Development of Three-year-olds

Learn characteristics, skills and care for three-year-olds.

Physical Characteristics:

  • Grow in height, 2 1/2 to 3 inches per year
  • Weight gain, 4 to 5 pounds per year
  • Posture becomes straighter
  • Body shape becomes slimmer
  • Legs lengthen rapidly, growing stronger and firmer
  • Hold arms near body when walking
  • Start to grow their permanent teeth.
  • Regular tooth brushing and flossing is important
  • Regular dental checkups are important as well

Gross-motor skills:

  • Jump up and down in place with both feet
  • Catches a ball with arms straight
  • Ride a tricycle

Fine-motor skills:

  • Stack nine or ten blocks
  • Screws lids on and off containers
  • Draws circles horizontal and vertical lines
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Emotional Characteristics:

  • Learn to be cooperative and considerate
  • More willing to take directions from others
  • More physically capable
  • Loves to talk and talks to everyone and everything
  • Can be reasoned with and controlled by words

Social Characteristics:

  • People are important
  • Begin to engage in cooperative play
  • Work in small groups
  • Seek friends on their own
  • Prefer some children over others
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Physical Care:

  • Allow children to make clothing selections
  • Praise can encourage the child to continue good hygiene habits
  • Proper nutrition is important
  • Choose snacks that are low in salt, sugars, fat and calories
  • Most children need 10 to 12 hours of sleep in a 24 hour period
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