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.


- 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”)


- 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


- 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


- 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


“What's Going on in There? How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life?” by Lise Elliot.

“Caring for Your Baby and Young Child, Birth to Age 5 (5th Ed)” by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

"The Wonder Years: Helping Your Baby and Young Child Successfully Negotiate the Major Developmental Milestones" by the American Academy of Pediatrics.