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A Four-Year-Old's Development: Milestones and Achievements

Preschools and Kindergartens

This article should give you a good idea of what to expect—physically, intellectually, emotionally, and socially—;during this stage of your four-year-old's development.

Four-Year-Old's Development: Physical

At age 4, most children can run well and are capable of more complex physical tasks, such as hopping on one foot, performing a standing broad jump, or throwing a ball overhand. Four-year-olds are proficient with crayons, pencils, and other drawing/writing implements. They can also use scissors (albeit not particularly well). At this age, children are usually self-sufficient in attending to bathroom needs, and can wash and dry their face and hands without adult supervision. They can also dress themselves for the most part (although ties and other complicated articles of clothing may present a bit of a problem).

Four-Year-Old's Development: Intellectual

Most four year olds have mastered a vocabulary of well over 1,500 words, and are capable of speaking in complete sentences. They can also draw simple, recognizable objects. Children at this age are highly imaginative and just learning to generalize, which leads to them asking endless questions. At this age, many children develop a dramatic streak.

Four-Year-Old's Development: Emotional

Four-year-olds often engage in "bad" behavior in an effort to test boundaries and authority. As they become more confident and sure of themselves, their attitude often manifests as defiant. At age 4, most children are capable of understanding and making decisions, and will be more amenable to reason than younger children. Allowing four-year-old children to make their own choices within a controlled environment is a good way to maintain control while still giving them a sense of freedom.

Four-Year-Old's Development: Social

At age 4, children are generally more sociable and enjoy the company of other children. They'll often engage in cooperative play on their own, and may engage in loosely-organized group games, such as tag. Four year old children are talkative and versatile, capable of adapting to a number of social situations.

While these achievements are an important part of any four-year-old's development, it's important to remember that the specifics may vary from child to child. Some may achieve these milestones earlier, while others may come into them later. If you have any questions or concerns about your four-year-old's development, you should bring them up with your child's doctor or teacher.

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