Caring for your 4-year old

At four, children will begin to pursue playmates and enjoy playing together. Their fine motor skills accommodate more detailed handiwork like holding a pencil properly to draw a face or carefully cutting soft cheese with a dull knife. Gross motor skills facilitate successful climbing, jumping, throwing and catching. They can concentrate, remember, express themselves more clearly and seek adult approval. They recognize most objects by shape, color and size but may confuse associated labels. Curiosity causes risk-taking. They will be able to spend brief periods away from parents without misery.

Developmental characteristics:

  • Learns by first-hand exploration of the world.
  • Begins showing curiosity about people in the community and world.
  • Can demonstrate a 15-20 minute attention span in a group.
  • Starts to comprehend conflicts can be solved by talking.
  • Can speak complex sentences and knows own age, name and town.
  • Can make behavior choices and follow three-step instructions.
  • May attempt dangerous acts because unaware of physical limitations.
  • Moves fast, can be boisterous, bossy and belligerent.
  • Imaginative and demonstrates interest in fantasy and super heroes.
  • Enjoys finding solutions to problems in imaginative ways.
  • Can hop on one foot, do somersaults and catch a bouncing ball.
  • Can use scissors, markers, pencils, small paintbrushes, clay and eyedroppers.
  • With close supervision, can learn how to slice a cucumber with a small paring knives).
  • Prone to forget rules unless re-enforced daily.
  • Still has confusion between reality and fantasy.

Supporting actions and activities:

  • Capitalize on curiosity with planned demonstrations.
  • Introduce multi-cultural and multi-generational experiences.
  • Encourage dramatic play.
  • Provide opportunities to sequence objects.
  • Teach skills like, mashing boiled egg yolks, rolling cookie dough into balls, peeling eggs, scraping carrots and cracking eggs.
  • Talk about imagined dangers versus real dangers.
  • Tell stories with vivid illustrations and rhyming words.
  • Match items like lids and jars, bottles and corks and branches and leaves.
  • Encourage drawing pictures and accompany games and stories with props.
  • Introduce 12-piece puzzles.
  • Practice tying shoelaces and buckling shoes.

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