Child Development: 3 years

Watching a child grow and develop is a unique and unforgettable experience. Most children develop skills and abilities in roughly the same order, but the timeframes involved aren’t exact. Milestones are things that a child can do at a certain age. Different organizations may have slightly different ways of describing milestones. Familiarity with milestones can help shape the experiences provided to a child or alert us if there are any concerns.

As children grow, they develop skills they different developmental areas. These include fine and gross motor, language, social-emotional and cognitive areas.

Your Developing Child: 3 Years

  • Walks up stairs alternating feet, and down stairs with two feet on a step.
  • Runs without falling or banging into things.
  • Begins to use pedals on a tricycle.
  • Cuts with scissors.
  • Draws a circle when demonstrated.
  • Strings items together, like large beads or macaroni.
  • Listens to stories and answers simple questions.
  • Talks with you in conversation using at least two back-and-forth exchanges.
  • Ask “who,” “what,” “where,” or “why” questions and uses short sentences.
  • Follows two to three directions (e.g., “Get the ball and put it on the table”)
  • Enjoys make-believe play.
  • Takes turns in games and shares with other children.
  • Matches two or three colors and may name one color.
  • Completes puzzles with three or four pieces.
  • Understands the difference between one and two.
  • Eats well with a fork and spoon.
  • Puts on clothing but needs help with buttons, zippers, snaps, etc.
  • Starts to be toilet training during the day and is generally dry during the night.
  • Calms down within ten minutes after you leave them, like at a childcare drop off.

There are many ways you can help your child’s development.

Play is a learning experience for children. Play is a universal and vital process for the healthy development of every child. Play is the living work of children and allows an opportunity to develop and explore the world.

If you have any concerns about your child’s development, talk to your public health nurse or family doctor.

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Last updated: 2024-01-04