Pregnancy week by week



4 year old

Your four year old is developing greater self-control and creativity. His pretend play is more complex and imaginative and can be sustained for longer periods. He can also make plans and complete tasks. Four year olds want to try new experiences. They also want to be more self-reliant and seek to expand the areas of their lives where they can be independent decision-makers. Here is what you other things you can expect from your four year old.............

Social and Emotional Development

  • Plays with several children with beginning of social interaction and role-playing

  • Goes to toilet alone

  • Interested in new experiences and enjoys doing new things

  • Plays “Mom” or “Dad”

  • Views self as a whole person involving body, mind, and feelings

  • Loves to be a part of social situations. Will wish to be with children rather than grown ups

  • Separates from mom and dad more easily

  • Increasingly inventive and more creative in make-believe play

  • Dresses and undresses

  • Negotiates solutions to conflicts

  • Tells about what she likes and what she is interested in

  • Tries to be very  independent

  • Imagines that many unfamiliar images may be “monsters”

  • Lacks moral concepts of right and wrong

Language and Communication skills

  • Speaks in sentences of five to six words

  • Enjoys re-telling known stories

  • Can say first and last name

  • May have a vocabulary of about 1500-2000 words

  • Loves to listen to wide variety of books.

  • Enjoys talking to other children and make friends with them

  • Ask an endless stream of questions- simple answers are best

  • Speaks clearly enough for strangers to understand

  • Knows some basic rules of grammar, such as correctly using “he” and “she”

  • Sings a song or says a poem from memory such as the “Itsy Bitsy Spider” or the “Wheels on the Bus”

Cognitive skills

  • Begins to have a clearer sense of time
  • Understands the concepts of “same” and “different”

  • Follows three-part commands

  • Tells you a story with the correct sequence of events

  • Understands the idea that the letters in books are used to tell a story- not just pictures

  • Can use past tense

  • Experiments with comparing qualities about objects. For example, he can organize like objects into groups e.g. group of cups or containers from small to big

  • Questioning at its height. Says which is larger of two lines

  •  Right-left discrimination
Physical development

  • Hops on one foot without losing balance
  • Goes down stairs, one foot per step.

  • Throws ball over hand with coordination

  • Climbs well

  • Imitates construction of gate of 5 cubes

  • Copies cross

  • Draws a man with 2 to 4 parts beside head

  • Can cut out a picture using scissors

  • Moves forward and backward with agility

  • Begins to copy some capital letters

  • May not be able to tie shoelaces and button clothes fully

Recommended activities

  • As the parent of a 4-year-old, you should:
  • Encourage and provide space for physical activity. Encourage physical activity (running, jumping, climbing), especially outdoors. Arrange times for safe running and exploring outdoors
  • Show the child how to participate in, and follow the rules of sporting activities

  • Encourage play and sharing with other children

  • Read together. When reading, ask them to name pictures-give help when needed

  • When reading, ask them to name pictures-give help when needed

  • Limit television watching to 2 hours a day of quality programs

  • Expose the child to different stimuli by visiting local areas of interest

  • Ask your child what, where, and how questions to encourage language development

  • Give them toys they can take apart themselves and put back together

  • Have lots of props available for dress-up

  • Have paper and washable crayons/paint/chalk available for art projects

  • Limit television viewing. Monitor both the time and content of television viewing

  • Keep family outings short and simple. Children have a short attention span at this age and lengthy activites will cause them to become irritable and tired

  • Discipline should be firm and consistent, but loving and understanding. Praise your child for his good behavior and accomplishments

  • Visit local areas of interest such as zoo or museum

  • Encourage your child to help with small household chores, such as helping set the table or picking up toys

  • Provide activities related to your child’s particular interests

  • Encourage your child to use words to express feelings (rather than acting out)

Development watch
  • Cannot throw a ball overhand

  • Cannot jump in place

  • Cannot ride a tricycle

  • Cannot grasp a crayon between thumb and fingers

  • Has difficulty scribbling

  • Cannot stack four blocks

  • Still clings or cries whenever his parents leave him

  • Shows no interest in interactive games or make believe

  • Ignores other children

  • Doesn’t respond to people outside the family

  • Doesn’t engage in fantasy play

  • Resists dressing, sleeping, using the toilet

  • Lashes out without any self-control when angry or upset

  • Cannot copy a circle


Children grow and develop at different rates. The information above is offered as a guide. There is no need to expect your child's development to fit with all the above descriptions. If you’re at all worried about your child's development, it is best to speak with your doctor.



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