Children often show interests and skills in different activities.
A child who is always outside playing may have no interest in drawing. A child who loves to draw may show no interest in climbing or play equipment.
At around 3 years of age you can expect your child to run and jump, walk up and down stairs holding onto a hand or rail, throw, kick and sometimes catch a ball, enjoy helping around the house, know lots of words and join words together in short sentences.
At around 4 years of age you can expect them to climb, have good balancing skills, have skills in ball games, put on and take off some clothes, speak in sentences, know their name and sometimes address, make up imaginative stories, know some songs.
At 5 years of age you can expect them to skip, hop, climb and run easily, play a variety of ball games, use a knife and fork, draw pictures, eg houses and people, speak clearly enough for people who do not know them to understand what they are saying, ask what different words mean.
If you’re concerned about your child’s development, talk to your Plunket nurse, other well child health provider or doctor.
Children should understand most simple words by 3 years old and speak clearly by 4 years old (unless they have a known speech problem). They will be able to tell a story about what they have done, answer if you call from another room, like naming things, enjoy looking at books and being read to, know a few songs or nursery rhymes, ask lots of ‘why’, ‘when’, ‘how’ and ‘what’ questions and understand most of what you say.
At about 3 or 4 years your child may be able to make up their own stories. You may notice they ask lots of questions. This is how they learn about things they are interested in.
Some ideas that may help develop your child’s language are:
Contact your Plunket nurse, other well child health provider, doctor or a speech therapist if you are concerned about your child’s speech or hearing, especially if they do not appear to be responding to sounds, speaking clearly or joining two to three words by 3–4 years.
Delayed language development or difficult behaviour may be caused by your child not being able to hear well.
Your child’s eyesight is now well developed. They can see very small items on the floor and see objects clearly at a distance. When your child is aged 3, they can have a vision test by a Plunket nurse or vision tester.
You can make an appointment with your local Plunket nurse or other well child health provider.
You can also discuss with them if your child:
Children will often play with their genitals/private parts. This is a normal part of development. It is normal for children to be curious about their bodies.
Talking to your child in a relaxed way about their behaviour, and where and when it is acceptable, will help them learn about their bodies.
If you are concerned about this behaviour you may like to talk to Plunket staff or other well child health provider.