Ages & Stages: Your Four Year Old

Four year olds are joyous, exuberant, energetic, ridiculous, and ready for anything. They adore new things and experiences. Their love and hate emotions are equal in strength and these feelings should be respected, within reason.

Four year olds are speedy characters. They do things quickly and are only interested in moving on to the next activity. They try things once and move on. They are good at listening and understanding spatial limitations, when they want to.

Bathroom talk and fascination with the process of elimination are typical of this age. They have a great interest in bathrooms, especially those in other people’s houses. They frequently have to use the bathroom during mealtime and at bedtime.

At four, children start to develop a sense of humor and enjoy silly talk like “ducky lucky” and “Goosey Loosey”. They are intrigued with language and the way words sound. Often, they make up nonsense words. They lie more frequently and they are so imaginative that they exaggerate almost constantly. It is important that you remember that lying is not the moral issue for children that it is for adults. Oftentimes, lying is the child’s way of wishing things were a certain way.

Fours find power in themselves, although they need and respect boundaries and limits established by you. This need for structure can help parents with management techniques. Definite rules and limits work effectively with four year olds.