Parent Information (4 years)

We encourage all parents to schedule well-child appointments.

Vaccines

View our Immunization schedule.

If your child seems fussy or uncomfortable, we recommend giving a dose of Tylenol. This can be repeated once every 4 hours as needed.

General Information

By now, most children have complex language skills and a strong sense of independence. This age group generally enjoys participating more in household tasks. It is important to model the behavior you would like to see from your child, as he will look to you for clues regarding what is acceptable. Remember to listen to him with respect. Teach him the importance of respect for adults and other children. Praise him when he apologizes appropriately or shows concern for others. By talking to him about his feelings, you can help him learn how to express himself in an appropriate manner even when he’s frustrated or angry.

Try to incorporate learning into daily activities. Many children are not ready for a structured, classroom-type learning environment, but they enjoy rhyming, reading and puzzles. For those children already in preschool, try to visit or get updates from the teachers regularly. This allows you to monitor your child’s progress and keep abreast of any concerns.

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Sleep

Children at this age need about 10 hours of sleep each night. Reinforce a calm bedtime routine. For example, give your child a bath, brush his teeth, read a story, and then place your child in his bed for the night. No matter what your routine, consistency helps him know what is expected. If your child resists bedtime, a consistent, unemotional reminder to return to bed is best.

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Dental Health

Brush your child’s teeth twice daily with a pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste. Be sure to have him spit and rinse to avoid excess fluoride ingestion. While he may want to brush alone, it is best that you brush his teeth first and then allow him a turn. Children at this age cannot do a proper job unassisted. By now, your child should be visiting the dentist for regular check-ups every 6 months.

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Diet and Exercise

Keep mealtimes regular, and offer healthy snacks as needed. Some children have picky appetites, but as long as their growth rates are normal, this should not be a concern. Continue to limit juice intake to 1-2 cups per day. Offer water or low-fat milk instead. Monitor your child’s intake of sweets, especially if he is overweight. Provide healthier options such as fruit or cut vegetables. Eat meals together at the table. Turn the TV off. Use this time to discuss the day’s events and encourage good manners.

Exercise on a regular basis. Try to incorporate at least 30 minutes of physical activity several times a week into family fun time. This helps lay the foundation for a healthy lifestyle.

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Safety

Safety continues to be a concern as your child is more independent. He should not cross a street alone. In the car, children should be in the back in a forward-facing booster seat. Have your child wear a helmet when riding his bike. Discuss what to do if a stranger approaches and how to call for help in an emergency.

Continue to look for dangers in the home. Watch stoves and keep dangerous chemicals such as medications and cleaning supplies out of reach. Think about how your furniture is arranged, paying particular attention to heavy objects that may topple if climbed upon. Lock guns away, unloaded. Keep ammunition locked in a separate location.

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Additional Resources

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