With any luck, the days of temper tantrums and potty training are a distant memory. Your preschooler has moved on from the Terrible Twos. Gross- and fine-motor skills develop at a rapid pace in 3 and 4-year-olds. It’s good-bye tepid walking and hello to running as fast as his little legs can handle. Fine-motor skills are also becoming more refined at this stage of a development. A preschooler might refuse your help to button her blouse and she’s likely to move from drawing scribbles to stick people.
Gross Motor/Getting Physicial
Running, jumping and climbing are all in a day’s work for an active preschooler. Now that your child has more control over body movement, she can stand or hop on one foot for an impressive five seconds and has the ability to catch a bounced ball more times than not. Kicking a ball forward and throwing a ball overhand become run-of-the mill abilities as your preschooler settles into this stage of development.
A preschooler is proud to walk up and down the stairs without your help. A 3-year-old has the strength and coordination to pedal a tricycle but she might be closer to age 4 before she can steer well.
Fine Motor/Hand and Finger Dexterity
Once your active preschooler stops long enough to wash her hands after a playground outing. she will no doubt impress you with her ever-improving fine-motor skills. Turning book pages and building towers of nine blocks or more, drawing easily identifiable squares and circles and copying a few capital letters are among the biggest dexterity advances in three to four years.
Preschoolers are able to use scissors — the blunt-nose kind — of course. Those on the older end of the spectrum might be able to cut a straight line with scissors and eat with a spoon and fork with few, if any, spills.
“I can do it myself” might become common words to your ears when you try to help your preschooler get dressed. Your assistance might be needed, but for the most part, he does a good job of dressing and undressing himself.
A preschooler’s eagerness to get where he wants to go as quickly as her little legs will get her there can be dangerous. A preschooler’s passion for climbing up trees and playground equipment can lead to falls. Supervising your child is just as important now as when he was younger because impatience and enthusiasm can put him in especially perilous jams.
Kindergarten — gulp — is right around the corner for the older preschooler. By age 5, your child might be ready to ride a bike with training wheels, learn to swim, and double the time he can stand on one foot to 10 seconds or longer. Attending to some personal care needs such as brushing his teeth also comes at the tail end of preschool age.
While it’s normal for children to develop at various rates, certain deficiencies could be a sign of developmental delays, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Talk to your doctor if your preschooler is unable to jump in place, stack four blocks, ride a tricycle or has trouble copying a circle.