Developmental milestones for 4 year olds: Is your child on schedule?

Developmental milestones for 4 year olds: Is your child on schedule?

Can your child hop on one foot, use scissors, use short sentences and follow two- to three-part instructions already? Then he's on his way to completing developmental milestones for his age group!

At four years of age, your child is now a ball of energy who may be a bit bossy and belligerent.

His imagination and conscience starts to develop at this stage. So expect your energizer bunny to be less egocentric (yay!) and exhibit a better understanding of what is expected of him.

Your little one also willingly steps into the role of a story teller, especially when it comes to his favorite stories. He is also a budding artist, being able to draw and cut more, so bring on the artsy projects.

Note: It is worth to mention that the developmental milestones for 4 year olds listed below are not always reached on a fixed schedule. Some kids achieve these sooner or later compared to others, without any cause for concern.

Physical developmental milestones for 4 year olds

  • Can stand on one foot for up to two seconds
  • Can hop on one foot
  • Can catch a ball (most of the time)
  • Can throw a ball overhead
  • Can push
  • Can pull
  • May still experience bedwetting

Cognitive and Language Skills

  • Has vocabulary of over 1,000 words
  • Knows basic grammar rules
  • Can say his full name
  • Can sing simple songs
  • Can recite easy nursery rhymes
  • Capable of telling a story
  • Can talk in short sentences (stringing four to five words) that are clear
  • Can name colors (at least four), shapes (at least three) and numbers
  • May use inappropriate words
  • Can recognize easy and common words such as "go"
  • Can comprehend concept of "same" and "different" (example is identifying difference of two objects such as size or weight)
  • Grasps concept of time as in past, present and future or morning, noon and night
  • Is highly curious and thus asks a lot of questions
  • May like playing some board games or card games
  • Can use scissors
  • Can begin writing a few capital letters
  • Can draw two to four body pars
  • Tries to be independent
  • May show more aggressive behavior
  • Usually has imaginary friends
  • Concept of "right or wrong" is not yet fully developed
  • May rebel if he feels that demands are overwhelming
  • Can count up to ten or more
  • Can recognize some letters
  • Has a longer attention span
  • Ability to follow instructions that have two to three parts, e.g. "Brush your teeth, wash your face and dress up."
  • Can memorize address and a parent's phone number

Continue reading to learn more about developmental milestones for 4 year olds

Social and Emotional Growth

  • Enjoys exploring and experiencing new things
  • Can talk about things he likes
  • Pretend play is done in a more creatively (though he may not understand the difference between make-believe and reality)
  • Opts for playing with others than alone
  • Is cooperative when playing with others


Usually, the following are developmental milestones for 4 year olds:

  • Has perfect vision
  • Sleeps 11 to 13 hours per night (typically does not nap in the afternoon)

What Parents Can Do

If you want to help your child to reach developmental milestones for 4 year olds, here are some things you can do:

  • Limit TV to two hours per day
  • Provide a space for physical activity to encourage more activities
  • Practice and encourage art such as drawing, coloring, painting
  • Encourage age-appropriate chores
  • Encourage other forms of creative play such as dressing up
  • Expose your child to other forms of stimulation such as visiting museums and nature spots

When to Call the Doctor

  • Loses skills he has learned
  • Unable to grasp the concept of "same" and "different"
  • Can't hop in place
  • Has no interest in playing pretend or other interactive games
  • Does not interact or respond to non-family members
  • Refuses activities such as sleeping, dressing and using the toilet
  • Has difficulty scribbling
  • Unable to retell his favorite story
  • Does not speak clearly
  • Unable to use pronouns "me" and "you" properly

READ: Developmental Milestones for 5 Year Olds

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