20 Things to Remember About Your Four-Year-Old


I am Four!

  1. Why are you telling me what to do again? Why do I have to put the cap on the marker? Why can’t you do it?
  2. Please set limits with me. I know I run toward the street and get into mischief, but I do want limits.
  3. I love you so much! I want to hold your hand and be near you.
  4. Where did I learn that word? From you of course.
  5. What does chit mean anyway? Are you sure it means our bill at the restaurant?
  6. Nope, I’m not over potty talk. It’s so funny! Poop! Pee! And I’ve expanded now to fart and diarrhea!
  7. Can you please cuddle with me and read Skippy John Jones again?!
  8. Remember when I used to put socks on my hands? That was so funny. Actually, can you turn the page of my book, I forgot I left my socks on again.
  9. Please tell me another story when you were a little kid?! Like the time you broke the lamp at grandma’s house.
  10. I thought my older brother was a punching bag, my bad. He really isn’t stuffed?
  11. I’ll still beat him every time to the end of the driveway. I’m so fast! Faster than Ironman.
  12. Don’t push me to learn. I will learn how to read when I am ready. You can’t force me.
  13. I’m not equipped to understand what you want me to do all the time or how I am feeling.
  14. Am I tired? Well, I’ll always say no!
  15. Am I hungry? Well, I’ll always say yes, especially to candy.
  16. Am I upset? Yes, wait now I’m so excited!
  17. Yes, it is a tantrum, not an epileptic seizure.
  18. OK, I’m so tired I need to lie down and no I am not catatonic like you think I am. I’m just exhausted.
  19. I just desperately want to make you happy. So please tell me when I do something good.
  20. I really want to be good.

How to help your child

  1. Adventures and Exploration. Set up adventures for them. In the backyard or even around the block. Plan an excursion with him in mind.
    • Make treasure maps to find treasure on walks
    • Play hunting games and “I” spy
    • Keep a notebook and draw flowers, birds and cards that you might see
    • Play rhyming game
    • Engage in imaginary play
  2. Rude Talk. When there is profanity, boasting or super silly talk, you may want to ignore and enjoy some more of the silly talk rather than the profanity. When your child makes rude remarks, you may say back “You are a chewy chiwawa” or other silly talk.
  3. Setting Limits. It is important to keep your four-year-old safe. Contain your child within acceptable physical limits as doors and gates may be open with an exploratory four-year-old. Four-year-olds need clear expectations and reasonable limits. They often need to be given choices.
  4. Compliments. Compliments work wonders at this age. They have a large appetite for compliments and will even compliment themselves if you don’t.
  5. Enjoy. Don’t forget to enjoy this extremely amusing, lively and enthusiastic age while it lasts even if some of the behaviors are less than desirable.
  6. Do Not Worry. Do not worry if your four-year-old pushes limits. This extra energy and liveliness are necessary to gain a balance between being an uncertain three-year-old and a quiet and adaptable five-year-old. Provide materials and opportunities for him or her to be successful.
  7. Attention. When motor needs are achieved you may find the four-year-old to have an increased attention span and be able to sit for longer periods of time in interesting tasks.
  8. Dress up. Children this age tend to enjoy dressing up and engaging in imaginary and dramatic play. The play can become more elaborate due to language growth and imagination.
  9. Don’t argue. Don’t argue with a four-year-old. They will argue back and if they don’t they will ask you “why” over and over again.

To find out more information about four-year-olds click here.

four-year-old behaviors

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Morgan Metcalf
Morgan Metcalf has lived in Ohio her entire life. She grew up near Cleveland where she met her husband who serenaded her with 1980s Power Ballads. Fortunately, her husband convinced her to move to Columbus 12 years ago. She is often found chasing after her two rambunctious boys and determined little girl at playgrounds, at home, the grocery store… you get the idea. Because she loves chasing, in her free time you can often find Morgan running or working out to keep up with her active children and then falling asleep reading parenting books. She is humbled every day by the lessons her three children teach her. Morgan is passionate about encouraging and empowering parents and teachers in Positive Discipline. It has changed her relationships with her children in a positive direction. She is a licensed school psychologist and a certified Positive Discipline Educator with The Power of Positive Solutions. She facilitates trainings and classes for parents, teachers, and administrators.