Child by Year

Year 4

What are some of the developmental milestones my child should reach by four years of age?

Have you noticed that your 4-year-old is becoming more independent and self-confident? If not, you will in the coming year.

Most children this age begin to develop greater independence, self-control, and creativity. They are content to play with their toys for longer periods of time, are eager to try new things, and when they get frustrated, are better able to express their emotions.

Here are some other milestones to look for.

Movement milestones

Stands on one foot for ten seconds or longer
Hops, somersaults
Swings, climbs
May be able to skip
Milestones in hand and finger skills
Copies triangle and other geometric patterns
Draws person with body
Prints some letters
Dresses and undresses without assistance
Uses fork, spoon, and (sometimes) a table knife
Usually cares for own toilet needs

Language milestones

Recalls part of a story
Speaks sentences of more than five words
Uses future tense
Tells longer stories
Says name and address
Cognitive milestones
Can count ten or more objects
Correctly names at least four colors
Better understands the concept of time
Knows about things used every day in the home (money, food, appliances)

Social and emotional milestones

Wants to please friends
Wants to be like her friends
More likely to agree to rules
Likes to sing, dance, and act
Shows more independence and may even visit a next-door neighbor by herself
Aware of sexuality
Able to distinguish fantasy from reality
Sometimes demanding, sometimes eagerly cooperative

Act early by talking to your child’s doctor if your child:

Can’t jump in place
Has trouble scribbling
Shows no interest in interactive games or make-believe
Ignores other children or doesn’t respond to people outside the family
Resists dressing, sleeping, and using the toilet
Can’t retell a favorite story
Doesn’t follow 3-part commands
Doesn’t understand “same” and “different”
Doesn’t use “me” and “you” correctly
Speaks unclearly
Loses skills he once had