Child Development and Milestones: Your 3-Year-and-11-Month-Old
Your 47 month old has just completed their first step to understanding life.
Blink and you’ll miss it: that little baby inside you almost four years ago is now beginning to understand his sense of identity and confidently learning how to move properly. Yes that’s right, your child is now all of three years and 11 months old (just one month shy of four!). Let’s find out what he’s up to this month. Here are his 3-year-and-11-month-old development and milestones.
3-Year-and-11-Month-Old Development and Milestones: Is Your Child on Track?
At 3 years and 11 months, your little preschooler is no stranger to using his hands for precise movements. You’ll find that they’re comfortable turning their hands together with door knobs, so don’t be shocked if they find a way to enter your room.
Your child would already know how to hold a pencil. At this point though, he actually understands how to use writing instruments meaningfully.
He’s able to copy shapes, print some upper case letters, and draw a picture of mum and dad with two to four body parts. At this point they can even complete drawings by colouring them in a certain direction or cutting them out (using child-friendly scissors of course).
You’ll be even more impressed to know that he can manipulate tiny objects, too. Even if he isn’t an expert reader, your child can flip single pages in books. As time passes, his skills will also improve by being able to tie a knot and not relying on you to help him with buttons and zippers to get dressed.
At this stage, your preschooler is growing up really quickly. Girls should weigh around 15.7 kg (34.6 lbs) and measure around 100.5 cm (39.6 inches), while boys should weigh around 16.2 kg (35.7 lbs) and measure around 101.9 cm (40.1 inches).
Another significant achievement other than using his fingers is the ability to use his limbs better.
For instance, your preschooler is now able to walk and run – a lot. As he practices stepping forward and backward, walking swiftly and running should become second nature. Mums, do try and provide a safe space where he can run, like a grass patch. He may enjoy his time running around the house, but with kids, anything can become a hazard.
Even inclined surfaces are no match, as your child is able to step one foot forward and the other upward – without needing handrails. In fact, his legs are also strong enough to hold his own weight, such that they can balance themselves with one foot for five seconds – while standing still or hopping.
With his stronger legs, your child is now able to kick balls back and forth and even jump from a height while landing on both feet. His arms are no exception either. He can dextrously grip things, climb onto furniture and catch ball mid-air on the spot. The best part? After a few rounds of practice, your child can use a small bicycle on his own with confidence.
- Challenge him to use the slide or the swing in the playground on his own. Your child will feel safe and become more confident when he rises to your challenges.
- Make an obstacle course or maze at home using hoops, cones and tables. It will it be tons of fun, and your child will better understand what the words “over”, “under”, “around”, “up” and “down” mean as he manoeuvres his way around the course.
- Turn on music that your child likes and ask him to try out different movements with you. Your child will enjoy the time dancing and will be able to describe the different ways he can move.
- Let them play around with LEGO or building blocks so they can use their hands and fingers. Your child will understand that he can use his hands to turn his thoughts and ideas into reality.
- Provide scissors, crayons, liquid glue and other art materials so he can draw, cut and paste. These activities will train him to use his thumb and forefinger while he is letting his imagination go wild.
When to Talk to Your Doctor:
Does your child struggle with:
- throwing a ball overhand, jumping on the spot or using their tricycle?
- walking up the stairs or falling most of the time?
- gripping a crayon properly and using it to copy shapes?
- stacking four blocks?
- handling small objects?
Having trouble with doing any of the above could be a sign that something’s wrong. Do check with your paediatrician if you see any of the above happening often over a week.
As your child lacks experience, not only will she seek to explore her surroundings, but she will also ask you a lot of questions, like “Why do dogs have fur?” Oftentimes you may not have the answer to her questions. But even though children’s unending curiosity can be irritating, parents, rest assured that this is a normal part of growing up.
Other than asking questions, your child will also be far more attentive to their surroundings, having an attention span of 8-12 minutes. With enough guidance, she will slowly begin to understand how certain ideas and concepts work. For instance, she knows the importance of different parts of the day and what time is. She can also count from zero, and understand what counting represents.
Your 3-year-and-11-month-old child’s memory would have also improved tremendously. She is able to distinguish what different objects are and what different pictures mean.
In fact, she can name different colours and pick out patterns in things that have the same look or colour and then group them accordingly. It goes without saying that with enough exposure, she will seek out and overcome age-appropriate puzzles.
Another telltale sign of your child’s growing brain is, surprisingly, your child’s ability to lie after a few days. No, not the kind that sabotages other people, but rather the opposite: lying to protect themselves or others (“It wasn’t me!”). Don’t be alarmed: Remember that this is all part of normal development, and that there are ways to help your child for the better.
The most exciting part is that preschoolers are using their imagination as a lens to view the world. Making up stories, fantasies and being a part of that pretend-play (or having an “imaginary friend”) over time is evidence that she is developing normally. They’ll even share their story, or parts of their story with you.
There are pros and cons to this imaginative lens, though. Pretend-play does make life fun and engaging, but too much of it isn’t a good thing. She may end up believing in things that aren’t actually there – like a monster under her bed. Only very few can distinguish between reality and make-believe.
- Provide a variety of things with different textures like feathers, popsicle sticks and beads. Then, ask your preschooler to make a picture and describe what each item feels like. Doing so will help her learn what opposite things are.
- Ask her if she wants to join you in the kitchen and let them help you measure ingredients. Children can understand that solids and liquids are different. They will also make connections between quantity, numbers and measurement.
When to Talk to Your Doctor:
If your child is unable to comprehend simple concepts like counting or what common objects are, it may be a sign of an underlying condition. Other telltale signs including being unable to understand easy instructions or refusing to dress properly, sleep or use the restroom.
Social and Emotional Development
Your 3-year-and-11-month-old child will also mature emotionally. The main sign that shows his emotional growth would be less frequent outbursts while at preschool or at home.
With time, your preschooler will also begin caring and thinking for family and friends, maybe by hugging them intentionally or doing something good for them. He will also become better at expressing what he’s feeling, changing his facial expressions to show that he’s sad, angry, happy or bored.
In addition to that, your child will also understand how to better interact with the people around him. This is clear when he works together with his peers and knows the importance of taking turns. Your child will also know how different people have different belongings (what’s “mine”, “his” and “hers”) and not steal them to prevent arguments. Even if they do occur, he might attempt to resolve these issues as they arise.
Other than following social decorum, 3-year-and-11-month-olds also recognise how their parents and friends behave and can mimic their actions. Increased curiosity about the world will make him open to new experiences.
- Ask your preschooler to share one good or special thing about his day at preschool. Questions that prompt him to explain things will encourage him to be more open in sharing his experiences with you.
- Host gatherings or parties so that your preschooler can play with his peers, such as in a playground. Interacting with others will help reinforce the need to take turns in an activity (e.g. a swing, or a slide).
- Compliment him on his strengths. Your child will become more confident in tackling activities on his own.
When to Talk to Your Doctor:
If your child appears distant from family and friends or refuses to interact with them, then it’s best to have a chat with the paediatrician.
In particular, take note if your child:
- is still scared of new places and people
- isn’t interested in games where they can interact with others
- doesn’t use their imagination to pretend-play
- isn’t getting better in controlling their tantrums
- distances himself when other kids are playing
- refrains from seeing people eye-to-eye when interacting with them
- doesn’t react to people who aren’t family
Speech and Language Development
In addition to understanding their environment better, your 3-year-and-11-month-old child can also verbalise her thoughts. She is able to recite her name and age and speak understandably – even to people she hasn’t met before.
With a vocabulary of at least 500 words, it’s not just sounds she’s making, but real, purposeful sentences with at least five words. Ask her an easy question and you’ll be sure to gain a meaningful response. Or better yet, ask your child how preschool was. She’s now able to compose a short story and narrate what she saw or felt. If you further ask how she felt about her experience, it will help your child sort what other people are feeling (angry, happy, sad) and her reaction to these emotions.
- Ask your preschooler to “show and tell” the things, places and people that she likes. Letting her talk about the things they love can help them improve her vocabulary and make her more confident in speaking.
- Ask your preschooler to explain to you the story, reason or meaning behind her drawing. Doing so will help her know that shapes and figures can be used to symbolise what she is thinking of.
When to Talk to Your Doctor:
Consult your paediatrician, if your child:
- can’t form sentences with at least three words
- doesn’t understand the difference between “you” and “me”
- doesn’t stop drooling or drools most of the time and struggles to talk
Health and Nutrition
As your child grows bigger, his eating habits have also improved, as he no longer requires your help to feed him.
In fact, he is open to trying all sorts of different food, so offer a variety of textures and tastes with each meal. Your meal plan should include food from the following categories:
Your child’s daily food intake should ideally consist of:
Does your child love eating pasta noodles? Use it to your advantage – at this stage, your child needs plenty of carbohydrates from grains like pasta, rice, or bread. Every day, your child needs 4-5 ounces of grains, 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.
Your child is growing seemingly every day now! To fuel his/her growth, he/she needs protein. Meat is a great source of protein for your growing child, and so are plant-based sources like beans or tofu. At this age your child needs 3-4 ounces of protein 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. They contain nutrients such as potassium, vitamin A and C, and folate, as well as dietary fibre. At this age, your child needs 1-1½ cups of fruits and 1½ cups of vegetables every day.
Your child is not so dependent on milk anymore, but dairy remains an important source of nutrition. 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.
Your little one may be a picky eater, but there are certain things to remember, too:
- Don’t pressure your child to eat the food he doesn’t like. Be patient – it takes a lot of tries before he likes what he eats.
- Don’t serve food that can become choking hazards like grapes, candy, nuts, seeds, marshmallows and large chunks of meat.
In terms of calories, your little one’s daily nutritional needs are about:
- Boys: 1,570 Kcal/day
- Girls: 1,468 Kcal/day
Vaccinations and Common Illnesses
Although your 3-year-and-11-month-old would have developed some immunity by now, he is still vulnerable to a variety of common illnesses. Keep an eye out for diseases like hand foot and mouth disease, stomachaches, headaches, the flu, sore throat, measles, rubella and sinus infections. To keep these illnesses and potential diseases at bay, do ensure that your child has received vaccination for:
- Diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough (DTaP)
- polio (IPV)
- Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR)
- Chickenpox (Varicella)
- Influenza (yearly flu shots)
When to Talk to Your Doctor:
- Liking only one type of food is normal. But do consult a specialist if he likes to eat anything else that isn’t part of the five food types above.
- Talk to a doctor if you are worried that your child is getting heavier too quickly. Keep in mind that it may be too hasty to assume that he is becoming obese. Furthermore, children often become heavier before their growth spurts.
- If your child has a condition that persists for a week or more, or has fever or rashes, do consult a doctor as these could hint at a far more serious condition.
*Parents, do remember that different children grow at different rates, so it’s okay if they don’t behave the same way as other kids do. Still, if you are worried that something is amiss, do consult a doctor or paediatrician as they will be able to guide you further.