All children have their own timetable, but you can watch for certain developments in your 4-year-old. Celebrate with your child as he reaches or nears these milestones.

Child Reaching Milestones: Cognitive DevelopmentChild reaching milestone 4 years

  • Counts 10 or more objects
  • May be able to name basic shapes
  • Pays attention to a short story and answers questions about it afterward
  • Has an evolving sense of time; understands periods of the day and seasons and may know some days of the week and have a concept of hours and minutes
  • Begins to have a concept of money
  • Understands how some household objects function (appliances, tools)
  • May show interest in particular topics (art, animals)
  • Begins to learn alphabet; may recognize some letters
  • Repeats his name and address
  • Better understands the difference between fantasy and reality
  • Follows unrelated commands (“Bring me the book and wash your hands”)

Child Reaching Milestones: Motor Development

  • Able to stand on one foot for 10 seconds or longer
  • Hops; tumbles; does somersaults
  • Swings
  • Climbs well
  • May be able to skip
  • Copies triangles, squares, circles
  • Draws people with bodies
  • Prints some letters (possibly his name) but probably not perfectly
  • Dresses and undresses himself
  • Correctly uses child-safe utensils but still needs help with cutting food
  • Can manage toileting

Child Reaching Milestones: Communication Development

  • Remembers large parts of stories
  • Tells stories rich with details
  • Speaks in full sentences (more than five words)
  • Uses future tense
  • Uses the same grammar as family
  • Recites his name and address
  • Rhymes words
  • Says most sounds clearly except, often, l, s, r, v, z, ch, sh, and th

Child Reaching Milestones: Social Development

  • Has favorite friends; may have a “best friend” 
  • Wants to please friends
  • Wants to be like friends
  • May become more agreeable to rules
  • Learns that different people have different rules
  • May develop fears
  • Aware of genitalia; learning about privacy
  • Curious about birth and death
  • Shows pride in accomplishments
  • Can be both demanding and cooperative
  • Shows increasing independence