Developmental Characteristics of Children
The Four Year Old Child

"Energetic" and "imaginative" best describe a 4-year-old child
    • often impatient and silly
  • they discover humor and spend a lot of time being silly and telling you "jokes."
  • language may range from silly words such as "batty-watty" to curse words
  • may laugh excitedly and loudly at the same time
  • imagination suddenly grows and they may start to have trouble telling what is real and what is pretend
  • may begin to tell crazy stores and exaggerate a lot.  

Four-year-olds feel good about the things they can do

  • show self-confidence, and want to try new things 
  • they race up and down stairs or around corners, go fast on tricycles or scooters, and pull wagons at full speed 
  • you still need to watch them closely because they think that they can do more than they really can and are may try some crazy and dangerous tricks.

Four year olds enjoy playing with other children

  • they take turns and share (most of the time);
  • may still be rather bossy
  • they often seek out adult approval and
  • understand and obey simple rules (most of the time)
  • when playing, four year olds will change the rules of games as he/she goes along 
  • you will find that they like to talk and carry on long conversations and constantly ask why
  • they are capable of feeling jealous and proud of themselves 
  • enjoy showing off and bragging about their things. a
  • are often afraid of the dark and monsters and begin to understand danger – that is why they are really afraid of things sometimes

Preschool Behavior – What to Expect

Parents often wonder whether the behavior of their young child is normal. Sometimes parents can expect too much from a very young child.  The following are some of the behaviors and skills that you can expect from your child.

  1. Becoming independent - Preschoolers will seek out more and more ways to do things for themselves.  Each child should have many chances to pick and decide what they want to do.  By giving choices, adults admit that each child already knows his or her likes and dislikes.  The preschool child is still very dependent upon adults to help them safely deal with their rising desire for freedom.
  2. Understanding others -  The preschooler is starting to learn about the feelings of other children.  They are just starting to learn about sharing toys.  They are not able to understand things from another child’s view.  Four year old Mary does not understand why four year John is grabbing her toys.  Getting along and sharing in children grows as they reach school age.
  3. Thinking and expressing -  The preschooler is starting to form a picture in their head where a word or an object stands for something that is not there. The ability to talk to you is quickly growing. They repeat words to practice different sounds.  It is not intended to make sense or share ideas. You will see several children happily playing and talking at the same time about different subjects.
  4.  Exploring and discovering – Preschoolers are alert and curious. They need freedom and time to explore many different things.  Exploring at this age is more important than creating something that makes sense.  If they give the wrong answer to a question, gently correct them so that they can gain understanding. 
  5. Developing muscle control – The young child’s movements are focused on getting some thing that they want.  They are often woobly.  Small and large muscles need time to grow stronger.  The adult can watch for signs that a child is ready for more difficult moves and provide the child with different ways to explore and practice movement.
Amy Fennell,
Feb 19, 2015, 12:51 PM