can do, show self-confidence and are willing to try new adventures.
  • They race up and down stairs or around corners, dash on tricycles or scooters and pull play-wagons at full speed.
  • Your child’s ability to hear properly all the time shouldn’t be doubted. If you are worried seek immediate medical attention.
  • His sentences are becoming longer as he combines four or more words.
  • He will talk about things that have happened away from home and is interested in ‘discussing’ preschool, his friends, outings and interesting experiences.
  • Your toddler’s speech is usually fluent and clear and ‘other people’ can understand what your child is saying most of the time. He speaks clearly and fluently, can construct long and detailed sentences and can tell a long story by sticking to the topic while using ‘adult-like’ grammar.
  • Most sounds are pronounced correctly although he may be lisping at this age and at 5 years, still having difficulty in pronouncing ‘r’, ‘v’ and ‘th’. Your child can communicate easily with familiar adults and with other children.
  • He may tell fantastical ‘tall stories’ and engage strangers in conversation when you are with them.

Physical development:

  • Your child skillfully uses a spoon, fork and dinner knife.
  • He dresses himself without much help, and can unzip and unbutton his clothes.
  • Your 4-year-old can feed himself, brush his teeth, comb his hair, wash, dress and hang up his clothes with a little help.
  • He is able to stack ten or more building blocks, can thread small beads on a string and forms shapes and objects out of clay or play dough.
  • He likes to jump over objects. He enjoys running, galloping, riding his bike, skipping, turning somersaults and climbing ladders and trees.
  • He can hop on one foot and moves around obstacles; and can catch, bounce and throw a ball with ease. Four-year-olds are not very good at pacing themselves, and he will get tired and cranky if he isn’t given enough quiet activities.

Social and emotional development:

  • Your 4-year-old enjoys playing with other children, has a very vivid imagination and enjoys pretending, often with imaginary playmates. He often changes the rules of a game as he goes along and likes to talk and have elaborate conversations.
  • Your child seeks out adult approval and for the most part understands and obeys simple rules.
  • He is now capable of feeling jealousy and at times may be boastful, as enjoys showing off and bragging about his possessions.
  • At this age he begins to understand danger and may become quite fearful, especially of the dark and monsters. This is because he struggles to separate make-believe from reality.
  • Your toddler can feel intense anger and will still throws tantrums over frustrations.
  • Your child expresses anger verbally rather than physically and may tell tales and lie. He understands the concept of lying, but his imagination often gets in the way.
  • Your child will enjoy imitating the parent of the same gender, particularly in play. Pretending goes far beyond ‘playing house’ to more elaborate settings such as the fire station, school or shopping centre.
  • Your little one loves to tell jokes that may not make any sense to adults.

Milestones: Five years

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