Three Years


  • This year your child will learn his full name, age and sex. He may begin to learn the home phone number and address later this year; however, many three-year-olds will not yet be able to master long sequences of numbers. 
  • He may copy a circle well. 
  • Your child will be increasingly curious and ask many questions-simple, age-appropriate explanations are best. This curiosity may also include questions about where babies come from and about the differences between boys and girls. 
  • Your child may have imaginary friends. 
  • The child does not understand “tongue-in cheek” comments and cannot always tell when a parent is joking. Parents should never threaten to leave or abandon the child. 
  • Many children undergo a period of mild speech dysfluency (stuttering) some time between the ages of two and five years. This usually resolves on its own, and its best to focus on what the child is saying rather than how he is saying it. 
  • Provide opportunities for your child to make simple decisions, within reason. 
  • Parents may need breaks-play groups or nursery schools can be helpful. 
  • He may walk upstairs alternating feet and ride a tricycle 
  • By age three, approximately 85% of children are dry in the daytime, but only 60-70% of children remain dry at night.


  • Encourage eating healthy foods, but do not force feed. Many children will be picky eaters. 
  • Table manners should be encouraged by modeling and praise for appropriate behavior.


  • This would be a good time for your child’s first dental visit. Be sure to choose a dentist who enjoys working with small children. 
  • You should encourage your child to dress himself. 
  • Teach little girls to wipe from front to back after toileting-this helps prevent urinary tract infection. 
  • Genital irritation is frequently caused by bubble-baths, non-cotton underwear, or constructing clothing.


  • Never let your child ride in a car unless properly restrained in a car seat. 
  • Teach your child not to speak to strangers. 
  • Emphasize street safety. Begin to teach children how to look for cars before crossing the street. 
  • Encourage safety on tricycles or big-wheels. 
  • Children should wear approved helmets when on a bicycle. 
  • If you own a gun, we encourage you not to store it at home or in the car. If you do store the gun at home, it should be unloaded, locked up, and ammunition should be stored in a separate place than the gun.


  • This year your child may be ready for you to teach him numbers, letters, colors, and shapes. 
  • Children love arts and crafts-provide crayons, blunt scissors, paints, etc. Three-year-olds are messy, so supervision is advised. 
  • Children enjoy excursions such as to the zoo, picnics, children’s museums, etc. 
  • Children of this age love story time, singing, make-believe, and dancing to records.


  • Coloring books and crayons, clay, records, puzzles, riding toys, sand toys, books, etc.