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Milestones and Achievements of 3 Year Old Child Development

Preschools and Kindergartens

During a 3-year-old child's development, he or she will spend a lot of time observing and imitating. Three-year-olds are full of wonder, and their days are filled with busy exploration. Children at this age have little memory of past events and don't understand change and consistency as adults do. For a 3-year-old, “yesterday” and “tomorrow” are little more than vague notions.

3 Year Old Child Development: Physical

A 3-year-old child will be anywhere from 34 to 43 inches tall, and may weigh anywhere from 25 to 44 pounds. At this age, the child loses his or her toddler appearance and begins to resemble a small adult in build. Three is the age at which most children get their full set of baby teeth.

A 3-year-old needs approximately 1,300 calories each day, and may require 10-12 hours of sleep each night. By the time a child is 3, he or she will be able to sleep through most nights without wetting the bed (although the occasional accident is still quite common). At this age, children will learn to use the toilet, wash their hands, brush their teeth, and get a drink without help. They will also be able to dress themselves somewhat independently, although they may require some help with buttons, zippers, snaps, or shoelaces.

At age 3, children will develop the coordination and athletic ability to catch, throw, and kick a ball, as well as hop on one foot, walk on their tiptoes, pedal a tricycle, walk a straight line, and jump over a six-inch barrier.

3 Year Old Child Development: Intellectual

By age 3, at least 75 to 80% of a child's speech should be understandable to folks outside the family. Children of this age begin communicating in short, simple sentences of 3-5 words. They enjoy repeating sounds and words at this age, and often make a game of it. Three-year-olds will listen attentively to stories, and will eventually develop the ability to compose stories of their own based on pictures or books.

As previously mentioned, a 3-year-old doesn't have a firm grasp on the nature of time, but he or she can grasp the concepts of “now,” “soon,” and “later.” Many children develop an insatiable curiosity at this age, and may relentlessly ask questions about who, what, where, and why.

At 3 years old, most children will learn to indentify common colors, count 2 or 3 objects, and match objects to pictures. They also develop a sense of self-knowledge at this age, and can understand the difference between themselves and others.

3 Year Old Development: Emotional and Social

Three-year-olds will begin seeking the attention and approval of adults, if they don't already. At this age, they are capable (and usually willing) to accept suggestions, follow simple directions, and make simple choices when given two options. It's not unusual for a 3-year-old to start showing preference for one parent over the other.

At 3 years old, children are just learning to socialize. They may enjoy playing with other children for brief periods of time, but they still haven't grasped the fundamentals of cooperating or sharing. They often enjoy being silly and making others laugh, and never seem to tire of hearing stories about themselves.

Children often become aware of age and gender at age 3, and will understand how old they are and whether they are a boy or a girl. Children who have been exposed to a multicultural setting will also be fascinated with the ethnic identities of themselves and others.

These milestones and achievements aren't set in stone. Some children may progress faster, while others may take a little longer. If you're worried about the progress of your 3 year old child's development, you should discuss your concerns with your child's pediatrician or preschool teachers.

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