Three Year Old
Socal / Emotional
- Copies adults and friends
- Shows affection for friends without prompting
- Takes turns in games
- Shows concern for a crying friend
- Understands the idea of “mine” and “his” and “hers”
- Shows a wide range of emotions
- Separates easily from mom and dad
- May get upset with major change in routine
- Dresses and undresses self
Language / Communication
- Follows instructions with 2 or 3 steps
- Can name most familiar things
- Understands words like “in”, “on”, and “under”
- Says first name, age, and sex
- Names a friend
- Says words like “I”, “me”, “we”, and “you” and some plurals (cars, dogs, cats)
- Talks well enough for strangers to understand most of the time
- Carries on a conversation using 2 to 3 sentences
Learning, Thinking, Problem-solving
- Can work toys with buttons, levers, and moving parts
- Plays make-believe with dolls, animals, and people
- Does puzzles with 3 or 4 pieces
- Understands what “two” means
- Copies a circle with pencil or crayon
- Turns book pages one at a time
- Builds towers of more than 6 blocks
- Screws and unscrews jar lids or turns door handle
Movement / Physical Developement
- Climbs well
- Runs easily
- Pedals a tricycle (3-wheel bike)
- Walks up and down the stairs, one foot on each step
If you have concerns about the way your child plays, learns, speaks, acts, or moves, or if your child:
- Is missing milestones
- Falls down a lot or has trouble with stairs
- Drools or has very unclear speech
- Can’t work simple toys (such as peg boards, simple puzzles, turning handle)
- Doesn’t speak in sentences
- Doesn’t understand simple instructions
- Doesn’t play pretend or make-believe
- Doesn’t want to play with other children or with toys
- Doesn’t make eye contact
- Loses skills he once had
Tell your child’s Provider if you notice any of these signs of possible developmental delay. Acting early can make a real difference!
You can help your child learn and grow. Talk, read, sing, and play together every day. Below are some activities to enjoy with your 3-year-old child!
What You Can Do For Your 3 Year Old
- Go to play groups with your child or other places where there are other children, to encourage getting along with others.
- Work with your child to solve the problem when he/she is upset.
- Talk about your child’s emotions. For example, say, “I can tell you feel mad because you threw the puzzle piece.” Encourage your child to identify feelings in books.
- Set rules and limits for your child and stick to them. If your child breaks a rule, give him a time out for 30 seconds to 1 minute in a chair or in his room. Praise your child for following the rules.
- Give your child instructions with 2 or 3 steps. For example, “Go to your room and get your shoes and coat.”
- Read to your child every day. Ask your child to point to things in the pictures and repeat words after you.
- Give your child an “activity box” with paper, crayons, and coloring books. Color and draw lines and shapes with your child.
- Play counting games. Count body parts, stairs, and other things you use or see every day.
- Hold your child’s hand going up and down stairs. When she can go up and down easily, encourage him/her to use the railing.
- Play outside with your child. Go to the park or hiking trail. Allow your child to play freely and without structured activities.