“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” Dr. Seuss
“Mommy, look my muscles?!”
It feels like it was just yesterday when my youngest son, who was three years old then, ran into the kitchen. He showed me his strong arm muscles after doing push-ups with his dad. Certainly at least his version of push-ups which looked more like a version of the worm LOL!
It was so nice to see his happy face and hear his proud voice in the middle of all the mess that comes with having small children. His puffed up chest and strong mighty fists to show me his bestest Hulk strong muscle pose was absolutely priceless!
“Look at those big, strong muscles!” I exclaimed as I hugged and kissed my boy. “Mama is so proud of you!”
While your child is between the ages of 3-4, they will say things like “Look at me mommy!” It’s hard not to love hearing this. Even if your kid is now a teenager, you’ll still remember this time fondly moments or “Watch this dad!” as they discover the world around them and all they are capable of doing.
This begs the question…
What is happening during the 3-4 year old years physically?
What is happening intellectually during this stage of development?
3-4 Year Old’s: Physical Development
Between the ages of three and four, children start to develop skills that will help them in sports and school. These motor skills are important for success.
At this stage of our children’s physical development, we tend to see lower muscle tone and lack of spatial awareness:
· It can be difficult for kids this age to sit up straight. They might try but then their body might slump down after a few seconds. Why? Because their tummy muscles are not yet strong enough to keep them in “crisscross applesauce,” straight back position for a long duration of time.
· At this age, children are learning how to know where their body is in relation to other things and people. They learn this through playing. Their senses like proprioceptive and vestibular keep growing as they play more.
3-4 Year Old’s: Intellectual Development
At this age and stage of development, children though expanding their vocabulary daily are still quite limited in their ability to verbalize what they are thinking, feeling, experiencing in a given moment. This is a season of great development intellectually via visual and kinesthetic experiences!
Because the vocabulary of a 3-4 year old is limited to about 250-500 words, it is understandably challenging at times for them to comprehend verbal only instructions. Further, multi-step directions pose a challenge to children of this age group as their frontal lobe continues to develop.
Knowing what we know about the physical and intellectual stages of development for 3-4 year olds, how are our team of Pediatric Ninja Specialists supporting children on and beyond the mats to flourish in these areas?
1. Developing muscle strength
a. By having our ninjas enjoy purposeful exercises whether active, dynamic or static, we are helping to support the simultaneous engagement of multiple muscle groups.
2. Increasing Coordination and Balance
a. Through purposeful exercises and simultaneous engagement of multiple muscle groups, bilateral coordination is being strengthened as well as balance through development, concentration on supporting the core.
3. Encouraging Skill Development
a. By engaging the brain on and beyond the mats in neurobics, mental exercises that enhance the brain’s performance while stimulating neural growth, language development needed to help support the voice of our children as well as the ability to understand and comprehend verbal instructions is all being strengthened tremendously!
Every part of why we do what we do is with the purposeful intention of ensuring the whole mind, body and spirit of your child is supported.
Have more questions regarding the physical and intellectual development of 3-4 year olds? Our team is standing by to help answer them along with any tips of personal support you may be needing beyond the mats.
It takes a village to raise our littles and we are honored to be a part of your tribe of support!
About the Author
Meg Klettke is the proud owner alongside her husband, Alex of Family Strong Sussex, a SKILLZ Lifetime Gold studio in Southeastern Wisconsin. With a background in traditional and alternative therapeutics, Meg is an active advocate for today’s youth. Her passion for supporting and nurturing the whole child resonates through all she does as a Proud Ninja Mom of two boys with special needs, Certified Pediatric Ninja Specialist and Content Creator for SKILLZ Worldwide.