Child development and milestones: your 46 month old

So big, so soon! What's your almost-four-year-old doing this month?

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You know how they say it won't be long before you see them leave the nest? Well, just looking at your 46 month old child (three years and 10 months), you might be thinking he's growing up way too fast.

Between three to four years old, your little one is at an age of wonder and boundless imagination. And in this period, you'll have the pleasure of watching him mature in many aspects. Here's what you can look forward to next.

46 Month Old Development and Milestones: Is Your Child on Track?

Physical Development

This is an age where your child's play skills will develop in leaps and bounds, so to speak.  A 46 month old child has the ability to hop and stand on one foot, for up to five seconds. 

You can rest a little easier too, knowing your child is able to climb up and down stairs without much mummy support. With each step, you probably can't help but feel a surge of pride, observing your child developing his independence. So, a word of advice: Don't forget to stock up on some tissues too.

Another development aspect to look out for would be their movement skills. Kicking balls around, together with the throwing (overhead) actions, will be no challenge for your preschooler. 

Before you know it, you might even need to dodge your child. With his new agility skills, he can now move forward and backward with ease.

That's not all. Take the time to marvel at your little one's improving motor skills. At 46 months, you child will prove adept at cutting square shapes, and using scissors. Parents might even notice a new artistic swagger with their child drawing circles, squares and people with two to four body parts. 

Parenting Tips:

  • With his new physical developments, you  can now freely introduce him to your favourite childhood games like hopscotch, and spend some quality hopping time together. 
  • It's a good time to start experimenting with some basketball matches, now that your child will be able to catch a bouncing ball most of the time. We're kidding about the basketball part, but bouncy balls will prove to be a hit for your almost-four-year-old.
  • You might want to boost your budding little painter's art supplies. And don't forget to collect keepsakes!

When to Talk to Your Doctor:

All kids develop differently and at their own pace. But if between three to four years old you notice you child is not doing the above activities as well as kids of the same age, you should talk to your family doctor.

Cognitive Development

A 46 month old child will now be able to look at a rainbow, and name all those beautiful colours accurately. 

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Engaging in imagination and fantasy is bountiful at this age. Most likely, parents will hear their children happily asking questions and pointing things out in their favourite books.

And mind you, if you forgot to read a favourite part, you won't miss being reminded. Your child's memory is developing together with a very strong sense of fascination for the world. This is the time you'll be inundated with all the "who" "what" and "why" questions.

As a parent you will witness your kid have a clearer sense of time, as well as understand the concept of same and different. In addition, your kid is also developing a sense of self: He understands that your mind and his mind are separate. He will be able to approach a problem from a single point of view now.

Parenting Tips:

  • Artistic endeavours should be welcomed and pursued at this stage to nurture your child's imagination and creativity. 
  • Keep reading books to your child at bedtime, and even together. Your child might even be able to read a simple book on his own, so look for those with bright pictures and easy words, and watch your little one shine!

When to Talk to Your Doctor:

You should talk to your family doctor if you have any concerns, or notice your child does not indulge in fantasy play, has trouble being separated from you or displays signs of difficulty with activities listed above.

Social and Emotional Development

As your child ventures into preschool, playing has an important role in developing their social and emotional skills.

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By this month, your child should show signs of interest in the world and will be curious about new experiences. This is the time he will enjoy making friends, being social in small groups and learning how to share. Don't be shy about arranging playdates for your child to enjoy.

He will also demonstrate empathy and growing independence, such as resisting help from parents in certain tasks. This can be be anything from buttoning his shirt to tying his shoelaces or even washing himself after using the toilet.

An increase in inventive fantasy play can be observed in this stage. It is also common at this point to hear him talk of "imaginary friends".

If your child exhibits curiosity towards other's or his own private parts, this is a normal part of development. At 46 months, children have a natural tendency to display childhood sexual behaviour

Parenting Tips:

Keep in mind, your 46 month old child may find it hard sometimes to distinguish between what is real and what is fantasy. He will likely ask you important questions, or look for clarification on his understanding of reality. Ensure he does not feel shunned for doing so. It's advised to feed simple information to their queries.

When to Talk to Your Doctor:

Some signs of concern include having challenging behaviour (lashing out uncontrollably), ignoring other children or resisting simple tasks. Ask a doctor if you have concerns about your child.

Speech and Language Development

This is the time where chit-chat picks up.

There might come a time where you'll wish for more quiet. But at 46 months old, your  child's language skills are picking up, and there's plenty for you to be excited about.

He is receptive to picking up his parents' chatter and will be able to form sentences of three to five words, if not more. In most situations, he will be able to communicate what he wants. Your child will have a good handle on complex sentences and grammar, although, he may sometimes struggle at this stage with sounds such as, s, r, z, th, v ,f.  

Instead of just listening to youreself tell the stories, you can look forward to your child telling some of his own! You may even hear him crack a joke or two. 

Parenting Tips:

  • Music and appropriate videos can be a great medium to help their development along.  Read poems and rhymes together to boost speech confidence.
  • Don't forget to provide lots of encouragement and praise to fuse motivation in your child at this time. Demonstrate signs of love and also be prepared to set and enforce some boundaries.

When to Talk to Your Doctor:

You should consult with you doctor if your child is showing signs of withdrawal, aggression or anxiety. Other reasons for concern include speech difficulties, such as being unable to follow verbal instructions or form simple sentences.

Health and Nutrition

A 46 month old child is able to enjoy a variety of healthy food. At this point, your child has probably developed his taste buds and would be able to outright refuse that broccoli. As your child develops his personality, he also develops his opinions. This may include behaviour like insisting on one food for days in a row. Or even suddenly refusing to eat a previously favourite food.

This is typical behaviour for children of this age group. 

To keep his diet balanced and healthy, try to offer food from each of the four food groups during every meal. That way, even if he is a fussy eater,  you will still be able to provide for his nutritional needs. Even small victories count! Some might say that developing a taste for  different food is a lifetime process. 

There are no vaccinations due this month. But it's still best to double check with your paediatrician and also check on immunisations such as the flu vaccine. 

Common illnesses around this age include the common cold, ear infections, chickenpox, measles, mumps, rubella, whooping cough as well as croup. Croup is common for children under five years of age, a condition which makes it hard for your little one to breathe. So be sure to keep an eye on your kids. If you hear them coughing, it's best to bring them straight to the doctor.

Without a doubt  it isn't hard to see why we call this period "the fast-growing years"! In this period, kids tend to put on average 2 to 3 kilograms per year and grow between 5 to 8 centimetres a year. Yes, that also means new clothes and shoes to accommodate your little tot's growth spurts.

Parenting Tips:

  • If your child is being difficult about his meals, it is best not to overreact or force them to eat. 
  • Keep a habit of encouraging variety in their food intake. For your child, it may take 15-20 repeated exposures before he accepts a particular food.

When to Talk to Your Doctor:

If you see troubling signs of weight loss or illness, seek a doctor's counsel immediately.

Your 46 month old child is always going to be your bundle of joy. Enjoy watching him make friends, make art, hop around and discover new food. These memories are best cherished day by day.

 

Source: WebMD

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