What Can You Expect When Your Toddler Turns 4 Year Old
If your child is turning four then you may wonder what this magical age has to offer you, and what four year old behavior you can expect. Getting your 4 year old to behave can be a real challenge at times. By this age the fact that they have a mind all their own really shines through and your precious little angel may begin to develop an attitude in this phase of their life. Even though this may be a tough time, you have to be ready to step up your parenting game and let them know who the parent is and who the child is.
Picture this; your toddler is talking back, screaming at you and being defiant overall. If this has not happened yet and you cannot picture you sweet baby doing these things, all I can say is be prepared because it is coming! While it may be tempting to scream right back at them, or worse yet, lecture them in a way you would talk to an adult, resist these urges. You cannot reason with a toddler that is having a meltdown (or any other toddler groups for that matter). The key is to pay close attention to what they are telling you with their words and actions. Chances are that what they want and feel is not being properly conveyed because they do not know how to get their point across. Using language techniques like “yes/no/compliance sets“, you can get yourself down to their level and share in their world. This will give you a better understanding of why they are behaving the way they are and how to help them and yourself. Once you do understand you can work from there.
In addition to the above advice, you should also make sure that your child understands that their behavior is not appropriate and that it will cause negative consequences. Put it to them simply by letting them know that if they do not behave properly then they will miss out on the things they want to do. Just telling them not to do something (or to do something) doesn’t get you good results.
The Social Toddler
At this time you will begin to see their social skills begin to blossom. Encourage your child’s friendships with other children so that they will continue to grow socially. In addition to the relationships they will develop with other children and adults, your child should not be showing more independence and this is an excellent sign of good developmental growth. Their social development will not be all sunshine and rainbows though. Now that they are socializing more, they are witnessing different types of behavior, rudeness being one of them. I can tell you from experience that the first time my kid told me to shut up I was ready to explode! However, the more of a reaction they get out of you, the more they will continue to exhibit the behavior. The fun side of their new social side is that they are brimming over with imagination and new ideas! Make sure you foster these things but help them to distinguish between what is real and what is fantasy.
The Wonderful World of Words
Before you know it, your brainy toddler will be using all sorts of words; even the four letter words that will shock you. It is likely that they do not even know what the words mean so try not to overreact. Let them know that the word they used was not appropriate and that they should not use it again. On the bright side of their language skills development, your kiddo can now count to ten, name colors and speak in sentences. Encourage them to talk to you a lot so that they can keep growing their skills. Now is a great time to teach them how to read as well!
Your Four Year Old on the Move
Your four year old will be an active little monkey now! They can climb, jump, run and wiggle their way into anything and everything. They should be able to draw the basic shapes, and make pictures from memory (Even if those pictures look nothing like what they are meant to be!) Now is the time that you will have to be on constant watch. If they can get into something, they will; especially now that their fine motor skills are so much more developed!
Using the Behavior Chart
A behavior chart can be your saving grace at this stage of your child’s life. They have reached a point where they want to please you because it pleases them. Discipline that shows your displeasure tends to work well on children this age. You can make this chart is several different ways. You can add or take away stars, change the colors for “good” to “bad”, or even do a jar in place of the chart. This is my favorite one! You take a jar and add something that they love to it whenever they are caught being good. When they are caught misbehaving then you take one piece of whatever out of the jar. Whatever is left at the end of the day, you can give to them as a reward. This way you are still showing that you notice when they are behaving, even if they have lost some of the reward. I always used candy kisses as my kid’s reward!
I find higher successes using language skills on 4 year olds as their can reason better now with logic, rather than emotions. Navigating the waters of the four year old world can be tough. But in the end you are rewarded with a five year old that knows themselves and their worlds better, and can go onto school with confidence!