Developmental Milestones at 3 Years

Happy birthday to your 3-year-old! Your child is no longer a toddler and is exploring more and more about his or her world. Many parents look into preschool experiences for their kids at this age. Here’s a look at what a child typically does at age 3:

Social / Emotional Milestones

  • Calms down within 10 minutes after you leave him or her, such as at a childcare drop-off
  • Notices other children and joins them to play

Language / Communication Milestones

  • Talks with you in conversation using at least 2 back-and-forth exchanges
  • Asks “who,” “what,” “where,” or “why” questions, such as “Where is mommy/daddy?”
  • Describes what action is happening in a picture or book when asked, such as “running,” “eating” or “playing”
  • Says first name, when asked
  • Talks well enough for others to understand, most of the time

Cognitive Milestones (learning, thinking, problem-solving)

  • Draws a circle, when you show him or her how
  • Avoids touching hot objects, like a stove, when you warn him or her

Movement / Physical Milestones

  • Strings items together, such as large beads or macaroni
  • Puts on some clothes unassisted, such as loose pants or a jacket
  • Uses a fork

Concerned About Your Child’s Development?

All children are different and develop at their own pace. If your child has not yet reached some of these milestones, it doesn’t necessarily mean something is wrong.

Still, you know your child best. And developmental delays or disorders are most successfully treated when caught early.

If you have concerns, don’t wait. Talk with the healthcare provider if you think your child:

  • Is not meeting milestones for his or her age
  • Has lost skills he or she once had, or is not doing something you’d expect him or her to be doing 

Or if you have concerns about:

  • How your child plays, learns, speaks, acts or moves
  • Other things your child does

SOURCE: These developmental milestones, established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics, provide a general idea of what most children (75% or more) do at this age.

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This message is not intended to provide individual medical advice. Always seek the advice of a physician or qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have about your health or medical condition, your breastfeeding issues and your infant's health. Never disregard, avoid or delay contacting a doctor or other qualified professional because of something you have read in our emails, webpages or other electronic communications.

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