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At this age, your child may:
jump in place
kick a ball
balance and stand on one foot briefly
pedal a tricycle
change feet when going up stairs
build a tower of nine cubes and make a bridge out of three cubes
speak clearly, have a vocabulary of 1,000 to 2,000 words, speak sentences of four to six words and use pronouns (you or she) and plurals (dogs or cups) correctly
ask "how," "what," "why," and "when"
like silly words and rhymes
know her age, name and gender
understand "cold," "tired," "hungry," "on" and "under"
tell the difference between "bigger" and "smaller" and explain how to use a ball, scissors, key and pencil
copy a circle and imitate a drawing of a cross
know names of colors
describe action in picture books
put on clothing and shoes
Avoid junk foods, unhealthful snacks and soft drinks.
Limit 100 percent fruit juice to four ounces a day.
Do not let your child run around while eating. Make her sit and eat. This will help prevent choking.
You may need fluoride treatments if you have well water.
Your child may stop taking regular naps.
Continue your regular nighttime routine.
Your child may be afraid of the dark or monsters. This is normal. You may want to use a night light to help calm her fears.
Teach your child how to brush her teeth. Use a soft- bristled toothbrush. You do not need to use toothpaste. Have your child brush his or her teeth every day, preferably before bedtime.
Make regular dental appointments for cleanings and checkups. (Your child may need fluoride tablets or topical fluoride if you have well water.)
Your child needs at least 60 minutes of active play time most days of the week.
Physical activity helps build strong bones and muscles, lowers your child's risk of certain diseases (such as diabetes), increases flexibility, and increases self-esteem.
Choose activities your child enjoys: dance, running, walking, swimming, skating, etc.
Be sure to watch your child during any activity. Or better yet, join in!
Your child's blood pressure
Your child is not too young to start having regular blood pressure checks. High blood pressure (hypertension) may
be a sign of an unknown disease. If not treated, high blood pressure can cause serious illness.
Use an approved car seat every time your child rides in the car. She should be in a car seat until she is ready to ride in a booster seat.
Keep all knives, guns or other weapons out of your child's reach. Lock guns and ammunition in different parts of your house.
Teach your child the dangers of running into the street. You will have to remind her often.
Teach your child to be careful around all dogs, especially when the dogs are eating.
Always watch your child near water. "Knowing how to swim" does not make her safe in the water.
Talk to your child about not talking to or following strangers. Also, talk about "good touch" and "bad touch."
What your child needs
Your child may throw temper tantrums. Make sure she is safe and ignore the tantrums. If you give in, she will throw more tantrums.
Offer your child choices (such as clothes, stories or breakfast foods). This will encourage decision-making.
Your child can understand the consequences of unacceptable behavior. Follow through with the consequences you talk about. This will help her gain self-control.
Let your child explore, show, initiate and communicate.
If you do not use day care, consider enrolling your child in nursery school or play groups.
You may be asked where babies come from and the differences between boys and girls. Answer these questions honestly and briefly. Use correct terms for body parts.
Ninety percent of 3-year-olds are bowel trained, 85 percent stay dry during the day and 60 to 70 percent stay dry at night. Praise and hug your child when she uses the potty chair. If she has an accident, offer gentle encouragement for next time. Teach your child good hygiene and how to wash her hands. Teach your daughter to wipe from the front the back.