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A Three-Year-Old Toddler

Ages and Stages Photo Gallery

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Updated March 27, 2011

Your three-year-old will now begin to play cooperatively with other children in small groups, share her toys and develop friendships.
A Three-Year-Old Having Fun With Paint

A Three-Year-Old Having Fun With Paint

Photo (c) Jean Schweitzer
You can give your three-year-old whole cow's milk, but remember that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that you begin to use low-fat milk once your child is 2 years old, so you might make the switch to low-fat milk if you haven't already.

Common nutrition mistakes at this age include allowing your child to drink too much milk or juice so that she isn't hungry for solids, forcing your child to eat when she isn't hungry, or forcing her to eat foods that she doesn't want.

At this age your child is becoming more independent and you can expect her to dress herself and button clothes, brush her teeth with help, stack 9 to 10 blocks, draw circles and squares, use scissors, walk up steps by alternating her feet, jump from a step, hop, walk on her toes, pedal a tricycle, play with imaginary friends, have a very large vocabulary and use 3 to 4 word sentences and her speech should be 3/4 understandable. Over the next year her speech will become fully understandable.

Your child may now begin to ask "why" questions, tell stories, remember nursery rhymes, appreciate special events, and understand daily routines.

Your three-year-old will now begin to play cooperatively with other children in small groups, share her toys and develop friendships. Playtime may include structured games and fantasy activities.

What You Need To Know About Your Three-Year-Old

  • According the latest car seat guidelines, once they are two years old (or, regardless of age, have outgrown their rear-facing car seat) toddlers should sit in a forward-facing car seat with harness straps as long as possible and until they reach the weight and height limits of their car seat.
  • Although they may begin to resist it, most 3-year-olds should still take a nap.
  • The first visit to the dentist is usually by age 3 years.
  • At the three-year-old checkup, you can expect a complete physical exam, a review of feeding and sleep schedules, measurement of your child's height, weight and blood pressure. Your child may receive her HepA shots if she hasn't had them already. A screening vision test will also likely be done.
  • Common Toddler Problems

Three-Year-Old Toddler Topics

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