Skip to Content

Well Child Visit At 4 Years


What is a well child visit?

A well child visit is when your child sees a healthcare provider to prevent health problems. Well child visits are used to track your child's growth and development. It is also a time for you to ask questions and to get information on how to keep your child safe. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them. Your child should have regular well child visits from birth to 17 years.

What milestones of development may my child reach by 4 years?

Each child develops at his own pace. Your child might have already reached the following milestones, or he may reach them later:

  • Speak clearly and be understood easily
  • Know his first and last name and gender, and talk about his interests
  • Identify some colors and numbers, and draw a person who has at least 3 body parts
  • Tell a story or tell someone about an event, and use the past tense
  • Hop on one foot, and catch a bounced ball
  • Enjoy playing with other children, and play board games
  • Dress and undress himself, and want privacy for getting dressed
  • Control his bladder and bowels, with occasional accidents

What can I do to keep my child safe in the car?

  • Always place your child in a booster car seat. Choose a seat that meets the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 213. Make sure the seat has a harness and clip. Also make sure that the harness and clips fit snugly against your child. There should be no more than a finger width of space between the strap and your child's chest. Ask your healthcare provider for more information on car safety seats.
    Child Safety Seats THA
  • Always put your child's car seat in the back seat. Never put your child's car seat in the front. This will help prevent him from being injured if you get into an accident.

What can I do to make my home safe for my child?

  • Place guards over windows on the second floor or higher. This will prevent your child from falling out of the window. Keep furniture away from windows. Use cordless window shades, or get cords that do not have loops. You can also cut the loops. A child's head can fall through a looped cord, and the cord can become wrapped around his neck.
  • Secure heavy or large items. This includes bookshelves, TVs, dressers, cabinets, and lamps. Make sure these items are held in place or nailed into the wall.
  • Keep all medicines, car supplies, lawn supplies, and cleaning supplies out of your child's reach. Keep these items in a locked cabinet or closet. Call Poison Control (1-800-222-1222) if your child eats anything that could be harmful.
  • Store and lock all guns and weapons. Make sure all guns are unloaded before you store them. Make sure your child cannot reach or find where weapons or bullets are kept. Never leave a loaded gun unattended.

What can I do to keep my child safe in the sun and near water?

  • Always keep your child within reach near water. This includes any time you are near ponds, lakes, pools, the ocean, or the bathtub.
  • Ask about swimming lessons for your child. At 4 years, your child may be ready for swimming lessons. He will need to be enrolled in lessons taught by a licensed instructor.
  • Put sunscreen on your child. Ask your healthcare provider which sunscreen is safe for your child. Do not apply sunscreen to your child's eyes, mouth, or hands.

What are other ways I can keep my child safe?

  • Follow directions on the medicine label when you give your child medicine. Ask your child's healthcare provider for directions if you do not know how to give the medicine. If your child misses a dose, do not double the next dose. Ask how to make up the missed dose. Do not give aspirin to children under 18 years of age. Your child could develop Reye syndrome if he takes aspirin. Reye syndrome can cause life-threatening brain and liver damage. Check your child's medicine labels for aspirin, salicylates, or oil of wintergreen.
  • Talk to your child about personal safety without making him anxious. Teach him that no one has the right to touch his private parts. Also explain that others should not ask your child to touch their private parts. Let your child know that he should tell you even if he is told not to.
  • Do not let your child play outdoors without supervision from an adult. Your child is not old enough to cross the street on his own. Do not let him play near the street. He could run or ride his bicycle into the street.

What do I need to know about nutrition for my child?

  • Give your child plenty of healthy foods. Healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains. Cut all foods into small pieces. Ask your healthcare provider how much of each type of food your child needs. The following are examples of healthy foods:
    • Whole grains such as bread, hot or cold cereal, and cooked pasta or rice
    • Protein from lean meats, chicken, fish, beans, or eggs
    • Dairy such as whole milk, cheese, or yogurt
    • Vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, or spinach
    • Fruits such as strawberries, oranges, apples, or tomatoes
  • Make sure your child gets enough calcium. Calcium is needed to build strong bones and teeth. Children need about 2 to 3 servings of dairy each day to get enough calcium. Good sources of calcium are low-fat dairy foods (milk, cheese, and yogurt). A serving of dairy is 8 ounces of milk or yogurt, or 1½ ounces of cheese. Other foods that contain calcium include tofu, kale, spinach, broccoli, almonds, and calcium-fortified orange juice. Ask your child's healthcare provider for more information about the serving sizes of these foods.
  • Limit foods high in fat and sugar. These foods do not have the nutrients your child needs to be healthy. Food high in fat and sugar include snack foods (potato chips, candy, and other sweets), juice, fruit drinks, and soda. If your child eats these foods often, he may eat fewer healthy foods during meals. He may gain too much weight.
  • Do not give your child foods that could cause him to choke. Examples include nuts, popcorn, and hard, raw vegetables. Cut round or hard foods into thin slices. Grapes and hotdogs are examples of round foods. Carrots are an example of hard foods.
  • Give your child 3 meals and 2 to 3 snacks per day. Cut all food into small pieces. Examples of healthy snacks include applesauce, bananas, crackers, and cheese.
  • Have your child eat with other family members. This gives your child the opportunity to watch and learn how others eat.
  • Let your child decide how much to eat. Give your child small portions. Let him have another serving if he asks for one. Your child will be very hungry on some days and want to eat more. For example, he may want to eat more on days when he is more active. He may also eat more if he is going through a growth spurt. There may be days when he eats less than usual.

What can I do to keep my child's teeth healthy?

  • Your child needs to brush his teeth with fluoride toothpaste 2 times each day. He also needs to floss 1 time each day. Have your child brush his teeth for at least 2 minutes. At 4 years, your child should be able to brush his teeth without help. Apply a small amount of toothpaste the size of a pea on the toothbrush. Make sure your child spits all of the toothpaste out. He does not need to rinse his mouth with water. The small amount of toothpaste that stays in his mouth can help prevent cavities.
  • Take your child to the dentist regularly. A dentist can make sure your child's teeth and gums are developing properly. Your child may be given a fluoride treatment to prevent cavities. Ask your child's dentist how often he needs to visit.

What can I do to create routines for my child?

  • Have your child take at least 1 nap each day. Plan the nap early enough in the day so your child is still tired at bedtime.
  • Create a bedtime routine. This may include 1 hour of calm and quiet activities before bed. You can read to your child or listen to music. Have your child brush his teeth during his bedtime routine.
  • Plan for family time. Start family traditions such as going for a walk, listening to music, or playing games. Do not watch TV during family time. Have your child play with other family members during family time.

What else can I do to support my child?

  • Do not punish your child with hitting, spanking, or yelling. Never shake your child. Tell your child "no." Give your child short and simple rules. Do not allow your child to hit, kick, or bite another person. Put your child in time-out in a safe place. You can distract your child with a new activity when he behaves badly. Make sure everyone who cares for your child disciplines him the same way.
  • Read to your child. This will comfort your child and help his brain develop. Point to pictures as you read. This will help your child make connections between pictures and words. Have other family members or caregivers read to your child. At 4 years, your child may be able to read parts of some books to you. He may also enjoy reading quietly on his own.
  • Help your child get ready to go to school. Your child's healthcare provider may help you create meal, play, and bedtime schedules. Your child will need to be able to follow a schedule before he can start school. You may also need to make sure your child can go to the bathroom on his own and wash his own hands.
  • Talk with your child. Have him tell you about his day. Ask him what he did during the day, or if he played with a friend. Ask what he enjoyed most about the day. Have him tell you something he learned.
  • Help your child learn outside of school. Take him to places that will help him learn and discover. For example, a children's museum will allow him to touch and play with objects as he learns. Your child may be ready to have his own library card. Let him choose his own books to check out from the library. Teach him to take care of the books and to return them when he is done.
  • Talk to your child's healthcare provider about bedwetting. Bedwetting may happen up to the age of 4 years in girls and 5 years in boys. Talk to your child's healthcare provider if you have any concerns about this.
  • Limit your child's TV time as directed. Your child's brain will develop best through interaction with other people. Talk to your child's healthcare provider if you want to let your child watch TV. He can help you set appropriate time limits of no more than 2 hours a day.
  • Get a bicycle helmet for your child. Make sure your child always wears a helmet, even when he goes on short bicycle rides. He should also wear a helmet if he rides in a passenger seat on an adult bicycle. Make sure the helmet fits correctly. Do not buy a larger helmet for your child to grow into. Get one that fits him now. Ask your child's healthcare provider for more information on bicycle helmets.

What do I need to know about my child's next well child visit?

Your child's healthcare provider will tell you when to bring him in again. The next well child visit is usually at 5 to 6 years. Contact your child's healthcare provider if you have questions or concerns about his health or care before the next visit. Your child may get the following vaccines at his next visit: DTaP, polio, MMR, and chickenpox. He may need catch-up doses of the hepatitis B, hepatitis A, HiB, or pneumococcal vaccine. Remember to take your child in for a yearly flu vaccine.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's caregivers to decide what care you want for your child. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.