So much for the Terrible Twos. Even the year of your "Threenager," was probably easy street compared to what many mamas call the "F-You Fours!" But really, there are so many great things about your wee one becoming a four-year-old! Here are some common milestones for your 4-year-old and how you can make the most of living with a "Fournado!"

My son has been a pretty easy kid to raise. I've been using attachment parenting techniques since he was born, and while they definitely make a difference, I also think I just have been pretty lucky with a fairly easy-to-raise kiddo. Twos were honestly SUCH GOOD TIMES and I miss those days. Threes got a little bit edgier, as he learned to exert his independence and would happily tell everyone he saw that he was a 'Threenager!' But four-years-old. That's when a few of my hairs started turning grey and the FOURce was strong in my FOURnado! Still, it was amazing to watch him become this unique little person with so many thoughts (so many!) and ideas. It was also fun to watch him hit the typical 4-year-old milestones, though I'd already learned that kids hit milestones at different times regardless.

Still, if you're dealing with your own little Fournado and want to know what those common 4-year-old milestones are? Check out our guide!


Four-Year-Old Milestones In Language Development
This is the year you're likely to hear all the words. All of them! Especially all the ones you may say but didn't want to be repeated! By the end of their fourth year, kids typically have over 1000 words they use and know. This is when you'll probably see more complicated sentences--from "I do that," to "I want to do that by myself, please!" (or in my son's case, "I want to do it by my own power!").

This is when you'll also start needing to really answer all the questions. They want to know everything and they'll ask you about it. Be prepared to give answers, but also recognize that they're just processing all they are taking in, and may not need super in-depth responses.

This is when 4-year-olds may start:

  • Following easy multi-step directions.
  • Start singing silly songs and enjoying silly or rhyming words
  • Change their inflection based on what they're talking about and with whom
  • Strengthen articulation, though hard 'r', 'w', 'l' and 's' may still be an issue.
  • Ask what things mean
  • Try to use logic (even 4-year-old logic) to argue their point (but I'm not tired!)
  • Really get into imaginative play with stories and be able to tell you about them
  • Possibly show interest in reading and writing
Four-Year-Old Milestones In Cognitive Development

This is when you're going to start thinking, "WOW! Where did THAT come from?" The ability of a typical 4-year-old to look beyond his own little sphere starts and they're able to have an understanding of concepts that aren't as concrete as before. You'll likely hear, "Hey! I have an idea!" and they'll probably think you've no clue about their brilliant plan. (We think this is the cutest!) They are able to distinguish between their feelings and another's though this is just starting to get more noticeable. They may also have a good start on school topics. Some cognitive 4-year-old milestones include:

  • Sorting their toys by colors/sizes/categories
  • Working on knowing what's real and what's make-believe
  • Translate symbols and pictures to mean something
  • Recognize shapes in a real-world application
  • Notice differences in heights, sizes, genders, etc
  • Count, even in small groups (typically up to 20)
  • Recognize and understand cause and effect relationships (if you want to play that game, you have to eat your lunch first, please)
  • Order things
  • Pay attention to a project or activity for 10-15 minutes
Four-Year-Old Milestones Physical Growth

You're probably wondering where your baby went! For some reason, 4-year-olds seem so grown. This is likely due to the fact that they can grow four inches and five or so pounds in this year! They have better coordination, eyesight and motor skills, both fine and gross. Some milestones include:

  • Using two feet to jump
  • Using alternate feet when walking upstairs
  • Starting and stopping more precisely when in movement
  • Somersaults, skipping, hopping
  • Throwing balls with direction
  • Jump over things
  • Pedal and steer a tricycle or even bike
  • Climb ladders
  • Brachiate (to a degree) on monkey bars
  • Get dressed by themselves
  • Draw or copy shapes on paper
  • Letter with a separate marking for delineation
  • Put together simple puzzles
  • Activities that involve crossing midline
  • String beads
  • Stack towers to 10 or more blocks
  • Begin using scissors more accurately
Four-Year-Old Milestones In Social And Emotional Reasoning

This is where many parents say their kiddo started to become who they were meant to be! Their personalities continue to bloom and blossom and they are able to show preferences for the things they like to do and the people with whom they like to play. They're working on relationships with peers more as well. Additionally, you might see them:

  • Have big, intense emotions and feelings
  • Share and cooperate
  • Tell small fibs
  • Love jokes
  • Take turns
  • Tattle to keep things in order
  • Try to get reactions out of you
  • Have imaginary friends
  • Tantrum still if they don't get their way
  • Move from parallel play to purposed play with specific friends
In effect, your four-year-old will exasperate you and make you want to copy him or her over and over a million times because they're so amazing! Usually at the same time.

Remember that developing milestones happens at different rates for kids too. These are just general guidelines. If you are ever concerned about your child not meeting 4-year-old milestones, talk with your doctor or a therapist. There's never any issue in finding out there's no issue, and early intervention can make a huge difference if needed!