Developmental Milestones - 3 Years of Age

Important Milestones: Your Child By 3 Years of Age
Milestone Checklist
How your child plays, learns, speaks, acts, and moves offers important clues about your child’s development. Developmental milestones are things most children can do by a certain age. Check the milestones your child has reached by the end of 3 years. Talk with your child’s doctor at every visit about the milestones your child has reached and what to expect next. What most children do by this age:

Social and Emotional
  • Copies adults and friends 
  • Shows affection for friends without prompting 
  • Takes turns in games 
  • Shows concern for crying friend 
  • Understands the idea of “mine” and “his” or “hers” 
  • Shows a wide range of emotions 
  • Separates easily from mom and dad 
  • May get upset with major changes in routine  
  • Dresses and undresses self 
  • Follows instructions with 2 or 3 steps 
  • Can name most familiar things 
  • Understands words like “in,” “on,” and “under” 
  • Says first name, age, and sex  
  • Names a friend 
  • Says words like “I,” “me,” “we,” and “you” and some plurals (cars, dogs, cats) 
  • Talks well enough for strangers to understand most of the time 
  • Carries on a conversation using 2 to 3 sentences
 Cognitive (learning, thinking, problem-solving)
  • Can work toys with buttons, levers, and moving parts 
  • Plays make-believe with dolls, animals, and people 
  • Does puzzles with 3 or 4 pieces 
  • Understands what “two” means 
  • Copies a circle with pencil or crayon 
  • Turns book pages one at a time 
  • Builds towers of more than 6 blocks 
  • Screws and unscrews jar lids or turns door handle
 Movement/Physical Development
  • Climbs well 
  • Runs easily 
  •  Pedals a tricycle (3-wheel bike) 
  • Walks up and down stairs, one foot on each step 
Act early by talking to your child’s doctor if your child:
  • Falls down a lot or has trouble with stairs
  • Drools or has very unclear speech
  • Can’t work simple toys (such as peg boards, simple puzzles, turning handle)
  • Doesn’t speak in sentences
  • Doesn’t understand simple instructions
  • Doesn’t play pretend or make-believe
  • Doesn’t want to play with other children or with toys
  • Doesn’t make eye contact
  • Loses skills he once had


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