Typical 3-year-old

Key things that you should know about your 3-year-old

Physical Characteristics

  • Grow 2 1/2 to 3 inches per year, boys slightly taller than girls
  • Gain 4 to 5 pounds per year, boys slightly heavier than girls
  • Body becomes straighter and slimmer
  • Stomach flattens
  • Holds shoulders back and upper body more erect
  • Chest broadens and flattens with improved abdominal strength
  • Legs lengthen rapidly, growing stronger and firmer
  • Neck Becomes longer
  • Balance and coordination improves
  • Holds arms near body when walking
  • Permanent teeth begin to grow

Motor Skills

  • Jumps up and down in place with both feet
  • Catches a ball with arms straight
  • Rides a tricycle


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

  • Learning to be cooperative and considerate
  • More physically capable so less frustrated
  • More willing to take directions from others
  • Modifies behavior to win praise and acceptance
  • Loves to talk 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
  • Parents are not all-powerful in the child's social life
  • Seek friends on their own
  • Prefer some children over others
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Physical Care

  • Encourage to dress themselves
  • Allow to make clothing selections

- Fabric should be comfortable

- Allow room for growth

-Choose items that allow the child to easily distinguish front and back

-Choose economical clothing because they outgrow it so quickly

- Consider appropriateness for the occasion and activity for both clothing and shoes

- Remember safety- no loose cords, no name on outside of clothes

- Group identification may become important

- Flame-resistant pajamas


  • Children are less interested in bathing than as toddlers
  • Praise can encourage the child to continue good hygiene habits.


  • Proper nutrition is important
  • Parents/Guardian should model good nutrition behavior
  • Choose good snacks that are low in fat, salt, sugar, and calories.
  • Balance caloric intake with physical activity.

Toileting &. Causes of Accidents

  • Enuresis- bedwetting, accidents that occur in response to emotional or physical problems
  • Accidents usually occur because the child is concentrating on the activity in which he/she is involved


  • Most children need 10-12 hours of sleep in A 24-hour period
  • Bedtime routines are important
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