What Should Your 3 Year Old Know? A Development List.

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I am sure many parents have searched this topic before, what should my child know at age _fill in blank__?

As a parent, you want to be reassured that they are on track and ticking off the necessary developments of childhood.

positive parenting connection: development list

How high should a 3-4 year old count to?

There is no absolute answer; every child develops at a different pace.

Every child has a different learning style and has different parents, careers and lifestyle factors to consider.

How high can your child count and does it matter?

After careful consideration of this question I felt the answer was, I don’t care and no it doesn’t matter.
I wish not to compare Dimples to averages of his age because he is anything but average.
He is unique and I have never fussed about rote rehearsal so no he can’t chant 1-30 or the alphabet like a robot, but yes he does know numbers and letters have meaning, how to spell his name and identify many numbers and letters individually. He can match letters or numbers to the correct picture of items and so forth so he learns visually with meaning.

I found myself searching developmental milestones of a 3-4 year old and had a light bulb moment. I stopped trying to compare and judge my son on his knowledge base and started to brainstorm my own list; I feel this “developmental list” should be the focus more so than the cognitive comparisons.

A 3-4 year old should know-
That they belong
That they are cherished and loved unconditionally
That they make their loved ones smile
Their full name, parents name and place of residence (for safety reasons)
How to laugh and giggle
How to have fun
That accidents happen
That books are enjoyable
How to explore and investigate
That it is alright to deviate from others (or the average)
That they are unique,
The family rules / boundaries
That they are safe and will be cared for
How to dream and imagine
That it is alright to cry
How to be kind
How to ask questions, many questions!
How to give cuddles
How to get messy
How to enjoy the outdoors
How to pull faces
How to sing silly songs
That fruit and veges are delicious
That sun hats and sunscreen are important
How to be creative
How to think outside the box
How to be a 3-4 year old

I think that it is more important to have a happy healthy child who knows they are loved and knows how to enjoy themselves then a child missing these things who can count to 100 at age 3 or 4!

So that is my list! What  would add to this list? Share below, we love to hear from you!!

This post was written by Renee Peters.

Connect with Renee at adventuresathomemom

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8 thoughts on “What Should Your 3 Year Old Know? A Development List.

  1. Love it! My buddy is almost 2 but i’ll keep this in mind for next year! :) I’ll add….To run up and down the hallway yelling as loud as they can

  2. Lovely post, I would add how to make choices, how to listen to the world around them, to play with language, to feel like they are capable, to ask questions, to begin to solve their own problems, to wash their hands before eating,
    to brush their teeth, I’m sure many more all so much more important than counting, writing, reading. The underpinning stuff is sometimes forgotten in a bid to be ready for school. Thanks for the reminder.

  3. Can I just say… I love this! I was looking up things a 3 year old should know & this is so nice to read after reading SO many pretentious comments on another blog! I will keep this in mind with my 3 year old! Nice list! :)

  4. I’d add:

    What to do if they are lost.

    My family has a plan – if they are lost at a store or museum, etc to find a lady who is a mom to help you. Tell that mom your name and that you lost your mommy (and tell mommy’s name). She will help you! (Really, is there any mom out there who would say NO to a kid who came up to her and said he was lost!?)

    We practice this a lot! I’m paranoid one of my twins will wander away at the grocery store or children’s museum some day!

  5. Its 7:38 in the morning and I was worried about my 3 yr old knowing what she needs to know! Thanks ladies I needed that reassurance she is pretty smart to be 3 but you guys lifted a lot of weight off my sholder, with todays technology whos not worried about there child getting the education they need. Thank you I hope everyones child is successful

  6. My dear friend’s grandson is 3 years and 3 months of age. His vocabulary is limited to fewer than 20 words, none of them clearly pronounced, even mama. His range of interests and activity is very limited and restricted mostly to running in repeated patterns and he does not feed himself. Both parents are adamant that making any judgement about his development is inappropriate and are against evaluations of any kind. He is not potty trained. The slightest suggestion by mom’s siblings that perhaps he needs some kind of screening or doctor’s attention is met with anger.

    Any suggestions?

    • Robert,
      It sound like you are concerned for your friends grandchild and looking to help them. This can be a sensitive situation. If the parents are reacting with anger/frustration I will venture a guess that they are feeling aware that their child may be struggling with certain milestones. While it is true that children reach certain milestones at their own pace, within a certain range it is important to assist and follow children so they may develop and adjust well. Helping these parents may mean offering to listen to them, perhaps expressing one time “I have concerns, I would you to hear me out because I care for you and your child, please hear me out and then do as you choose” or perhaps offering them some reading material could help? This post for example has some typical benchmarks for language development or perhaps if someone they trust such as a church or community leader could approach them and speak with compassion and offer help with intent to assist but not judge ? Many parents take their child to the pediatrician once a year for a general developmental check up and screening so issues such as a speech delay or motor difficulties can be addressed then. From your description a vocabulary of only 20 words at 36+ months would be considered very delayed so hopefully you can find a way to assist this family. Please feel free to follow up if you would like more educational materials to share with them as well.

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