Congratulations, you have survived the "terrible twos!"
Hopefully, you have energy left to enjoy what lies ahead for you and your preschooler.
Your 3- to 4-year-old child will continue to grow and develop in many ways in the coming year. Although children reach developmental milestones at different times, your child will likely achieve the following developmental milestones before he or she turns 5.
3- to 4-Year-Old Development: Language Milestones
If your child is not very talkative, that will likely change soon. Between or at ages 3 and 4, your child should be able to:
Say his or her name and age
Speak 250 to 500 words
Answer simple questions
Speak in sentences of five to six words, and speak in complete sentences by age 4
3- to 4-Year-Old Development: Cognitive Milestones
Your child will start asking lots of questions. "Why is the sky blue? Why do birds have feathers?" Questions, questions, and more questions! While it may be annoying at times, asking questions is a normal developmental milestone. In addition to asking "why?" all the time, your 3- to 4-year-old should be able to:
Correctly name familiar colors
Understand the idea of same and different
Pretend and fantasize more creatively
Follow three-part commands
Remember parts of a story
Understand time better (for example, morning, afternoon, night)
Count, and understand the concept of counting
Sort objects by shape and color
Complete age-appropriate puzzles
Recognize and identify common objects and pictures
3- to 4-Year-Old Development: Movement Milestones
Your busy preschooler continues to be on the move. Between or at ages 3 and 4, your child should be able to:
Walk up and down stairs, alternating feet -- one foot per step
Kick, throw, and catch a ball
Run more confidently and ride a tricycle
Hop and stand on one foot for up to five seconds
Walk forward and backward easily
Bend over without falling
3- to 4-Year-Old Development: Hand and Finger Skills
Your child is becoming much more nimble. At this point in his or her development, your child should be able to:
More easily handle small objects and turn a page in a book
Use age-appropriate scissors
Copy circles and squares
Draw a person with two to four body parts
Write some capital letters
Build a tower with four or more blocks
Dress and undress without your help
Screw and unscrew jar lids
Turn rotating handles
3- to 4-Year-Old Development: Emotional and Social Milestones
Your 3- to 4-year-old is not only becoming more independent physically, but also emotionally. You may start to notice fewer tantrums when you leave your child with a sitter or at preschool.
In addition, your 3- to 4-year-old is becoming more social. Your child may now be able to cooperate with his or her friends, take turns, and may begin to show some problem-solving skills.
At this point in development, your child should be able to:
Imitate parents and friends
Show affection for familiar family and friends
Understands the idea of "mine" and "his/hers"
Show a wide range of emotions, such as being sad, angry, happy, or bored
In addition, you may notice your child's imagination is in overdrive. This can be good and bad. Fantasy and pretend play becomes more interesting and involved, but your child may also start developing unrealistic fears, such as believing a monster is lurking in the closet.
3- to 4-Year-Old Development: When to Be Concerned
All kids grow and develop at their own pace. Don't worry if your child has not reached all of these milestones at this time. But you should notice a gradual progression in growth and development as your child gets older. If you don't, or if your child has signs of possible developmental delay, as listed below, talk to your child's doctor.
Signs of developmental delay in 3- to 4-year-old children include:
Inability to throw a ball overhand, jump in place, or ride a tricycle
Frequent falling and difficulty walking stairs
Inability to hold a crayon between his or her thumb and fingers; has trouble scribbling and cannot copy a circle
Unable to use a sentence with more than three words and uses "me" and "you" inappropriately
Persistent drooling and trouble speaking
Cannot stack four blocks and has trouble handling small objects
Continues to experience extreme separation anxiety
Lacks interest in interactive games and doesn't engage in fantasy play
Does not play with other children and doesn't respond to non-family members
Self control isn't improving when angry or upset
Does not understand simple commands
Avoids making eye contact
Resists getting dressed, sleeping, and going to the bathroom
Also, if you notice your child resisting or struggling with doing things that he or she was once able to do, tell your child's doctor. This can be a sign of a developmental disorder. If your child does have developmental delay, there are many treatments available to help your child.
WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Roy Benaroch, MD on October 07, 2016