What is a 4 yr. old typical child supposed to know?

Angela - posted on 04/26/2010 ( 6 moms have responded )




I'm so sick of mom's who are full of them selves who think that my child should be reading and writing. What is a child at 4 yrs old should be doing? She is a preemie and before I send her to be evaluated I would like to hear what you have to say.


Jennifer - posted on 04/30/2010




As a former kinder teacher it drove me crazy when a parent would come and tell me thier child could already "read" & "write" and most of the time they were wrong! ;-) The most important entering school skills are attention and following directions. If they can focus for up to 15mins and follow two - three step directions they don't have to know a single thing and they will thrive in kindergarten. Plenty of reading to them, singing songs, saying rhymes enhances thier oral skills. Also work on things taht will strengthen her fine motor like play doh, tareing, coloring and things that will strengthen her hand/eye corrdination like tracking from left to right and throwing and catching. Sounds silly but very important for literacy!
As far as being evaluated I have seen some research suggesting having a full evaluation around 4/5yrs or before entering kindergarten is a good for a preemie because it sets them up for early intervention and gives a base line for any possible learning isuues which are commen to preemies.
My son was a 29wker and will be four at the end of May. Because he is a boy, because his due date was Aug and because I am a former teacher and know what is expected we will not start him in kinder until he is 6yrs old vs. 5yrs old. He is just as smart and just a capable, but I don't want school to be a struggle, I want him to love it and be positive about it.
I hope I have helped. This is an issue dear to my heart and I mean no offense to anyone. You know your child best!


View replies by

Hawwah - posted on 09/02/2012




If you are a stay at home mom more is expected of you, but i think it is totally understandable, if you work, that your child cannot read by the time he or she is four. children should be surrounded by alphabet, and everything else that they need in order to succeed later in life, in the first five years of life. repeating the names of the things that they see and are constantly surrounded by will help them to succeed in writing and reading. My son was reading by his 4th birthday and i am not "full-of-myself'. i just think that education is the key to a successful life. It is never too late to start!

Kellie - posted on 04/28/2010




I don't blame you for being frustrated but don't worry too much there are term children out there who at 4 are in the same place as your preemie or further behind. All children develop at their own rates just as adults process information in individual ways so do kids.

I have a large circle of friends and some of them said the same things to me but my son was in preschool at the time and I knew he was fine academically but behind socially. I got the shock of my life 9 weeks into his first year at school when his teacher pulled me aside and asked me why I didn't tell her my son could read fluently. I didn't know. He started to recognise a few little words a month or 2 before school started but I just put that down to being ready for the challenges of school. From 4 onwards children just take off some of them learn quick while others are more hands on or social.

Be supportive and helpful to your child and they will thrive, preemies are strong and smart it just might take a little more time for some things to show or you might need to look at things differently, my son learns really well when it is hands on or if he can go and find the info he needs he doesn't do so well in all subjects because schools teach only one way and people all learn differently.

Melissa - posted on 04/27/2010




My daughter is now 4 and was 7 weeks premature. She was delayed and still is as far as some physical developments such as she walked at 15 months and is just now beginning to climb and such. She attends preschool at one of our local private schools and has totally blossomed. She can write her name, knows her alphabet and is now beginning to put letters into simple words. However some of her physical development is less then her other 4 year old schoolmates. That is normal for a preemie or full term child. I have not personally met a 4 year old who can read or write on their own. If there is a child who does I would consider that quite advanced. Is your child in preschool? If there was an issue the teacher would address it with you. I would not feel the need to have my child evaluated unless an expert suggested it. If you are teaching your child from home you might want to look up the requirements to enter kindergarten in your area/state. Also as Sandra stated just turning 4 and almost 5 is totally different. This is a big year for little ones and all learning should be fun. Good luck to you.

Marcia - posted on 04/26/2010




You're telling me! My son was born 6 weeks premature although he had no delays as an infant. However I'm getting told that my son should be able to print his name by the time he enters kindergarten in 5 months! That, amongst other things..

Sandra - posted on 04/26/2010




The first thing you need to take into account is how many weeks premature she is. Both my sons were 6 weeks premature so they could have been behind in development as a baby which would put children behind for developmentally as they grow as well. So the next question is, was she behind as an infant? If so was it more then the amount that she was premature? (eg. 6 weeks behind for 6 weeks premature) if the answer to this question is yes then she might be delayed.

The other question is Has she just turned 4 or is she close to turning 5. There is a difference, at the beginning of 4 she should be able to do all the three year old things vers the end where she should be able to do the 4 year old things.

As for a specific list of what children 4 years old should do there is an assessment called The Nippissing Assessment which is a list of things children should be doing at all the stages from 1 month to 6 years of age.

If you need more info my e-mail is sbottone@execulink.com

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms