Child Development and Milestones: Your 3-Year-and-7-Month-Old
Your precious little one is going to be four in just a few months!
You're looking at your little one wondering how on earth did 43 months (that's three years and seven months) pass by so quickly! In the blink of an eye, your child has gone through so many stages of growth. A 3-year-and-7-month-old child is at the beginning of the magic years – because it might seem magical to you that your child is finally obeying your instructions, but also at the same time, making magic happen in their imaginations!
So what can you expect to happen during these magical years?
*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.
3-Year-and-7-Month-Old Development and Milestones: Is Your Child on Track?
Your child will be moving around all the time. You will see him confidently walking up and down stairs with alternating feet (and here is probably where you will have to caution them not to run!).
He will be able to climb too, so you will want to make sure all furniture is bolted down. For a 3-year-and-7-month-old child, the outdoors will be the best place to take him for him to run, ride a tricycle (or even a bicycle) and play catch with him.
You might even see him tumbling all over the place and start doing a few gymnastic moves!
In terms of fine motor skills, a 3-year-and-7-month-old child should also easily be able to mimic you when building a pattern of blocks. He should be able to copy exactly using the same colours, the correct number and the same order of blocks.
He is also more comfortable with using tools like crayons and pencils. So if you were to draw a square on a piece of paper, your child should be able to copy it exactly.
- Bring him to a kiddie gym often to let his imagination go wild and also to encourage the full range of his physical movements.
- If he has a strong interest in gymnastics, enrol him in a gymnastics class for flexibility and safety training. Or simply expose him to different types of surfaces and get him to practice his balancing skills.
- He still won't have a mature grasp on how dangerous heights can be – so keep him away from high places as he might be tempted to jump.
- It is a great time to teach him how to ride a bicycle without training wheels!
- Now is a good time to buy more colouring books with slightly more intricate designs. Get your child interested in creative activities to hone his creativity.
- Expose your child to different art and materials, from simple clay pottery to painting with water colours or drawing with crayons.
When to Talk to Your Doctor:
If your child can't do the following, then be sure to consult a doctor:
- Unable to grasp or hold a crayon
- Unable to hold a pair of scissors properly
These problems could indicate a physical development lag. Consult with your paediatrician to rule out problems with muscle tone or gross motor skills.
During this period of their development, your little one will be asking a lot of "why" questions. Curiosity will be the main characteristic of a 3-year-and-7-month-old child.
He will be able to correctly name familiar colours, understand the concept of what is same and different, and he will love to play pretend and fantasise more creatively. He will also believe magic is real – so don't let anyone burst their bubble just yet!
One of the best parts of this development stage is that he will be able to understand and follow multi-part commands like "Go to the fridge, take out an apple and put it on the table." He will also be able to remember more stories or TV shows, understand time (yesterday, tomorrow), do simple counting and more puzzles. He will also be more aware of different textures.
He may develop a preference to clothing he likes or dislikes, and at the same time, be able to dress himself the right way.
Interestingly, your child might impress you with his ability to stick to an activity even when distractions are present. This is the start of concentration developing, a useful skill he will need when he starts school.
- Start letting your child "help" around the house. Ask him to bring you things or put things away.
- Be patient with his "why" questions. You might get a "why" right after answering them on another "why". This is where you will have to brush up on your own general knowledge.
- Ensure the TV shows or stories they are being exposed to are age-appropriate. Since he is like an overly-eager sponge during this stage, it is a great time to introduce slightly more sophisticated, educational materials.
- Take your child shopping for clothes and let him pick out what he likes.
- Let your child concentrate on the task at hand whenever he seems fully immersed in it to encourage deeper concentration.
When to Talk to Your Doctor:
If your 3-year-and-7-month-old has an extremely short attention span or does not ask questions, then it's best to speak to a paediatrician.
Social and Emotional Development
As your 3-year-and-7-month-old is becoming more independent, you might find him or her wandering off, muttering to themselves. This is totally normal. 43 month olds often like to make long speeches to themselves and this is part of their imagination going wild.
It is also common to find your child playing alone for about 20 minutes or more, but he will still come to you for attention and comfort whenever he needs it.
He is also sensitive to how others feel at this stage and might be able to read non-verbal cues in situations a little better. This is where your child is forming his identity piece by piece, so he might become very strong-willed or rebellious.
But the good thing is that as he is preparing for the next stage of life. You will see him participate more in group activities, albeit for a short period of time.
- Take him out to engage in more social activities, preferably those with a lot of teamwork involved.
- Explain the different emotions to your child, even more complex emotions like jealousy, to help him acclimatise to whatever he might be feeling or picking up on.
- Let him play alone whenever he is at home and encourage more creative play like dress up or make believe.
- If he is presenting a long soliloquy in front of you, listen and pay attention to what he is saying and offer praises from time to time.
When to Talk to Your Doctor:
If your child continues to experience extreme separation anxiety or does not play with other children and respond to non-family members, then it may be time to consult the doctor.
Speech and Language Development
Now your child will be able to speak about 250 to 500 words and string together short sentences of about six consecutive words. Soon, he will also be able to create stories of his own to tell you.
He will be able to answer simple questions like his age, name and where certain things are with clarity. Most children of this age will be able to form complete sentences within the next few months.
- Let your child tell your his stories and don't interrupt him when he is speaking.
- Teach your child new words by exposing him to flash cards, as well as speech-related games and media.
- Start telling your kid stories, so he can also learn how to create stories of his own.
When to Talk to Your Doctor:
If your child is not able to use simple sentences yet, and still confuses simple words like “me” and “you”, then it is possible that he or she could be going through a language or speech problem. Bring him to a doctor or speech expert who will suggest therapy or activities to help your little one.
Health and Nutrition
A healthy child's height at this age should be around 99.6 cm (39.2 inches) for boys, or 98.2 cm (38.7 inches) for girls, while weight should be around 15.5 kg (34.2 lbs) for boys, or 15 kg (33.2 lbs) for girls.
Many children would have already formed food preferences at this point and you will also notice that he or she has a certain amount of food they eat during each meal. Allow your child to eat according to his or her appetite, never forcing them to finish everything on the plate or eat more than they wish to. This will prevent unhappy meal times.
Your child's daily nutritional needs are about:
- Boys: 1,541 Kcal/day
- Girls: 1,443 Kcal/day
Your child's daily food intake should ideally consist of:
Grains, whether from rice, bread or pasta, are your child's primary source of carbohydrates. He/she needs 4-5 ounces every day. 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. Choose whole grain sources over refined ones, as whole grains are high in nutrients and fibre.
Beef, fish, chicken, beans, tofu and peanuts are all great sources of protein for your growing child. At this age he/she needs 3-4 ounces daily. 1 ounce equals 1 ounce of meat, poultry or fish, ¼ cup cooked dry beans, or 1 egg.
- Fruits and Vegetables
If you're struggling with a picky eater, getting fruits and vegetables into your child's diet can be a challenge. Keep trying and use every trick in your parenting arsenal: hide veggies in sandwiches or pasta, cut them into fun shapes, and make sure they see you eating veggies too. Fruits and vegetables are the primary sources of vitamins and minerals for your growing child. At this age, he/she needs 1-1½ cups of fruits and 1½ cups of vegetables every day.
At this stage, dairy is still an important source of nutrition for your little one, though not as important as it was before. Your little one needs around 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.
- You might have a fussy eater on your hands with very specific food preferences. He might even change his mind about his preferences from day to day – and that's totally okay! Continue to offer a variety of healthy food. Let your child choose his or her favourites for the day. Then, try offering them the food they didn't choose a day or two later.
- Give only small amounts of a new food for your child to taste alongside food he or she already likes.
- Turn off the TV! Young children are easily influenced by TV ads especially when it comes to unhealthy food like sugary cereals, fast food, and sweets.
Vaccinations and Common Illnesses
Ideally, your little one should have all of his/her vaccinations complete by this age. To find out what vaccinations your child should have got up to now, and check if this schedule is up-to-date, click here.
As a reminder, your child should already have the following vaccinations:
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
If your child is missing any of these vaccinations, don't hesitate to consult your doctor.
When to Talk to Your Doctor:
If your child shows the following symptoms, it's a good idea to consult a doctor about it
- If your child is not gaining any weight. Children at this age should be going through a growth spurt.
- Has a fever over 39 degrees Celsius
- Has unusual bruises, bumps or rashes
- Complains constantly of headaches or other aches
- Has been vomiting or has diarrhoea for more than two days
Have fun with your 43 month old child! It's a really great time after the terrible twos. Yes, at times you might feel like you have a threenager on your hands, but you're going to have so much fun with your little one!
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