Children's Age-by-Age Guide: 3 Years Old

Play dates, puzzles, pretending and preschool can fill the life of a 3-year-old. Read on for more details about your youngster's current development.
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Physical Milestones

Your little one has grown into quite an athlete -- he can jump, climb, stand on one foot and hop, throw, catch, kick, and even pedal a tricycle. He'll gain about 5 pounds this year and grow 3 1/2 inches. He's gaining more control of his muscles; he can carry and maneuver objects as he desires and he'll begin to dress and undress himself. He is able to use a pencil and scissors and can draw recognizable figures.

Smart Strategy:

Allow your child the chance to test himself, knowing there will be bumps and bruises along the way. If you treat every fall with concern, he may learn to fear getting hurt, which will undermine the courage he needs to experiment. This is a great time to introduce toys that help him develop new skills so bring out the puzzles, musical instruments, and arts and crafts supplies.

Developmental Milestones

Friends start to become an important part of your child's life now as she discovers what social relationships are all about. She is learning to take turns and follow directions and likes to be part of a group and play games like Follow-the-Leader. If she hasn't already, it's likely that she'll potty train now. She's also interested in exploring her body parts and learning about differences between the sexes. She likes to get dressed and undressed -- sometimes with playmates!

Smart Strategy:

Your preschooler needs social contact with peers now so enroll her in preschool, take her to the park or playground regularly and arrange play dates with other kids. Allow her to be as independent as possible in grooming and hygiene; it's a perfect time to instill good habits.

Continued on page 2:  Emotional Milestones


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