Here Comes Four!
Do you know Four? If you have a Four, I know you do! Four starts off loud, talkative, curious, and full of energy! Four is ready to take on the world, explore, learn, and play. Four’s brain is extremely active, and uses approximately 30 percent of the body’s energy. Four’s body is busy and is also using a lot of energy as it can grow up to 4 inches this year. Four is FUN! They laugh and giggle all the time as they truly show us how to be curious in this big world.
Younger Four has LOTS of energy! And they seem to never tire! Four is in constant motion and needs lots of room to move around; leaving them clumsy and accident-prone. By Four, your child has mastered many of the milestones for development in their bodies: they can walk, run, throw and catch a ball, kick, jump, and climb with more ease. Four is becoming increasingly independent. Parents often find that transitions from activities or environments,like playgrounds, can be a struggle, giving them transition time can help decrease these emotional meltdowns. Giving them a countdown of time till leaving can help Four wrap up playtime on their own terms, easing transitions. Four is all about feeding themselves, getting dressed, stacking blocks, using scissors, and stringing beads. Four has accomplished so much and are driven to learn more every day. Four NEEDS to explore, using all of their senses, and takes the initiative to do so, so finding a way to make sure you have “exploring time” in the schedule will make everyone’s life HAPPY!
Four develops stronger friendships with other children, and play groups are of mixed
sex/gender. Four is starting to learn turn-taking and collaborative play, encouraging activities that allow for creativity and construction will help improve these skills. Four is increasingly concerned about “right” and “wrong” and can be aggressive with siblings at times during play. Remember, Four wants to do good things, they want adults around them to KNOW they KNOW the rules. Support Four by encouraging making positive choices and letting them fail when trying new things. These actions improves self esteem and healthy brain integration.
Four has increased awareness of self and others and they are interested in the differences between boys and girls. Four is curious about their body and it is common for both male and females to masterbate at this age as they discover themselves. Encouraging them to explore when in the privacy of their room is key, strive to not shame them about their bodies or cuisority, provide them guidance.
Four has a short attention span and moves quickly from one thing to another. This spointenaeoty is often viewed as lack of attention or concentration in Fours who attend daycare or preschool. This, however, is a developmentally appropriate trait and not an indicator of inattentiveness or ADHD. Four asks lots of questions and learns best by DOING, so hands-on activities are the best for cultivating their imaginative and dramatic play! Think: puzzles, sand, paint, dress-up, and pretend play. Allow them to play freely! Four also enjoys singing, dancing, rhyming, and being read to. Four has a growing sense of humor and is drawn to laughter and silliness! Use this in times of distress and high emotions, be silly to distract and defect during stressful times. You will be surprised by how quick you can turn strong emotions around with a bit of silliness from a caring adult.
Four is starting to understand the world and is trying to work out what is real and what is not real. Four’s imagination is expanding as they figure out the world around them, and their brain is drawn to stories. Four’s brain is developing more connections between right and left brain, allowing for the expansion of communication and vocabulary development. This is a great time to read to your child! With an increase in imagination and creativity, Four may tell fantastical lies and have a hard time distinguishing between fact and fiction.
Four can be a challenging time for parents, as Four often reacts strongly and with intense emotions: of happiness, silliness, anger, and sadness. It is common for Four to be aggressive and bossy; Four likes to talk and does not like to listen. Encourage Four to share about their day or express their imaginative ideas. Four has developed a sense of personal preferences, and may hold strongly to their likes and dislikes. This intensity can be challenging for parents, especially when Four’s preferences appear trivial, think of the child who will only drink from the blue cup and not the red one! Four’s strong feelings may lead to big meltdowns, and temper tantrums. This is developmentally appropriate and can be expected. Four needs adults’ help to find words to express themselves verbally, rather than reacting physically. Four wants to please others and is learning from the adults around them. You can help Four learn behaviors by modeling them. Four needs to be given the chance to practice new behavior. Four will thrive with observable guidance, versus verbal directives.
In the later part of Four you may notice a less active, less outgoing and more worried child. Four may develop nightmares, phobias, or fears that previously had not existed. This worries many parents, but it is a typical part of development for Four. Older Fours are able to tell the difference between fantasy and reality with more ease, particularly when the fantasy stories are familiar to them. However, they love to absorb new information and will still want to be read to often! A good intervention to these new worries are to read books about these new worries, normalizing their experience and externalizing their fears. Four will initiate learning, follow their lead! Older Fours will start to see that letters and numbers have meaning but is probably not yet ready to read. Older Fours are learning how to hold a pencil more tightly, write more firmly, and draw more precisely. At this time, Four can stay on task for longer periods of time, yet still not that long. Older Fours are dramatic, and can be challenging for parents, especially when behaviors such as lying, crying, hitting, kicking, and throwing temper tantrums arise. This is exactly what Four is supposed to be doing, just know that they will grow out of these behaviors. Patience and silliness are key for parental survival during this time.
Tips for Parents & Caregivers
Parents can support Four by spending one-on-one time with them, doing things you both enjoy.
This is also a great opportunity for parents to be a part of their growing imaginary world and spend time letting them be in the lead when playing. Encouragement (not praise!) and support as they learn new skills is a necessary skill for parents when having a Four. Four’s need consistent routines and expectations, especially around morning and bedtime. Providing consistent limits and consequences for problem behaviors as well as allowing them the opportunity to calm before talking to them will improve your relationship with Four. It can be difficult however, don’t worry too much if your child lies, swears, or exaggerates; model appropriate behavior and they will grow out of it. Using humor during these times is key to giving Four support and demonstrating unconditional love for your Four.
When to Seek Help
If your Four’s worries are preventing them from sleeping, or trying new things, or they are getting in the way of accomplishing daily tasks, play therapy can help your child work through these fears.
Adapted from D. Ray
Here Comes 4 pdf here
Here Comes 4 1/2 pdf here