Child Development and Milestones: Your 3-Year-and-3-Month-Old

Child Development and Milestones: Your 3-Year-and-3-Month-Old

Your 39 month old child can tell you when he or she needs to go to toilet now!

Your child is now all of three years and three months old, or a busy-bee 39 month old! Along with all the love and joy he brings you, you might be wondering also about if he is on track with his development. If you’re not completely sure what skills are typical for a 3-year-and-3-month-old child, read on to check out these developmental milestones.

3-Year-and-3-Month-Old Development and Milestones: Is Your Child on Track?

39 month old development and milestones

Physical Development

39 month old development and milestones

How time flies. From a tiny little precious bundle to this healthy mini version of your and your husband!

As part of their 39 month old development and milestones, your not-so-little tot should be able to see like an adult (20/20 vision), be able to run, walk, hop and balance himself while standing with one foot quite confidently.

Even coming down the stairs will be so much faster now that your child is using alternating feet. In fact, we wouldn't be surprised if your child starts to make a game out of jumping down at the end of the steps! Generally, your child should be able to wash and dress up quite independently although buttons and shoelaces will still be quite challenging.

Fine motor skills include being able to copy circles and squares, draw using pens and crayons and even write some simple capital letters.

At this stage, your child should be around 96 cm (37.8 inches) tall if she is a girl or around 97.2 cm (38.3 inches) if he is a boy. Boys should have a healthy weight of around 14.8 kg (32.7 lbs), while girls should weigh around 14.4 kg (31.8 lbs). Girls need 1,417 calories, while boys need 1,510 calories, but this will depend on their size and activity level.


  • To help improve your child's hand-eye coordination, take him outdoors to play ball especially if his throwing and catching skills are still pretty clumsy.
  • Try getting some simple activity books that include tracing, colouring, folding and cutting to sharpen his fine motor skills.
  • If dad is quite the handyman, try making a DIY busy board to keep your child busy indoors.
  • Be mindful that an active child runs a higher risk of accidents at home, so be sure to childproof your home.

When to Talk to Your Doctor: 

  • When your child cannot throw a ball overhand, jump in place, or ride a tricycle
  • Inability to hold a crayon between his or her thumb and fingers
  • Has trouble scribbling and cannot copy a circle

Cognitive Development 

39 month old development and milestones

Questions, questions, and more questions! 

While it may be annoying to keep hearing those "whys" 24/7, it is unavoidable. It's just part of being a 39 month old. So take a deep breath and remember to answer in simple yet truthful answers.

Advancements in cognitive skills will allow your child to quickly learn and recognise commonly occurring letters, words or even colours. For instance, your child may recognise certain numbers on your phone, or associate the colour red with apples. He can probably count up to three by now, although some children may be able to count to ten.

Your child might also remember small parts of the story from a favourite book and even act them out during pretend play. He will also be able to tell you when he needs to go to the toilet now, but he might still occasionally wet himself at night.


  • To develop your child’s thinking and logical capabilities, get him involved in simple day to day chores. Teach him the importance of cleaning up and keeping things in place.
  • Continue to encourage their interest in creative activities such as colouring, drawing and keeping those tiny hands busy with play-dough as well as other kinds of sensory play.
  • Your child will be attracted to vibrant colours, so get him some colourful blocks as well as simple puzzles. You will be able to gauge your child's cognitive development by watching how he uses reasoning and logic to understand what goes where.
  • React positively if your child accidentally wets himself at night during toilet training. Girls tend to handle toilet training a lot better than boys. However, instead of scolding, offer positive reinforcement. There is light at the end of the tunnel – you just need to be patient.

When to Talk to Your Doctor: 

  • When your child is unable to solve simple puzzles or distinguish between colours
  • If your child cannot follow simple instructions

Social and Emotional Development

39 month old development and milestones

Playing with peers and improved communication is one of the main developments you'll notice when your child reaches the 3-year-and-3-month-old mark. Playdates should carry on quite independently, leaving parents to have a little get-together of their own. But you may still need to break up small fights over the same toy, every now and then. It also shouldn't come as a surprise that your child will eventually befriend other kids based on their likes and dislikes.

Now that your child is more sociable, remind him to practice social niceties by saying “please” and “thank you” where appropriate.

When facing a new experience or meeting people he doesn't know, seeing a familiar face might help him to calm down. There will still be occasional drama, whether it is being afraid of the dark, getting hungry or just being overtired. These emotions are a positive sign that your child can interpret a situation and react accordingly. 


  • Teach your child etiquette by being a good example yourself.
  • Keep up with the praise as this motivates them to be better.
  • At this stage your child is still vying for your approval, so do point it out and compliment him when he does something that pleases you.
  • The best way to deal with a child's tantrum is to distract him. Try giving him incentives that will help tame his attitude.

When to Talk to Your Doctor: 

  • When your child has no self-control when angry or upset
  • If he continues to experience extreme separation anxiety

Speech and Language Development

39 month old development and milestones

By now your 39 month old child should be able to speak well enough for strangers to make out what he is saying. He will also be making five- or six-word sentences and be able to have a two- to three-sentence conversation. His sentences might not be grammatically perfect, but over the weeks he should be able to refine and use the correct tenses for verbs. He should be able to introduce himself by name, age and sex, and know the name of at least one close friend. Your child should also be able to name a variety of common objects.


  • To instill the love for reading, stick to a reading routine for your child.
  • Flashcards and word games will help your child to improve his language skills.
  • Try playing the "I Spy" game along with alphabets.

When to Talk to Your Doctor: 

  • When your child is unable to use a sentence with more than three words and uses "me" and "you" inappropriately

Health and Nutrition

39 month old development and milestones

A complete and nutritious meal for your 3-year-and-3-month-old should include carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Whether or not he has started preschool, it is good to start the day with a healthy breakfast.

While your child's taste profile might be simple, this doesn't mean you cannot jazz up his meals with food art to entice them to eat more.

Junk food is only okay for special occasions, or when you just cannot say no. Do keep the junk food intake to a minimum so as not to interfere with more nutritious food which is necessary for their growth.

  • Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates from grains are now your child's main source of energy. Every day, he/she needs 4-5 ounces, half of which should be from whole-grain sources. 1 ounce equals 1 slice of bread, 1 cup of ready-to-eat cereal, or ½ cup of cooked rice, cooked pasta, or cooked cereal.

  • Protein

Your child is growing fast! Meat and beans are great sources of protein for the growing child, and at this age she would need 3-4 ounces of them daily. 1 ounce equals 1 ounce of meat, poultry or fish, ¼ cup cooked dry beans, or 1 egg.

  • Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are the primary sources of vitamins and minerals for your growing child. Your little one may resist eating vegetables and fruits, but keep on trying and they eventually will learn to eat them. At this age, he/she needs 1-1½ cups of fruits and 1½ cups of vegetables every day.

  • Dairy

Your child is not so dependent on milk anymore, but dairy is still an important source of nutrition for your little one. Your little one needs at least 2 cups of milk per day. This could also be 2 cups of yogurt, 3 ounces of natural cheese, or 4 ounces of processed cheese.

Vaccinations and Common Illnesses

Do be wary of common signs of serious diseases like fevers, persisting symptoms, mucoid or bloody stools, and skin rashes. These can be a sign of more serious diseases, and should be consulted with a doctor if you are concerned. As a precaution, don't forget to have a follow-up vaccine for the following:

  • Hepatitis B
  • Diptheria, tetanus and acellular pertussis (DTaP)
  • Haemophilus influenzae type B, Pneumococcal diseases (conjugate vaccine)
  • Inactivated poliovirus
  • Annual influenza virus (if they haven't done so already)
  • Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR)
  • Hepatitis A
  • Meningococcal diseases   

Ideally, your little one should have already completed all of his/her important vaccinations at this age.

When to Talk to Your Doctor: 

If you see any of the following symptoms in your child, be sure to take him/her to the doctor as soon as possible.

  • When your 3-year-and-3-month-old has problems maintaining a healthy weight that is within his recommended range
  • If you are concerned that a persistent symptom is a sign of a serious disease, or if your child has a skin rash
  • A high fever that lasts for more than a week
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhoea for more than two days
  • If your child bruises easily, or his/her bruises don't heal

*Please note that development milestones vary from child to child. If you have any concerns regarding your little one's growth, do not hesitate to consult your paediatrician. 


Source: WebMDKidsHealth, CDC

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Written by

Rosanna Chio

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