Developmental Milestones by the End of 4 Years

Movement
Hops and stands on one foot up to five seconds
Goes upstairs and downstairs without support
Kicks ball forward
Throws ball overhand
Catches bounced ball most of the time
Moves forward and backward with agility
Hand and Finger Skills
Copies square shapes
Draws a person with two to four body parts
Uses scissors
Draws circles and squares
Begins to copy some capital letters
Language
Understands the concepts of “same” and “different”
Has mastered some basic rules of grammar
Speaks in sentences of five to six words
Speaks clearly enough for strangers to understand
Tells stories
Cognitive
Correctly names some colors
Understands the concept of counting and may know a few numbers
Approaches problems from a single point of view
Begins to have a clearer sense of time
Follows three-part commands
Recalls parts of a story
Understands the concept of same/different
Engages in fantasy play
Social
Interested in new experiences
Cooperates with other children
Plays “Mom” or “Dad”
Increasingly inventive in fantasy play
Dresses and undresses
Negotiates solutions to conflicts
More independent
Emotional
Imagines that many unfamiliar images may be “monsters”
Views self as a whole person involving body, mind and feelings
Often cannot distinguish between fantasy and reality
Developmental Health Watch
Because each child develops in his own particular manner, it’s impossible to tell exactly when or how he’ll perfect a given skill. The developmental milestones will give you a general idea of the changes you can expect as your child gets older, but don’t be alarmed if his development takes a slightly different course. Alert your pediatrician, however, if your child displays any of the following signs of possible developmental delay for this age range.

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
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
Doesn’t use sentences of more than three words
Doesn’t use “me” and “you” appropriately

 

Developmental Milestones by the End of 5 Years

Movement
Stands on one foot for 10 seconds or longer
Hops, somersaults
Swings, climbs
May be able to skip

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
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 10 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
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

Emotional Milestones
Aware of sexuality
Able to distinguish fantasy from reality
Sometimes demanding, sometimes eagerly cooperative

Developmental Health Watch
Because each child develops in her own particular manner, it’s impossible to predict exactly when or how your own preschooler will perfect a given skill. The developmental milestones will give you a general idea of the changes you can expect as your child gets older, but don’t be alarmed if her development takes a slightly different course. Alert your pediatrician, however, if your child displays any of the following signs of possible developmental delay for this age range.

Exhibits extremely fearful or timid behavior
Exhibits extremely aggressive behavior
Is unable to separate from parents without major protest
Is easily distracted and unable to concentrate on any single activity for more than five minutes
Shows little interest in playing with other children
Refuses to respond to people in general, or responds only superficially
Rarely uses fantasy or imitation in play
Seems unhappy or sad much of the time
Doesn’t engage in a variety of activities
Avoids or seems aloof with other children and adults
Doesn’t express a wide range of emotions
Has trouble eating, sleeping or using the toilet
Can’t differentiate between fantasy and reality
Seems unusually passive
Cannot understand two-part commands using prepositions (“Put the cup on the table”; “Get the ball under the couch.”)
Can’t correctly give her first and last name
Doesn’t use plurals or past tense properly when speaking
Doesn’t talk about her daily activities and experiences
Cannot build a tower of six to eight blocks
Seems uncomfortable holding a crayon
Has trouble taking off clothing
Cannot brush her teeth efficiently
Cannot wash and dry her hands

Excerpted from Caring for Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5, Bantam 1999
© Copyright 2000 American Academy of Pediatrics

This information has been created for educational purposes only and is not intended to serve as medical advice. It should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease. It is not a substitute for professional care. If your child has any health concerns, please consult your health care provider.

 

 

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