Child Development and Milestones: Your 4-Year-and-8-Month-Old
What is your almost five-year-old doing this month?
Armed with a bag full of energy, tonnes of curious questions, and a keen desire to befriend one and all, your 4-year-and-8-month-old little one is a tiny human dynamo. He is also becoming more independent and self-confident.
But this is just the beginning of your 4-year-and-8-month-old child’s adventure. In this article, we’ll explore your child’s development and milestones so you can easily keep track of them.
At the same time, please keep in mind that children develop at their own pace and therefore, may hit various “milestones” at different times.
If you are worried in any way at all about your child’s development, it’s always best to talk to your paediatrician.
4-Year-and-8-Month-Old Development and Milestones: Is Your Child on Track?
You’ll definitely notice that your 4-year-and-8-month-old child is bursting with energy, so much so that it’s hard for you to keep up with him. Get ready for a high octane cardio most days, mums and dads, as you try to match your child’s energy levels!
From a clumsy toddler, your little one is now more graceful and assured in his movements. He would have also lost much of that baby fat by now and has longer, leaner limbs.
This is also a time when his confidence takes flight, making him more willing to try new outdoor activities. Your 4-year-and-8-month-old child might even be willing to ride his bike without trainer wheels.
To be guided on whether your child’s growth is average, here is the median height and weight* of kids who are 4 years and 8 months of age:
- Height: 107 cm (42.1 in)
- Weight: 17.7 kg (39 lb)
- Height: 105.6 cm (41.6 in)
- Weight: 17.3 cm (38.1 lb)
In addition, your little one should be able to do the following:
- Jump 12 to 15 cm (5 to 6 in) and land on both his feet with ease
- Stand on a single foot for more than 9 seconds
- Successfully attempt a somersault and halt
- Can now walk forward and backward easily
- Peddle his movable toys such as a tricycle
- Is able to throw a ball overhead, with aim
- Can draw objects, shapes, and letters
- Build tower of 10 or more blocks
- Thread small wooden beads on to a string
- Successfully climb up ladders and playground equipment
- Can use a fork and spoon
- Allow your child to explore his surroundings, meet new people and play outdoors as much as possible.
- Encourage your child to “conquer” new playground equipment which not just promotes his physical development, but will give him the satisfaction of trying something new.
- Let your child try to dress himself, especially in clothes with buttons. This helps fine motor skills development.
- Encourage your child’s artistic skills for fine motor skills and creativity development.
- It’s also a good idea to encourage him to use cutlery by himself so he become more adept with not just the tools, but also eating by himself.
- Introduce a fun sport like swimming to your child. Swimming is not just an essential life skill, but it helps develop those growing muscles and nurtures qualities like perseverance and determination in your child.
When to Talk to the Doctor
If your child:
- Cannot balance on one foot even for a few seconds
- Cannot hold a pencil or crayon
- Is unable to perform some kind of undressing (e.g. taking off pants) alone
Your 4 years 8 months old child is now able to carry out a proper conversation. In addition, his vocabulary is also growing by the day, a marker of cognitive development. Another sign is your child’s ability to understand his daily routine based on times (morning/ evening).
In addition to these, there are a few more crucial cognitive developments you’ll notice at this age.
- He can easily count up to 20 or even beyond
- Will ask questions about more complex phenomena: “What causes thunder?”
- Your child might be able to recite a simple poem or sing a favourite song correctly
- He understands the concept of “biggest” or “tallest”
- Loves to narrate stories, often embellishing them with extra details
- Might use an imaginary, “made-up” language
- Can easily understand the sequence of events at home: “wake up,” “brush your teeth,” “let’s go for a shower,” “let’s have breakfast.”
- Easily follows two- to three-step instructions
- Count numbers and repeat alphabets together, out loud. If he fumbles or stops in between, start again or let him lead.
- Answer your child’s questions with a question to promote critical thinking and problem solving abilities. For example, “Mummy, why do we need to wash our hair?” “Why do you think we should wash our hair, sweetheart?”
- Practice writing with your child using fun methods, like when you go to the beach, teach your child how to write him name on the sand.
- This is a great time to teach your child new poems, rhymes, and songs. It’s not just to prepare him for school, but also a great fun activity for you and your little one to enjoy together.
When to Talk to the Doctor
If your child:
- Is unable to identify any alphabets, words or numbers at all
- Cannot count beyond five
Social and Emotional Development
A very special milestone is your kid’s positive enthusiasm and desire to befriend others. You will also notice that your little is more aware of other people’s feelings and shows empathy and understanding.
In addition, you will notice a few other developments as well.
- Enjoys playing with others and is often seen trying to please his peers
- Might become a bit bossy and try to force his friends to follow his lead
- Also understands the concept of exaggeration and pride. Don’t be surprised to see him become a bit boastful and show-off his accomplishments.
- Insists on doing things by himself, but might get frustrated if things don’t go to plan
- At this stage, he will also enjoy role playing in his make-belief world
- Understands and follows the rules of a game
- Is more verbally expressive about his anger and frustration. He may not become physical but use words such as: “I don’t want to play here,” or “I don’t like this toy anymore”
- While tantrums will surely be less, stay patient and calm as you help your child deal with his frustrations.
- Encourage him to participate in group activities and mingle with his peers and friends. Give him the time to befriend others and if you notice him becoming aggressive, calmly teach him how to deal with conflicts without violence.
- Show empathy and kindness in your own behaviour, which your child is sure to emulate.
When to Talk to the Doctor
If your child:
- Is extremely shy or aggressive and doesn’t want to play with his peers
- Shows extreme anxiety when separated from a parent
Speech and Language Development
You’ll notice a great improvement in your 4 years 8 months old child’s speech and language. He can now use prepositions and possessives easily. This means words like “on” and “it” are common in his vocabulary. He can also answer the 5Ws and 1H (who, what, when, where, why, and how).
In addition, his speech is now almost completely intelligible and he can form complete sentences. There are more fascinating changes and developments.
- He can now modify and adapt the tone of his voice to express himself better. For instance, he might tell you “Mummy, can I have this ice cream?,” and ask his baby sister, “Want ice cream?”
- Can easily state his first name and even his surname
- He is able to identify most of family members and friends by name and even remembers a mobile phone number
- He can express emotions such as anger, happiness, and sadness more eloquently
The good news about your child turning 4 years and 8 months is that you do not need to humour him with baby talk. He can very well understand “adult” language as is. But to help him get there faster there are a few things you can do.
- Encourage speech development by singing rhymes, songs, and reciting poems with him. Spend or allocate time to do this activity together so there more engagement and interest.
- Speak to him as you would with any adult.
- Repeat the names of family members such as his siblings, parents, and even grandparents to help him improve his recollection abilities.
- Ask him about his day and encourage him to repeat his daily routines. You can ask him: “What did you do today?” “What did your friend Angela say to you about the tree?” “What did you like the most in your lunch today?”
- Indulge his love of imaginary worlds and encourage your child to narrate stories from this ‘world’ to you.
When to Talk to the Doctor
Just like other milestones, speech and language development also differ from child-to-child. While some may become more intelligible than others may take more time. However, if you spot the following red flags, it’s best to visit the doctor:
- If he cannot frame complete sentences or is unable to say his complete name
- He is unable to change his tone to express his emotions
- Still throws huge tantrums when unhappy, rather than attempting to verbalise his emotions
Health and Nutrition
Your child’s daily nutritional intake will increase as he or she continues to grow. Here’s a guide on how much your kid should eat on average daily.
- Boys: 1,631 calories
- Girls: 1,530 calories
Their nutrition should be composed of the following:
Everyone at any age needs protein. Even athletes who compete for championship load up on protein! This is because it helps the body to be strong by building, maintaining, and repairing tissues. For your kid, it helps heal scars and wounds faster like a superpower! Also, it helps your child grow into a healthy young man! Great sources include eggs, fish, lean meat, and beans.
Fruits are filled with vitamins and minerals that are essential to maintain a healthy immune system. Just think of this food group as your natural medicine. Remember to alternate different colors as well to not only make mealtimes fun but to also get different types of benefits.
Just like fruits, veggies are loaded with enzymes to keep the body strong. They help prevent excessive weight gain and protect your child from diseases. To get all the benefits, try mixing different types of veggies such as carrots, cabbages, eggplants, and potatoes.
Grains are one of the main sources of carbohydrates — which are essential to produce energy. As your child engages in different activities, he or she would need the energy to keep up with her interests. In picking your grains, you should always pick whole grains since these are the ones that still have the bran and germ — this is where most of the nutrients are stored.
In order to keep their bones healthy, they should load up on milk and dairy products. These contain calcium that helps the teeth and bones to become healthy as your child grows up. Great sources are cheese, yogurt, and butter. You can also have your little one eat ice cream from time to time!
To get an overview of how your child’s daily diet should look like, here’s a list.
- Protein: 28.8 grams
- Fruits: 3 cups
- Vegetables: 2 cups
- Grains: 4 ounces
- Milk/dairy: 20 ounces
Vaccinations and Common Illnesses
There are no vaccinations due this month. For a complete list of the immunisations your child should have by now, refer to this link.
Although your child has a complete record of immunisation, this doesn’t keep him away from common illnesses such as fever, cold, and cough. Fortunately, there are some home remedies parents can do.
Treating Common Illnesses
Being exposed to different places means being exposed to a lot of foreign matter. As your child builds a stronger immune system, it’s normal for him to her to catch these common illnesses. However, be mindful of his or her temperature. If it spikes up to 39°C, it’s best to talk to your doctor immediately.
Even a slight fever can cause discomfort to little ones. It can be disheartening to see them lose their energy in the day. That is why it’s important for your kid to stay hydrated and rested. Applying lukewarm compresses also helps in keeping the temperature down. Apply it on the forehead, armpits or groin area.
In treating the common cold, try to avoid buying over-the-counter meds before talking to your doctor. Also, keep him or her hydrated and rested. Watch out for body aches or very high fever as it might be a sign of influenza. Once his or her temperature rises up to 39°C, contact your doctor immediately.
Coughing to clear throat is normal so do not be alarmed. However, if it gets repetitive and gets accompanied by a runny nose or sneezing, it might be time to take medications. It’s also important to stay hydrated and rested.
To prevent your child from catching these common illnesses, it’s important to introduce proper hygiene. You never know how much a simple washing of hands can help fight the bad germs!
When to Talk to the Doctor
In addition to nutrients and vaccinations, your child also needs to be taken for regular doctor’s visit. Typically, he’ll be checked for temperature, which is ideal at 38º Celsius. However, if you notice the following red flags, its best to consult a doctor immediately
- If your child falls ills more often than usual (once every fortnight)
- You notice bruises or lumps in his body
- He complains of pains
(*Disclaimer: This is the median height and weight according to WHO standards.)
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