In Terms of Cognitive Development, Most 4 Year Olds Will:
- Will play games with other children and can agree to rules
- Like to sing, dance and act
- Might be bossy and defiant
- Have an understanding of time, know ‘yesterday’ and ‘next summer’
- Shows more independence
- Interested in physical difference between girls and boys
Parenting Tips for Toddler Cognitive Development:
Suggested ideas to help a toddler between 3 and 4 years develop his or her social and problem-solving skills
- Let’s go shopping! Give your toddler some play money and set up a store. Use empty milk cartons or canned goods and unwrapped food. Or, set up a toy store with some of his toys. Help your child count the right amount of money for his purchases.
- Help at the real store. Before your next trip to the supermarket, cut out a few pictures of things you plan to purchase and put them in an envelope. Ask your child to pick out a picture to remind you what you need. If he pulls out a picture of apples, say, ‘Yes we need to buy apples,’ and put a few apples in your cart.
- It’s time for dress-up. Go through your closets and pull out old, interesting looking clothes. Big hats, boots and scarves are fun. Let your child’s imagination run wild with the possible outfits she can create.
- Count while you wait. To help your child learn to wait, count to 10. Say, ‘Joe can be on the swing while we count to ten, then it’s your turn.’ Count out loud with your child. He’ll learn his numbers while learning that the wait will soon be over.
- Play a memory game. Start the game by saying, ‘We’re going to a picnic and we’re bringing an apple.’ Next is her turn to add something but she must say what you are bringing, ‘We’re going on a picnic and we’re bringing an apple and hot dogs.’ Take turns adding things and see who can remember it all: ‘We’re going on a picnic and we’re bringing an apple, hot dogs, a balloon and a dog and a cake and a…’
- Fill in the blanks. Next time you’re reading one of your child’s favorite poems or nursery rhymes, pause and let him or her fill in a few words.
You: Hickory, dickory…
You: The mouse ran up the…
- Everyone can bake. Have your child help you bake cupcakes. You can measure the ingredients, she can stir. You handle anything that’s hot; she gets to spread the icing with a plastic spoon. At dinner, let her share her cupcakes with the whole family.
- Have a scavenger hunt. This can be played with other siblings and adults. First start with colors; ‘Find something blue and put it on the table. When you get tired of finding colors, make it harder by changing it to a category, ‘Find something that you put in your hair (comb, brush ponytail holder) or, ‘Find something we use when it’s cold outside’ (coat, gloves, hats).
Make puppets. Gluing scrapes of fabric on old socks or cut out pictures from magazines and tape them to Popsicle sticks or paint stirring sticks. Have fun talking in pretend voices.
- Practice pouring. Give your child a small pitcher or a measuring cup and let him pour his own milk into his cup. Be prepared for spills but remember, he needs to practice to get better!
- Discuss the past. When the seasons change, ask her what he remembers about summer, fall, winter or spring. Keep the conversations going with her by asking lots of questions!