Child development and milestones: Your 4-years-1-month-old

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Already four years old! What's in store for your little one this month?

At 4 years 1 month old, you'll already start noticing a lot of changes in your child. He is becoming more independent, more social and much more inquisitive.

By now, your little one is probably starting preschool, so expect some anxiety, lots of imaginative ideas, and plenty of questions!

In this article, we’ll explore your 4 years 1 month old child’s development and milestones, so you can easily keep track of them. Do remember though, that these are just guidelines. Every child is different and will do things at his own pace and time.

If you are worried in any way at all about your child’s development, it’s always best to talk to your paediatrician. 

4 Years 1 Month Old Development and Milestones: Is Your Child on Track?

Physical Development

Your 4 years 1 month old is developing greater confidence in his physical ability. He's better at walking down steps with alternating feet, throwing, catching and kicking a ball, running, climbing, jumping, hopping and balancing on one foot.

He is raring to try out new things, and has greater hand-eye coordination.

For instance, dressing himself should be easier for your child now. He can also go brush his teeth and use the toilet by himself.

Here are some skills your child should have by now:

  • Stand on one foot for more than 9 seconds
  • Walks up and down stairs without help
  • Catches a bounced ball most of the time
  • May be able to skip
  • Do a somersault and hop
  • Climbs ladders
  • Can peddle a tricycle
  • Is able to copy a triangle, circle, square, and other shapes
  • Draws a person with a body
  • Stack 10 or more blocks
  • Pours, cuts with supervision, and mashes own food
  • Use a fork and spoon, and sometimes a knife to spread butter on bread
  • Dress and undress, brush teeth, and take care of other personal needs without much help
  • Can cut with child scissors
  • Is able to write his name and some letters

4 years 1 month old

Parenting Tips:

  • Give your child lots plenty of outdoor playtime. Play teaches important life lessons and helps preschoolers express feelings like joy, excitement, anger or fear. Encourage your child to play with other children. This helps him to learn the value of sharing and friendship.
  • Bring your child to parks and playgrounds and allow for messy play in sand and mud. Remember to watch your child at all times, especially when he is playing outside, or when he is in or around any body of water.
  • Encourage imaginative and creative play like painting, drawing or dress-up games. Your child might enjoy musical play too.
  • Drawing, cutting with child scissors, and stringing beads are activities that can strengthen those small muscles, and hone his fine motor skills.
  • Limit screen time for your child to no more than 1 to 2 hours per day of quality programming, at home, school, or child care.
  • Make sure your child gets the recommended amount of sleep every day, which is 10–13 hours per 24 hours (including naps)

When to Talk to Your Doctor

If your child:

  • Cannot jump in place
  • Has trouble scribbling
  • Has trouble seeing or hearing
  • Has trouble undressing, cannot brush his or her teeth, or wash and dry hands, without help
  • Cannot build a tower of six to eight blocks
  • Loses skills he once had

Cognitive Development

This is an exciting age. Your child is learning new things every day!

He can now distinguish between left and right, and understands more about opposites like 'heavy and light' and 'same and different'. He also takes interest in objects and appliances around the house, and how they work.

4 years 1 month old

Here are some key highlights when it comes to cognitive development of a 4 years 1 month old child:

  • Is able to say his own name and phone number
  • Can count 10 or more objects
  • Can name at least 4 colours
  • Understands how objects work - for example, how to screw the lid onto a jar
  • Understands the concept of time - for example. things he did yesterday, is doing today and will do tomorrow
  • Knows his left from his right
  • Understands concepts like which is heavier, what is high and what is low
  • Is able to follow three-part commands; for example, "Remove your shoes, change your clothes, and wash your hands."
  • Sticks with an activity for a longer period of time (10-15 minutes)

Parenting Tips:

  • Do some cooking with your child. It's a great way to learn new words and understand maths concepts like ‘half’, ‘1 teaspoon’ or ‘30 minutes’. 
  • You can help your child improve his memory by playing simple games like spot the difference, Tray game or 'Under the cups'.
  • Play plenty of games with him that involve sorting and matching objects. Try sorting beads into different colours or shapes.
  • To help your 4 years 1 month old continue learning, just keep talking and asking questions, to get them thinking about what you are seeing and doing.

When to Talk to Your Doctor

If your child: 

  • Can't retell a favourite story
  • Does not understand three-part commands
  • Does not use “me” and “you” correctly
  • Does not understand "same" and "different"

Social and Emotional Development

By now, your little one is able to express his emotions a lot better. 

There is greater awareness about gender, so he will be more inclined towards playing gender-based games (little girls for example, want to play being ‘Mum’).

You may have also noticed that he is growing more curious about his body. He has begun to notice differences between girls and boys. He might even ask questions like, “Do girls and boys pee the same way?” Remember to answer honestly. 

Your child loves being around friends now, and will want to do things to impress his friends. There might even be a “best friend”.

Your little one's world is getting bigger. His interactions with his family and those around him will help to shape his personality and ways of thinking.

4 years 1 month old

Here are more social and emotional milestones you can expect at this age:

  • Wants to please friends and wants to be like his friends
  • Might have imaginary friends
  • More likely to agree to, and obey rules
  • Likes to sing, dance and act
  • Sometimes demanding and bossy, sometimes cooperative
  • Able to distinguish fantasy from reality
  • Begins telling small lies to get out of trouble, even though he knows it’s wrong

Parenting Tips:

  • If your child hasn't started preschool yet, you might want to consider it now. At preschool your child can make new friends, and develop skills like independence, responsibility and confidence. 
  • Your little one is interacting more with other children now, so play games that involve learning to share and taking turns.
  • When you play, say things like, "It’s my turn to roll the dice, after that it’s your turn", or "You share the red blocks with me, and I’ll share the blue blocks with you".
  • Remember to compliment your child when he shares his toys.
  • Teach your child how to be safe around strangers.

When to Talk to Your Doctor

If your child: 

  • Still throws big tantrums over small things or still clings or cries when you leave
  • Does not want to play with other children
  • Shows no interest in interactive games or make-believe
  • Seems very afraid, unhappy or sad a lot of the time
  • Still has problems eating, sleeping or using the toilet

Speech and Language Development

Your child’s language develops a lot this year, and you’ll notice that he loves telling stories, having conversations and asking questions.

His curious mind want to know the meaning of every word he sees. This is also part of how he learns more about the world he lives in.

At four years, your preschooler knows hundreds of words and can use 5-6 words or more in sentences. You and other people will be able to understand what she’s saying all the time.

4 years 1 month old

Here is what most children can do by this age:

  • Speaks clearly, and in sentences of more than five words
  • Can pronounce most sounds correctly, but may still have trouble with 's', 'w' and 'r' sounds
  • Tells stories
  • Sings a song or says a poem from memory
  • Knows some basic rules of grammar, such as correctly using “he” and “she” 
  • Uses future tense
  • Can say first and last name

Parenting Tips:

  • Reading together, telling stories, singing songs and reciting nursery rhymes all encourage your child’s talking, thinking and imagination.
  • Let your child choose what he or she wants to read. While reading with your child, stop and ask your child to guess what will happen next. Help him think, by asking questions about what’s happening in the story. 
  • Talk to him about what he does and where he has been. Ask him what he did and what he saw. Listen with interest when he talks to you.
  • Your little one might enjoy making up silly jokes at this age, especially toilet jokes. Keep calm and avoid overreacting to them. Over-reacting will often escalate unwanted behaviours.

When to Talk to Your Doctor

If your child: 

  • Does not speak clearly enough to be understood by other people
  • Doesn’t use sentences of more than three words.
  • Does not use “me” and “you” correctly
  • Is unable to say his first name and last name

Health and Nutrition

Depending on his age, size, and activity level, a 4 years 1 month old child will need about 1,200 to 1,800 calories a day.

Girls at this age range from 98 cm to 104 cm in height and 14.6 kg to 17.5 kg in weight. For boys, the range is 99.5 cm to 105.4 cm in height and 15 kg to 17.7 kg in weight.

Your child's daily food intake should ideally consist of:

Grain group 

Your child needs 5 ounces of grains every day, because grains contain carbohydrates, which provide energy.  One ounce of grains equals one slice of bread, 1 cup of ready-to-eat cereal, or 1/2 cup of cooked pasta or cooked cereal.

Milk and protein group

Your child needs 2-2.5 cups of milk/dairy every day for calcium, which gives your child strong teeth and bones. You can also substitute 1 cup of milk with 1 cup of yogurt or soy milk , 1½ ounces of natural cheese, or 2 ounces of processed cheese.

Meat and beans are great sources of protein for the growing child, and at this age he would need 2 servings of them each day. 1 serving equals 1-3 tablespoons of lean meat, chicken, fish, 4-5 tablespoons dry beans and peas or 1 egg

Fruit and vegetable group  

Fruits and vegetables are the primary sources of vitamins and minerals for your growing child. At this age, he needs 1.5 cups of vegetables and 1 - 1.5 cups of fruits every day.

One cup of vegetables equals 1 cup of cooked or raw vegetables, 2 cups of raw leafy greens, one large tomato, or two medium carrots. 

One cup of fruit equals 1 cup of fresh, frozen, or canned fruit, 1/2 cup dried fruit, one half of a large apple, one 8- or 9-inch banana, or one medium (4-inch diameter) grapefruit.

Parenting Tips:

  • Don't expect your child to clean his plate. A good practice is to let your child choose his own portion sizes. At this age, he should learn to know when he is full.
  • Offer different choices for your child to eat. Offer new textures, colours, and tastes. Make food appealing and fun for your child.
  • Limit processed food and sugary drinks.
  • The healthiest drinks are water and milk.
  • Be careful with foods that may cause choking like whole grapes, small, hard foods such as nuts and popcorn, and sticky foods such as marshmallows.
  • Set a good example of healthy eating for your child. Be a role model.
  • Make sure you serve food at regular meal and snack times and give kids enough time to eat.
  • Turn off the TV—especially at mealtimes.
  • Teach table manners such as not talking with a full mouth, using a napkin, and not reaching across another person's plate. 

Vaccinations and Common Illnesses:

By this age, your child should already have had these vaccinations:

  • four doses of diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DTaP) vaccine
  • three doses of inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV)
  • three or four doses of Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib) vaccine
  • one dose of measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine
  • three doses of hepatitis B vaccine (HBV), one dose of chickenpox (varicella) vaccine
  • two or three doses of rotavirus vaccine (RV)
  • four doses of pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCV, PPSV)
  • one or two doses of hepatitis A vaccine (HAV).
  • flu vaccine (to be done yearly)

Common illnesses to look out for are the common flu, chicken pox, measles, mumps and possible food allergies. 

When to Talk to Your Doctor:

If your child is underweight or small for his age, consult a paediatrician to know if this is a normal phase he will outgrow, or if it’s signalling a deeper issue.

We hope this article on four years 1 month old child development is useful in keeping track of your little one's milestones! 

Like we said, all children grow and develop at their own pace.  If you have any concerns regarding your little one's growth, do not hesitate to consult your paediatrician. 

Source: CDC, WebMD

Your child's previous month: 4 years

Your child's next month: 4 years 2 months

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Written by

Jaya