What’s normal for a 4-year-old? And when to be concerned..

Every parent wonders…is my kid normal??

We’re here to put your mind at ease and give you some direction to help know if your child’s behavior is normal or worrisome.

As you likely know, your 4 yr. old is hitting independence and is moving into more structured environments, helping them prepare for Kindergarten.

To help your child make good choices and be that kid that everyone comments is so well behaved, you’ll want to do a few things, such as giving them supervised opportunities for making good choices and help them feel good about themselves.

For example, maybe you allow your son to play football with his friends in the backyard but you’re within earshot to referee and monitor things if you’re needed.

At this age, your child should be able to detach from you much easier than earlier years. They should be able to do this without long lasting tantrums or negative effects.

At this age, your 4 yr. old will be challenging boundaries and YOU!

According to the American Academy for Pediatrics, normal behaviors for 4 yr. old include:

  •   Wanting to please and be like friends
  •    Showing increased independence
  •    Being able to distinguish fantasy from reality
  •    Being demanding at times and cooperative at other times

You’ll know they are at an age-appropriate level if they can understand three directives at a time without feeling overwhelmed.

For example, they can follow simple directions like take the clothes out of the hamper, put them in the other hamper, and let me know when you’re finished.

In addition, it’s typical for 4-year-old’s to have a high level of self-confidence (“I can do it-itis”), enjoy peer interactions, but may feel jealousy and use more verbal skills when frustrated while often using less physical aggression.

Pro-tip for parenting 4-year-olds:

          DON’T OVER REACT!!!

 So, what about when should you be worried about your 4-year-old?

You may want to seek out professional help for your child if they

  • Lack the ability to control anger outbursts
  • Are more easily frustrated over things that are not considered big things for a young child and often expereince extreme measures of disappointment
  • Display impulsive behaviors that may be aggressive or without empathy for others such as biting, hitting, bullying (natural behavior for a 2-yr. old although not a 4-yr. old.)
  • Lash out without any self-control when angry/frustrated
  • Have negative behaviors that are not responding to consistent discipline and/or gets worse with discipline and consistency.
  • Cannot make or keep friendships his age. Ignores other children
  • Cling to caregiver when you leave and is not easily consoled
  • Has difficulty engaging in pretend play.

Now, what to do to help yourself and your child if you notice some of the behaviors on the second list?

 Four Tips for Managing Your 4-year-old’s Behavior

1. Keep a positive tone. Check your own emotions

2. Maintain consistency in parenting style chosen such as praising your child’s behavior that is desirable and not            giving attention to unwanted behaviors.

3. Keep regular schedule for bedtime, any activities, time to wake every day and nap times.

4. Give appropriate choices to help them learn how to make choices and give the supervised practice.

If you’re at the end of your rope and don’t know where to start with your child, we can help. Reach out and email us below. We can help. You don’t have to do it alone.

 

 

 

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