Watching your baby grow is one of the most satisfying and happy times of your life. After the really harrowing experience of the “terrible twos”, your baby is now a preschooler. Your child develops an understanding, starts listening and responding to you, and it’s time for your baby to explore his imagination.
As a mother, you should be concerned about what is expected of your three year old baby. Let’s help you out with some of the statistics that your baby should achieve at the age of three, indicating her proper development.
The weight range varies for boys and girls. It should be between 25.25 to 38 pounds for girls; whereas it is expected to be between 26.5 to 38.5 pounds for boys. The BMI or body mass index is a measure of body fat and instrumental in determining if the baby is obese or not.
Regular visits to the doctor are a must to keep the baby healthy and immunized against several chronic diseases. The doctor might conduct a checkup for anemia, lead poisoning, tuberculosis and other conditions. The immunizations are also recommended by the age of three-
- Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DTaP) vaccine- 4 doses
- Inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV)- 3 doses
- Measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine- 1 dose
- Hepatitis B vaccine (HBV)- 3 doses
- Chickenpox (varicella) vaccine- 1 dose
- Rotavirus vaccine (RV)- 2 or 3 doses.
- Pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCV, PPSV)- 4 doses
- Hepatitis A vaccine (HAV)- 1 or 2 doses
Flu vaccine should also be administered right before the flu season begins.
• At this age it is best to switch to skimmed milk or 1% milk. For the fat requirements of the baby olive oil, nuts and cheese can be given.
• Whole grains must be preferred to half grains. There must be a balance of nutrients in their diet, and there must be a substantial variety of foods.
• Since the babies are unable to eat big chunks of food, you should provide foods that pack in a lot of nutrients. Sweet potatoes are one of the best examples, as they are packed with nutrients as well as provide a lot of energy.
• The meals and snacks should be regular with a variety of food items. You shouldn’t force feed the baby; let her eat anytime she wants to and also the amount she wants to. Regular meals make your child less picky about food items, helping you in the process.
• To increase the bonding, eat with your child and inculcate positive eating within her. Teach her table manners and enjoying food by having the meals together with family.
• Let your baby serve the food for herself from the serving bowls; if you have to serve then ask how much she wants to eat.
By this age your child requires less sleep than before. But what is the expected amount of sleep that your baby needs in order to stay healthy? Your three your old baby is expected to get 9 to 12 hours of sound sleep during the night and 1-3 hours of a nap during the daytime. Thus, on an average your baby should sleep for around 12 hours in a day; and it’s your duty to make sure that this is met as sleep is highly instrumental to the well being of your baby.
The first change that you will observe is that your child will start talking more. Some of the other development milestones that you can observe are-
• She will start saying her name and age.
• She will develop an understanding and answer simple questions.
• She will learn to construct simple sentences containing 4-6 words.
• The voice becomes clearer.
• She will start telling stories right out of her imagination.
This is a time when your baby is going to wonder a lot and keep asking hordes of questions! Added to that she should be able to–
• Identify various colors
• Learn to pretend and think creatively
• Follow commands of the parents.
• Remember things and stories heard from others.
• Develop a better understanding of time
• Learn the concept of counting.
• Sort objects based on their shape and color.
• Be able to solve jigsaw puzzles and identify common objects and pictures.
This is a really busy time for your baby, as he is always on the move. The things that he should be able to do are-
• Climb up and down the stairs; one step at a time.
• Learn to run without tripping and learn to ride a tricycle
• Balance himself on one foot for more than five seconds.
• Walk forward and backward easily
• Learn to bend without tripping forward
Hand and Finger Skills:
Your baby becomes much more nimble and must be able to-
• Learn to handle small objects easily and learn to turn the pages in a book.
• Write some letters of the alphabet
• Build something using Lego blocks
• Dress and undress without your aid
• Start drawing shapes like circles and squares
• Unscrew jars and turn rotating handles.
Emotional and Social Milestones:
Apart from physical independence you can notice emotional independence of your baby as well. Your baby starts throwing tantrums which are quite noticeable. On the other hand, your baby starts becoming more social. He learns how to cooperate, take turns and may begin to display some problem solving skills as well. Some of the noticeable changes are–
• Start imitating people around him like friends and parents.
• Show affection for those close to him like parents and friends
• Understand the basics of possession of objects
• Display various emotions like that of happiness, bored, angry, and sad.
Apart from all these, the child’s imagination runs wild during this period. He dwells in fantasy and pretend play becomes interesting. Make sure that your child does not become delusional due to his vivid imagination.
Toys form an integral part of any baby’s life; and these vary at different points of time in his/her life. So, let’s have a look about how your three year old baby would want to play now.
- Your baby likes pretending to be someone else by dressing like that person.
- He likes to be on the move; is quite impatient and does not want to sit in one place.
- He starts comparing himself with others.
- He starts playing simple games like catching and kicking with a ball; this can hugely improve balance and coordination.
- Your baby might start drawing faces and people
- He might like to create various figures out of clay.
- He might start writing legibly and read a lot of storybooks, sometimes displaying sympathy for the characters as well.
Thus, a lot of changes takes place when your baby turns three. Proper care should be taken at this time as the baby is quite volatile during this time. Follow these guidelines, and see your baby grow into a responsible adult.