Milestones for your Three Year Old Preschooler

        Ages & stages of development for three your older children in preschool & daycareImportant Milestones:

        Your Child at Three Years

        How your child plays, learns, speaks, and acts offers important clues about your child’s development. Developmental milestones are things most children can do by a certain age. Check the milestones your child has reached by his or her 3rd birthday.

        What most Preschool Children do at this age:

        Social and Emotional

        • Copies adults and friends
        • Shows affection for friends without prompting
        • Takes turns in games
        • Shows concern for crying friend
        • Understands the idea of “mine” and “his” or “hers”
        • Shows a wide range of emotions
        • Separates easily from mom and dad
        • May get upset with major changes in routine
        • Dresses and undresses self


        • 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

        Cognitive (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 Development

        • Climbs well
        • Runs easily
        • Pedals a tricycle (3-wheel bike)
        • Walks up and down stairs, one foot on each step

        Act early by talking to your child’s doctor if your child:

        • 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
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        About the Author

        Robert Rice - Owner

        Jenni and I have spent our entire lives surrounded by children. Even if we’ve done something hundreds of times it’s always exciting, fresh and new with fascinated children. | G+ | More about me