What Should Your Child Know by Age 4?

Posted by Tiara Swinson on October 04, 2021

Once your child has started to leave the toddler phase of their life, it’s time to make sure they are learning the right things for their age. By age 4, they have already learned a lot, and have much more to look forward to. Whether or not they’ve been in daycare or early preschool, there four years oldare several key things your child should know. 

Cognitive Milestones

Your child has probably already become a “why” machine, constantly asking questions. This is normal and important because they are trying to understand the world. They should know some things about the world already by age 4, though. Assuming they have no visual impairment or color blindness, they should be able to identify their colors, sort objects based on size or color, and identify familiar items and pictures. For example, they can tell you the sky is blue and that the animal on the cover of their book is a brown cat. 

They should also know how to compare and contrast sizes of objects. Basically, they should be able to tell you which object is bigger, smaller, heavier, shorter, and so on. If you ask for the bigger spoon, for example, from a bunch of them, they should be able to give you the right one. They should also know when things are the same in terms of size or color. 

Your child is also expanding their cognitive skills in general. By age 4, they can understand stories, have more elaborate and creative pretend play, and complete age-appropriate puzzles. Additionally, they should be able to follow 3-part instructions. For example, you can tell them to pick out a picture book, bring it to you, and climb into bed, and they should understand all those parts and carry them out. They should also have a good grasp of time, including morning, afternoon, night, and what happens in those times. They should know their daily routine and can relate that to those times, like how they wake up in the morning, play outside in the afternoon, and go to bed at night.

Language and Speech

By the age of 4, your child should be able to speak in sentences of 5 to 6 words, and even in complete sentences. Their vocabulary, additionally, should be somewhere between 250 to 500 words. They should also know their name and age, and be able to tell this information to someone when requested. They can also clearly tell full stories at this age, although the content of those stories may be incomprehensible to us adults. 


Toddlers are known for being unsteady on their feet and dealing with a fair amount of bumps and scrapes. This is all part of normal development, but things have changed quite a bit by age 4. They should not only be able to walk steadily, they should be able to run confidently and even ride a tricycle. Your child should even be able to walk backwards. They should also be able to jump, skip, twirl, balance and hop on 1 foot for at least 5 seconds. 

Their coordination should be much better than before as well. Your child should not fall or lose balance when bending over, like when picking up a toy, and should be able to help put on their clothes. When playing with a ball, they should be able to catch, throw, and kick it without losing balance. They can also climb well, including climbing stairs with 1 foot on each step. 

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Source: https://www.webmd.com/parenting/3-to-4-year-old-milestones#1

Topics: Toddler, Child Development, Pre-k, Parenting Tips

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