Child Growth Stages: 4 Years

Here's a little of what to expect during your child's 4 Year growth stage:

School Readiness:

If you aren't already, ask your child each day about his friends and activities. Ask leading questions - questions that require more than a yes or no answer. More importantly, listen with interest as your child talks so that you're having a conversation, not an inquisition. Your child should always feel that he can talk to you about anything. Let your child finish his sentences - don't interrupt. Show your child the same respect as you would another adult: He'll follow your example.

Reading to your child daily then asking questions about the story is recommended. This will help prepare your child to listen and answer questions in the classroom. Your child may benefit from attending a Head Start, a structured preschool program, or a community program such as Sunday School.

Praises should be given when appropriate but be sure to praise the actions, not the child.

Community Involvement:

Get involved in community programs in which you can include your child. This sets a good example for your child and helps him learn how adults in groups interact with one another. It is also a good time to teach your child safety in the company of other adults: No one should ask to see the child's privates, no adult should ever ask for help with his privates, and no one should ask for a secret to be kept from parents. This is also a good time to use the correct terms for bodily parts: The child is becoming more aware of the differences between boys and girls and may ask questions borne out of curiosity.

Healthy Routines

Brushing teeth twice daily with a flouride toothpaste is a healthy habit that your child will hopefully maintain throughout his lifetime. Relaxed family meals around the dining table with the television off should also be practiced. Evening meals are a great time for a family to gather, talk to one another and enjoy one another's company. Bedtime is sometimes dreaded by children this age: A "winding down" routine should be initiated 30 minutes to an hour before bedtime to help your child look forward to it.

Limit your child's television viewing to two hours per day or less and be selective about programming. Get active and be active with your child. Play time is important but you need to supervise playtime, especially on streets and near driveways. Don't leave your child alone in the house, the yard or the car. The time is not yet right to allow your child to cross the street alone.

Safety Seats

Your four year old child should still be using a booster seat or forward-facing car seat in the back seat of your vehicle. Your child should never be harnessed into the front seat of your vehicle because of the danger posed by the air bag being deployed. A booster seat should be used only after your child reaches a height where his shoulders are above the harness slots or his ears come to the top of the safety seat. A booster seat is also in order if your child has outgrown the weight requirement of a safety seat.

When you come to Northwest Pediatrics for your child's 4 year checkup, bring any questions you have about your child's development to discuss with your pediatrician.

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