By 3: Skills Your Child Should Have by Age Three

Three-year-olds are not built to sit still, keep their hands to themselves, take turns, be patient, stand in line, or keep quiet. They need motion, novelty, and adventure.

What Can You Expect from Your Child?

  • Copying actions of adults and friends

  • Showing feelings of affection and/or concern for a friend who is upset, without prompting

  • Undressing/dressing oneself

  • Naming most familiar things

  • Calling a friend by name

  • Saying their own first name, age, and gender

  • Showing interest in going to new places and trying new things

  • Putting together puzzles with 3-4 pieces

  • Copying a circle using a pencil or crayon

  • Playing with toys that have small moving parts or buttons

  • Playing make-believe with dolls, animals, and people

  • Naming the eight colors from a crayon box (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, black, and brown)

  • Climbing well

  • Running easily

  • Pedaling a tricycle

What Can You Do to Help Your Child Learn and Grow?

  • Encourage your child to take turns with toys and other objects.

  • Provide your child with new words to expand their vocabulary.

  • Avoid baby-talk. Speak to them as you would an adult.

  • Let your child know that you are proud of their newfound independence and imagination.

  • Give your child choices (2-3) in order to make decisions.

  • Allow your child to help with chores.

  • Help your child understand and validate their feelings by asking questions, such as:

    • What are you feeling?

    • Why are you feeling this way?

    • Is there anything I can do to help or to make you feel better?