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January 28, 2022

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Avoid Milestone Delays With Your Preschooler

Letting toddlers spend lots of time using screens may delay their development of language, sociability and more. Nip that in the bud!

There are a lot of developmental milestones to watch for in your child as he gets into his preschool years, says Ari Brown, M.D. author of Toddler 411 (Windsor Peak, 2015). But all of the screentime kids are given today has been associated with poorer developmental test scores. That's why it's important for parents to take time each day to work with their little one on achieving basic milestones.

Here are some of the developmental milestones in preschoolers to look for at ages 3 and 4 in Social/Emotional, Language/Communication, Cognitive and Movement/Physical Development areas:




• Copies adults and friends
• Takes turns in games
• Shows a wide range of emotions
• May get upset with major changes in routine


• Can name most familiar things
• Names a friend
• Follows instructions with two or three steps
• Carries on a conversation using two to three sentences
• Talks well enough for strangers to understand most of the time


• Can work toys with buttons, levers and moving parts
• Plays make-believe with dolls, animals and people
• Copies a circle with a pencil or crayon
• Turns book pages one at a time
• Builds tower of more than six blocks

Movement/Physical Development:

• Climbs well
• Runs easily
• Pedals a tricycle
• Walk up and down stairs, one foot on each step



• Enjoys doing new things
• Would rather play with other children than alone
• Cooperates with other children
• Plays “Mom” and “Dad”
• Often can’t tell what’s real and what’s make-believe


• Can say first and last name
• Tells stories
• Knows a few basic rules of grammar like correctly using “he” and “she”
• Sings a song or says a poem from memory (like “Itsy Bitsy Spider”)


• Names some colors and numbers
• Understands the idea of counting
• Remembers parts of a story
• Uses scissors
• Plays board or card games
• Tells you what he thinks will happen next in a book
• Draws a person with two to four body parts

Movement/Physical Development:

• Hops and stands on one foot up to two seconds
• Catches a bouncing ball most of the time
• Pours, cuts with supervision and mashes own food

About the Author

Susan Swindell Day, Editor

Susan Swindell Day is the editor in chief of Nashville Parent and the mom of four amazing kids.