Age Three And Four Can Seem Like Night and Day!

Three and four may live right next door to one another. But, when you’re speaking about a child and their personal development, they can be as different as night and day.

Blond 3-year-old boy screaming at the beach

Age 3: Ian Owns It

One important thing to remember is context. While it can seem as if age three and four are just one day apart, the difference between a child being three-years-old and four can mean a difference of 24 months. In terms of your child’s physical, cognitive, and emotional developmental status, that is a huge amount of time and variance.

Last week, Ian started humming the early childhood classic, “Frere Jacques.” Then, quite suddenly, he was singing the entire song in both French and English, managing to get it right (with that line “Sonnez les matines” remaining a bit difficult for both father and son). The point being that his skill level had changed significantly almost overnight. However, when you look at his physical growth and his emotional capabilities, it was not too surprising.

These developmental changes can seem rather abrupt, but as an observant parent, you come to realize that these seeming leaps have been long in the making. They are developed through a long and complex series of adventures and studies by the child.

4-year-old blond boy dressing up in hat and bandana

Age 4: Ian Duding It Up

Having just recently turned four, Ian’s young body, brain, and mind are rapidly growing, and it is incumbent upon Monica and myself to recognize that his understanding of things and the way he deals with things emotionally are not the same as they were six months ago. His range of emotions and his ever-increasing physical prowess must be acknowledged. [Read more: The Year Ahead – Age 4]

Emotional Growth It is very interesting to see a child grow emotionally, to observe a child’s reaction to a crying infant go from being curious and somewhat entertained to a more empathetic reaction in just a matter of months. At the same time, they are growing more sensitive and demanding in their own emotional needs.

Physical Growth In a similar fashion, physical changes come very quickly, and our play time evolves as Ian picks up new skills like catching a ball or riding his scooter. I find I have to balance challenging his skills with still being very cautious as to his safety. Generally, his skills outpace my caution, most often in a manner with which I’m comfortable. I err on the side of caution and he shows me that he can push his boundaries. The last thing I want to do is discourage progress. But, I’m also the grown up; I have to make the choices that keep him safe, striving, and thriving.

These changes come at a fast and furious pace and it is a lot of fun trying to keep up. The dude is now stirring up his own scrambled eggs, cutting the cheese which he places on the egg in the pan, and reminding me to add a bit of salt and pepper to his taste. Before you know it, he’ll be making breakfast for the parents! [Read more on children learning by cooking.]

Post a comment and I’ll be happy to answer. Thanks for reading Rockin’ Fatherhood with Tony Conley!

About Tony Conley

I am a dad who is lucky enough to work from home. Being a writer therefore needn’t be a lonely job! My son, Ian, and my wife, Monica, are seldom out of ear’s reach, and that is a true gift. I’ve been attached to the music industry for over thirty years, and will probably be for another thirty, if I’m lucky!

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