3 year old | EWmums.com

Developmental Milestones for 3 Year Olds

Congratulations parents, you've survived the terrible twos!

Your little one isn't so little anymore, and they've now grown into what is commonly dubbed as 'the magic years'; in which your child begins to truly come into their own, and they're beginning to finally listen to you. Plus, their imagination is starting to run wild.

3 Year Old Milestones from EWmums

Your child will now continue to grow and develop in may ways before the age of 4. While kids may reach certain developmental milestones at different times, there are some key ones that they're likely to achieve in the coming year.

Physical Milestones

A.k.a. their gross motor and fine motor skills. At this age, your preschooler will be about all things physical, and will no doubt love to jump, skip, run, climb and dance. So much so, that anything that doesn't require them to sit for too long they'll love to join in with. But understand this - all of that energy will run out eventually, leaving you with one tired 3 year old at the end of the day.

By or at three years of age, your child should be able to:

  • Balance for a little while on one foot
  • Navigate the stairs quite easily
  • Walk in a straight line
  • Pedal a tricycle
  • Roll, bounce and even catch a ball
  • Button up their clothing
  • Hold a pencil with the right grip
  • Cut with scissors
  • Stand, walk and run on tiptoes
  • Use a spoon and fork correctly
  • Climb a ladder and trees
  • Bend over without falling
  • Language Milestones

    Don't panic if your child is still not very talkative yet - that will no doubt change soon, and you'll probably see rapid language development in them.

    While not all sounds won't be perfect pronunciation, you should be able to understand what your child is saying, and a lot of the times you'll find yourself answering the question 'why?' Your child will be beginning to grasp the future tense, but may still muddle up their tenses when communication e.g. 'I goed' - but don't point out how wrong it is. Instead, just repeat what they said correctly and they'll soon pick it up themselves.

    At this stage, they'll also be able to respond to simple questions that identify emotions, like 'why are you crying' or 'what's happened'. And by three years of age, your child should be able to do the following:

  • Say their name and age
  • Say between 250 to 500 words
  • Answer simple questions
  • Tell stories
  • Speak in short sentences
  • Speak clearly
  • Cognitive Milestones

    A.k.a. their ability to process thoughts, their memory and the ability to learn new information.

    At 3 years old, your little one will be asking a LOT of questions; 'why is the sky blue?', 'why is the grass green?', 'where does the moon go?' for example. You'll hear question, after question, after question... And while it may be a little annoying at times, asking these questions is perfectly normal and encouraged.

    Here's what your little one should be able to do at this age:

  • Correctly name colours
  • Understand what same and different mean
  • Follow 3 part instructions
  • Remember parts of a story
  • Understand time better
  • Sort objects by shape and colour
  • Complete puzzles suitable for their age
  • Pretend and imagine more creatively
  • When it comes to your child's overall education, now's a good time to start looking around at what preschools are on offer. After all - time spent in a classroom is a great environment for your child to develop social skills, and establish a routine, too.

    Emotional and Social Milestones

    At this age, you'll notice your little one becoming more independent both physically, and emotionally. They'll probably have fewer tantrums, and won't create as much fuss when you leave them with a babysitter, or at school.

    Plus, they'll also be becoming more social; cooperating and communicating with their friends, taking turns and even demonstrating problem-solving skills.

    At the age of 3, your child should be able to:

  • Recognise and imitate parents and friends
  • Show affection for their friends and family that they're familiar with
  • Understand what's 'mine', and 'his/hers'
  • Show different emotions, including sad, angry, happy or even bored
  • Not only that,but you may notice your child's imagination is going into overdrive - which can be both good and bad. Good because it means they're becoming more imaginative, interested and involved but also bad, because they may develop unnecessary fears.

    Warning Signals

    Like we always say, children develop and grow at their own pace, so don't worry too much if your child hasn't reached all of these milestones by the age of 3.

    However, you should notice gradual progression as they get closer to 4 years, and if you don't - there may be possible developmental delays. If any of the below occur (or don't), seek advice from your child's doctor.

  • Inability to throw a ball overhand
  • Jump in place
  • Ride a tricycle
  • Frequently falling or having difficulty using stairs
  • Unable to hold a pencil or crayon between their thumb and fingers
  • Has trouble scribbling, and can't copy a circle
  • Unable to use a sentence with more than 3 words in
  • Persistent drooling and difficulty talking
  • Experiences extreme separation anxiety
  • Doesn't play with other kids and non-family members
  • Avoids making eye contact
  • Doesn't comprehend simple commands
  • Resists getting dressed, sleeping or visiting the bathroom
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