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Developmental milestones record - 4 years

There are skills and growth markers expected in a typical 4-year-old child. These milestones are physical and mental developments considered normal for this age group.

Alternative Names

Normal childhood growth milestones - 4 years; Growth milestones for children - 4 years; Childhood growth milestones - 4 years

Information

All children develop a little differently. If you are concerned about your child's development, talk to your child's health care provider.

PHYSICAL AND MOTOR

During the fourth year, a child typically:

  • Gains weight at the rate of about 6 grams per day
  • The average 4 year old weighs 40 lbs and is 40 inches tall
  • Vision is 20/20
  • Sleeps 11 to 13 hours, usually without a nap
  • Grows to a height that is double the length at birth
  • Shows improved balance
  • Hops on one foot without losing balance
  • Throws a ball overhand with coordination
  • Can cut out a picture using scissors
  • May still wet the bed (normal)

SENSORY AND COGNITIVE

The typical 4-year-old:

  • Has a vocabulary of more than 1,000 words
  • Easily puts together sentences of four or five words
  • Can use the past tense
  • Can count to four
  • Will ask the most questions of any age
  • May use words that aren't fully understood
  • May begin using vulgar words
  • Learns and sings simple songs
  • Tries to be very independent
  • May show increased aggressive behavior
  • Talks about personal family matters to others
  • Commonly has imaginary playmates
  • Has an increased understanding of time
  • Is able to tell the difference between two objects based on things like size and weight
  • Lacks moral concepts of right and wrong
  • Rebels if too much is expected of him or her

PLAY

As the parent of a 4-year-old, you should:

  • Encourage and provide space for physical activity
  • Show the child how to participate in, and follow the rules of sporting activities
  • Encourage play and sharing with other children
  • Encourage creative play
  • Teach children to do small chores, such as setting the table
  • Read together
  • Limit television watching to 2 hours a day of quality programs
  • Expose the child to different stimuli by visiting local areas of interest

References

Feigelman S. The preschool years. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 10.

Updated: 11/9/2012

Jennifer K. Mannheim, ARNP, Medical Staff, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health, Seattle Children's Hospital. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.


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