Developmental milestones record - 3 years
This article describes the skills and growth markers that are relevant to 3-year-olds.
These milestones are typical for children in their third year of life. Always keep in mind that some differences are normal. If you have questions about your child's development, contact your child's health care provider.
Physical and motor milestones for a typical 3-year-old include:
- Gains about 4 - 5 pounds
- Grows about 2 - 3 inches
- Reaches about half of his or her adult height
- Has improved balance
- Has improved vision (20/30)
- Has all 20 primary teeth
- Needs 11 - 13 hours of sleep a day
- May have daytime control over bowel and bladder functions (may have nighttime control as well)
- Can briefly balance and hop on one foot
- May walk up stairs with alternating feet (without holding the rail)
- Can build a block tower of more than nine cubes
- Can easily place small objects in a small opening
- Can copy a circle
- Can pedal a tricycle
Sensory, mental, and social milestones include:
- Has a vocabulary of several hundred words
- Speaks in sentences of three words
- Counts three objects
- Uses plurals and pronouns (he/she)
- Often asks questions
- Can dress self, only needing help with shoelaces, buttons, and other fasteners in awkward places
- Can stay focused for a longer period of time
- Has a longer attention span
- Feeds self easily
- Acts out social encounters through play activities
- Becomes less afraid when separated from mother or caregiver for short periods of time
- Fears imaginary things
- Knows own name, age, and gender (boy/girl)
- Starts to share
- Has some cooperative play (building tower of blocks together)
At age 3, almost all of a child's speech should be understandable.
Temper tantrums are common at this age. Children who have tantrums that often last for more than 15 minutes or that occur more than three times a day should be seen by a health care provider.
Ways to encourage a 3-year-old's development include:
- Provide a safe play area and constant supervision.
- Provide the necessary space for physical activity.
- Help your child take part in -- and learn the rules of -- sports and games.
- Limit both the time and content of television and computer viewing.
- Visit local areas of interest.
- Encourage your child to help with small household chores, such as helping set the table or picking up toys.
- Encourage play with other children to help develop social skills.
- Encourage creative play.
- Read together.
- Encourage your child to learn by answering his or her questions.
- Provide activities related to your child's interests.
- Encourage your child to use words to express feelings (rather than acting out).
Feigelman S. The preschool years. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 10.
|Review Date: 5/14/2014
Reviewed By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
© Copyright 1997- 2018 A.D.A.M., Inc.
Learn more about Developmental milestones record - 3 years
Micromedex® Care Notes
- Body Image In Adolescents
- Caring For Your Formula Fed Baby
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy In Children
- Gender Identity In Adolescents
- Gender Identity In Your Adolescent
- Hemoglobin A1c
- Hepatitis B In Children
- Hepatitis B Vaccine
- How To Childproof Your Home
- Medication Safety For Children
- Promote Healthy Teeth And Gums In Young Children
- Separation Anxiety Disorder
- Tips For Toilet Training
- Well Child Visit At 1 Month
- Well Child Visit At 1 Week
- Well Child Visit At 11 To 14 Years
- Well Child Visit At 12 Months
- Well Child Visit At 15 Months
- Well Child Visit At 18 Months
- Well Child Visit At 2 Months
- Well Child Visit At 2 Years
- Well Child Visit At 3 Years
- Well Child Visit At 30 Months
- Well Child Visit At 4 Months
- Well Child Visit At 4 Years
- Well Child Visit At 5 To 6 Years
- Well Child Visit At 6 Months
- Well Child Visit At 7 To 8 Years
- Well Child Visit At 9 Months
- Well Child Visit At 9 To 10 Years
- Well Child Visit Information For Teens At 15 To 17 Years
- Well Child Visits
- Writing Skills In Adolescents
- Writing Skills In Children
- Your Child's Body Image