Developmental milestones - fourth year

The four year old is confident in his physical prowess and climbs trees, jumps, hops on one foot, and turns somersaults with ease. He can now handle all utensils well and can even dress himself. However, there is little comprehension of physical limitations and a child this age may attempt unwise, daredevil physical acts. Parental supervision is key when dealing with a four year old!

The four year old's mind is incredibly imaginative. Make-believe games are popular; however, the child may confuse reality with imagined fears. This is the age of "Daddy, leave the lights on!" as there are surely monsters lurking behind the curtains. At times, it may appear that the four year old is experimenting with falsehoods, when, in fact, exaggeration is more the result of an active, creative mind.

Teaching the difference between real and imagined dangers can help alleviate a child's anxieties. Also, encouraging the four year old to create stories for younger children will exercise his growing inventiveness.

During the fourth year of life a child typically:

  • Holds a pencil
  • Draws a face
  • Attempts to button, lace and buckle
  • Uses a fork, spoon and knife successfully
  • Completes puzzles with up to 12 pieces
  • Is fully toilet-trained
  • Catches a bouncing ball
  • Climbs ladders and trees
  • Sorts by color and shape
  • Identifies six colors and three shapes
  • Jumps over a six-inch-high object
  • Stacks 10 or more blocks
  • Threads small beads on a string
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