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Developmental milestones record - 4 years

The typical 4-year-old child will demonstrate certain physical and mental skills. These skills are called developmental milestones.


All children develop a little differently. If you are concerned about your child's development, talk to your child's health care provider.


During the fourth year, a child typically:

Gains weight at the rate of about 6 grams (less than one quarter of an ounce) per day

  • Weighs 40 pounds (18.14 kilograms) and is 40 inches tall
  • Has 20/20 vision
  • Sleeps 11 to 13 hours at night, usually without a daytime nap
  • Grows to a height that is double the birth length
  • Shows improved balance
  • Hops on 1 foot without losing balance
  • Throws a ball overhand with coordination
  • Can cut out a picture using scissors
  • May still wet the bed


The typical 4-year-old:

  • Has a vocabulary of more than 1,000 words
  • Easily puts together sentences of 4 or 5 words
  • Can use the past tense
  • Can count to 4
  • Will be curious and ask a lot of questions
  • May use words they do not fully understand
  • May begin using vulgar words
  • Learns and sings simple songs
  • Tries to be very independent
  • May show increased aggressive behavior
  • Talks about personal family matters to others
  • Commonly has imaginary playmates
  • Has an increased understanding of time
  • Is able to tell the difference between 2 objects based on things like size and weight
  • Lacks moral concepts of right and wrong
  • Rebels if too much is expected of them


As the parent of a 4-year-old, you should:

  • Encourage and provide space for physical activity.
  • Show your child how to participate in and follow the rules of sporting activities.
  • Encourage play and sharing with other children.
  • Encourage creative play.
  • Teach your child to do small chores, such as setting the table.
  • Read together.
  • Limit screen time (television and other media) to 2 hours a day of quality programs.
  • Expose your child to different stimuli by visiting local areas of interest.

Alternative Names

Normal childhood growth milestones - 4 years; Growth milestones for children - 4 years; Childhood growth milestones - 4 years


Feigelman S. The preschool years. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 10.

Update Date 11/20/2014

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