Child development and milestones: your 43 month old
Your precious little one is going to be four in just a few months!
You’re looking at your little one wondering how on earth did 43 months (that’s three years and seven months) pass by so quickly! In a blink of an eye, they have gone through so many stages of growth. A 43 month old child is at the beginning of the magic years – because it might seem magical to you that your child is finally obeying your instructions but also at the same time, making magic happen in their imaginations!
So what can you expect to happen during these magical years?
*Please note that development milestones vary from child to child. If you have any concerns regarding your little one’s growth, do not hesitate to consult your paediatrician.
43 Month Old Development and Milestones
Your child will be moving around all the time. You will see them confidently walking up and down stairs with alternating feet (and here is probably where you will have to caution them not to run!).
They will be able to climb too, so you will want to make sure all furniture is bolted down. For a 43 month old child, the outdoors will be the best place to take them for them to run, ride a tricycle (or even a bicycle) and play catch with them.
You might even see them tumbling all over the place and start doing a few gymnastic moves!
In terms of fine motor skills, a 43 month old child should also easily be able to mimic you when building a pattern of blocks. They should be able to copy exactly using the same colours, the correct amount and in the same order of blocks.
They are also more comfortable with using tools like crayons and pencils. So if you were to draw a square on a piece of paper your child should be able to copy it exactly.
- Bring them to a kiddie gym more often to let their imagination go wild and also to encourage the full range of their physical movements.
- If they have a strong interest in gymnastics, enrol them in a gymnastics class for better flexibility and safer training. Or simply expose them to different types of surfaces and get them to practice their balancing skills.
- They still won’t have a mature grasp on how dangerous heights can be – so keep them away from high places as they might be tempted to jump.
- It is a great time to teach them how to ride a bicycle without training wheels!
- Now is a good time to buy more colouring books with slightly more intricate designs. Get your child interested in creative activities to hone their creativity.
- Expose your child to different art and materials, from simple clay pottery to painting with water colors or drawing with crayons.
When to Consult Your Doctor:
Is your child unable to use their pincer grasp to hold a crayon? Are they unable to hold a pair of scissors properly? If you answered “yes” to these, it could indicate a physical development lag. Consult with your paediatrician to rule out problems with muscle tone or gross motor skills.
During this period of their development, your little one will be asking a lot of “why” questions. Curiosity will be the main characteristic of a 43 month old child.
They will be able to correctly name familiar colors, understand the concept of what is same and different, and they will love to play pretend and fantasize more creatively. They will also believe magic is real – so don’t let anyone burst their bubble just yet!
One of the best parts of this development stage is that they will be able to understand and follow multi-part commands like “Go to the fridge, take out an apple and put it on the table.” They will also be able to remember more stories or TV shows, understand time (yesterday, tomorrow), do simple counting and more puzzles. They will also be more aware of different textures.
They may develop a preference to clothing they like or dislike, and at the same time, be able to dress themselves the right way.
Interestingly, your child might impress you with their ability to stick to an activity even when distractions are present. This is the start of concentration developing, a useful skill they will need when they start school.
- Start letting your child “help” around the house. Ask them to bring you things or put things away.
- Be patient with their “why” questions. You might get a “why” right after answering them on another “why”. This is where you will have to brush up on your own general knowledge.
- Ensure the TV shows or stories they are being exposed to are age-appropriate. Since they are like an overly-eager sponge during this stage, it is a great time to introduce slightly more sophisticated, educational materials to them.
- Take your child shopping for clothes and let them pick out what they like.
- Let your child concentrate on the task at hand whenever they seem fully immersed in it to encourage deeper concentration.
When to See a Doctor:
If your 43 month old has an extremely short attention span or does not ask questions, then it’s best to speak to a pediatrician.
Social & Emotional Development
As your 43 month old is becoming more independent, you might find him or her wandering off, muttering to themselves. This is totally normal. They often like to make long speeches to themselves and this is part of their imagination going wild.
It is also common to find them playing alone for about 20 minutes or more, but they will still come to you for attention and comfort whenever they need it.
They are also sensitive to how others feel at this stage and might be able to read non-verbal cues in situations a little better. This is where your child is forming their identity piece by piece, so they might become very strong-willed or rebellious.
But the good thing is that as they are preparing for their next stage of life. You will see them participate more in group activities, albeit for a short period of time.
- Take them out to engage in more social activities, preferably those with a lot of teamwork involved.
- Explain the different emotions to your child, even more complex emotions like jealousy, to help them acclimatize to whatever they might be feeling or picking up on.
- Let them play alone whenever they are at home and encourage more creative play like dress up or make believe.
- If they are presenting their long soliloquy in front of you, listen and pay attention to what they are saying and offer praises from time to time.
When to See a Doctor:
If your child continues to experience extreme separation anxiety or does not play with other children and respond to non-family members, then it may be time to consult the doctor.
Speech & Language Development
Now your child will be able to speak about 250 to 500 words and string together short sentences of about six consecutive words. Soon, they will also be able to create stories of their own to tell you.
They will be able to answer simple questions like their age, name and where certain things are with clarity. Most of them will be able to form complete sentences within the next few months.
When to Consult a Doctor:
If your child is not able to use simple sentences yet, and still confuses simple words like “me” and “you”, then it is possible that he or she could be going through a language or speech problem. Bring them to a doctor or speech expert who will suggest therapy or activities to help your little one.
Health & Nutrition
Toddlers would have already formed food preferences at this point and you will also notice that he or she has a certain amount of food they eat during each meal. Allow your child to eat according to his or her appetite, never forcing them to finish everything on the plate or eat more than they wish to. This will prevent unhappy meal times.
At this age, they are may not consume quite as much as they did in infancy. Here’s a quick sample menu of what to prepare for your child throughout the day:
|Breakfast||1 wholegrain toast with a tablespoon of peanut butter and a cup of milk|
|Mid-morning snack||1 cup of blueberries (or about a handful) with half a cup of yogurt|
|Lunch||1 small mini burger (with salmon, chicken, beef or lamb) with sweet potato fries and a small orange
Fried brown rice with minced chicken or beef and half an apple
|Mid-afternoon snack||Carrot or cucumber sticks with hummus or tzatziki|
|Dinner||Half a cup of whole grain penne or macaroni with tomato sauce and steamed vegetables and a quarter cup of strawberries|
- You might have a pretty fussy eater on your hands with very specific food preferences. They might even change their minds about their preferences from day to day and that’s totally okay! Continue to offer a variety of healthy foods. Let your child choose his or her favourites for the day. Then, try offering them the foods they didn’t choose a day or two later.
- Give only small amounts of a new food for your child to taste alongside food he or she already likes.
- Turn off the TV! Young children are easily influenced TV ads especially when it comes to unhealthy foods like sugary cereals, fast food, and sweets.
When to Talk to the Doctor:
If your child is not gaining any weight, you might want to take them to a nutritionist or a doctor. Children at this age should be going through a growth spurt. There are no particular vaccines for children at this month but be wary of typical or seasonal illnesses like chicken pox, hand-foot-mouth disease and dengue.
Have fun with your 43 month old child! It’s a really great time after the terrible twos. Yes, at times you might feel like you have a threenager on your hands, but you’re going to have so much fun with your little one!
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Next month: 44 months
Republished with permission from: theAsianParent Singapore