4 Years

At age four years, your child should:

  • Have a sentence length of 4-5 words
  • Ask many questions, including "Who?" and "Why?"
  • Answer "What?," "Where?" and "When?"' questions
  • Follow multiple step commands
  • Begin to use prepositions in sentences
  • Understand the following concepts: under, behind, next, in front, first, last
  • Understand "early in the morning," "next month," "next year," "noontime"
  • Speak of imaginary conditions such as "Suppose that" or "I hope"
  • Begin to use complex sentences
  • Use contractions such as "It's a ..." or "There's a ..."
  • Use past tense correctly
  • Have a vocabulary of 1,500 words
  • Compare objects by size, shape, etc.
  • Make simple inferences (e.g., "If my shoes are wet, what is the weather like outside?")
  • Begin to describe a procedure
  • Often indulge in make believe
  • Stay with an activity 11-12 minutes
  • Use the following sounds correctly: m, n, ng, p, f, h, w, y, k, b, d, g

At age four, your child may:

  • Recognize or read a few written words, including his or her name
  • Recall three or four events of a story after it was read
  • Make up a story
  • Describe objects and events
  • Give meanings of words
  • Count to 10

You can stimulate the speech and language development of your four-year-old by:

  • Playing imaginatively with your child
  • Engaging your child in conversation

Some specifc activites are:

  • Locating very similar objects in your home that come in a "big" and "little" size. For example, get your child's shoe and daddy's shoe. Ask your child to "give me the big one."
  • Playing a memory game with your child. He pr she should be able to remember two items or two numbers. You say two and ask your child to repeat them back. If correct, the child gets a block to build a tower. If the child misses, the tower comes down and the child must start over. See how high the tower can get.
  • Helping your child verbalize the use of objects. Ask him or her, "What do we use to brush our teeth? To write with?"

If you are concerned that your child may not be developing these skills as he or she should, you may seek the advice of a speech-language pathologist.