Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Health & Parenting

Select An Article
Font Size

3- to 4-Year-Olds: Developmental Milestones


3- to 4-Year-Old Development: Emotional and Social Milestones continued...

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
  • Has trouble with self-control 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 Louise Chang, MD on November 03, 2010
Next Article:

Today on WebMD

Girl holding up card with BMI written
Is your child at a healthy weight?
toddler climbing
What happens in your child’s second year.
father and son with laundry basket
Get your kids to help around the house.
boy frowning at brocolli
Tips for dealing with mealtime mayhem
mother and daughter talking
child brushing his teeth
Sipping hot tea
Young woman holding lip at dentists office
Which Vaccines Do Adults Need
rl with friends
tissue box
Child with adhd