FAQ About Three-Year-Olds, Developmental Areas, And Child Care

Posted on: 26 October 2021

How can a high-quality child care center help your preschooler to build new skills and develop budding abilities? Before answering this question, you need to know what you can expect from your child's development. If your child recently turned three and is ready to enter the preschool years, take a look at what you need to know about their development and early childhood education.

What Are the Main Areas of Development?

There are five primary areas of childhood development—motor (fine and gross motor), cognitive, social, emotional, and language. Fine (small) and gross (large) motor development includes movement-related tasks. These range from the ability to hold a pencil and make the coordinated motions necessary to draw pictures or write letters to running, skipping, jumping, or throwing a ball. 

Cognitive development refers to mental reasoning and intellectual skill-building. Social and emotional development often go hand-in-hand. As the name implies, social development includes your child's abilities to function in a social or group setting. Emotional development plays into these abilities and helps your child to identify and appropriately express feelings. To do this, your child will need the fifth type of development—language skills. 

What Should You Expect From Your Three-Year-Old?

Even though by age three your child has made strides in each area of development, they aren't masters of their motor, cognitive, social, emotional, or language skills yet. Major milestones for a three-year-old in each developmental domain or area include:

  • Fine motor. Your child may have the ability to draw simple shapes, use children's safety scissors, or even write a few capital letters.

  • Gross motor. Along with walking and running, your three-year-old may also stand on one foot without support for a few seconds, hop a few times on one foot, throw a ball overhand, catch a ball, or kick a ball.

  • Cognitive. As your child moves into the preschool years, they'll start to engage in more complex imaginary play scenarios, understand concepts such as sequencing/time and counting, understand same/different, and follow multi-part (up to three parts) commands.

  • Social. You may notice that your child is now more interested in making friends on their own and can act independently. 

  • Emotional. While your child can't yet control all their emotions, they can identify feelings, name different emotions, and express themselves using words instead of actions (such as biting or hitting).

  • Language. According to the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford, a three-year-old can say between 500 and 900 words.

The daycare setting can help three-year-olds to build these skills and more. To fully understand what you can expect from your child's first early learning experience, talk to the child care program director or their teacher about specific activities, the curriculum, and developmental goals.

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Hello, my name is Daniel Hensley. Welcome to my site about child care. As my daughter reached the toddler years, I found myself having to return to work full-time. Unfortunately, I did not have family or friends available to care for my child while I worked. Instead, I had to quickly learn about all the child care options available in my area. I created this site to help others facing this situation in the near future. I will help everyone identify their best child care arrangement by exploring the pros and cons of each option. Please feel free to visit regularly to learn more.

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