43 Things Your Child Should Know and Do by Age Three

43 Things Your Child Should Know and Do by Age Three

We also highlight when you should be concerned and speak to a paediatrician.

It’s natural for proud parents to keep a tab on all the amazing milestones their baby hits. But parental pride aside, it’s important for you to have an idea about what your child should know and be able to do, as they reach certain ages. And if you’ve been asking yourself the question, “what should my child know by age 3?”, we’ve got you covered with our list. 

But as you read through, please keep in mind that these milestones are not set in stone. Each child develops at their own pace. 

what should my child know by age 3

What should your three-year-old know?

What should my child know by age 3? Here are 43 things

For ease of reading, we’ve divided this list of “What should my child know by age 3” into categories, based on the different areas of development. We’ll also highlight red flags at the end of the list, so you know when to see a doctor. 

What should my child know by age 3? Physical development

1. Walks up and down stairs using alternating feet 

2. Rides a tricycle

3. Walks in a straight line 

4. Can walk on tippy toes 

5. Runs a short distance without falling 

6. Easily climbs up low furniture

7. Walks forwards and backwards easily

8. Can kick and throw a ball well

9. Bends over without falling 

10. Can help put on and take off clothes

11. Hops and stands on one foot for up to five seconds without falling

12. Can hold cutlery and feed himself (but might still create a mess!) 

what should my child know by age 3

Your three-year-old child is probably a little chatterbox and asks many, many questions!

What should my child know by age 3? Language skills

13. Says his or her name and age

14. Answers simple questions

15. Tells little stories 

16. Speaks 250 to 500 words

17. Talks quite clearly, although they may not be fully comprehensible until age 4

18. Uses five to six words in a sentence

19. Asks simple questions

what should my child know by age 3

Your three year old should be able to identify basic colours and shapes


What should my child know by age 3? Cognitive skills

20. Completes simple puzzles 

21. Remembers what happened the day before 

22. Counts to five 

23. Can match objects 

24. Identifies basic shapes

25. Pays attention for up to five minutes

26. Follows simple instructions

27. Correctly names familiar colours

28. Understand time better (morning, night) 

29. Understands the idea of “same” and “different”

30. Starts to engage in pretend play 

What should my child know by age 3? Hand and finger skills 

31. Can easily turn a page of a book

32. Handles and picks up smaller objects with ease

33. Can use age-appropriate scissors

34. Writes a few capital letters

35. Can copy circles and squares (not perfectly) 

36. Builds a tower with four or more blocks 

what should my child know by age 3

Your little one will be more friendly and less-tantrum prone for sure. But don’t be surprised by occasional outbursts or refusal to play with other kids.

What should my child know by age 3? Emotional and social skills 

37. Imitates you or other family members

38. Throws fewer tantrums

39. Better understands the concept of sharing

40. Shows affection to friends and family

41. Understands the concepts of “mine”, “his” and “hers”

42. Displays a wide range of emotions, such as being happy, sad or bored

43. Has an active imagination

Red flags to watch out for

Mums and dads, you know your child best. If you feel something is not quite right, trust your gut instinct and check in with your child’s paediatrician. 

Additionally, you can watch out for these red flags when it comes to your three-year-old’s development. 

  • Cannot stack blocks or hold small objects 
  • Inability to hold or throw a ball, or ride a tricycle 
  • Uses “me” and “you” inappropriately, and cannot use more than three words in a sentence
  • Drools most of the time and has trouble speaking 
  • Falls down frequently 
  • Has extreme separation anxiety still 
  • Does not make eye contact 
  • Refuses to interact or play (even side-by-side play) with other children
  • Doesn’t understand simple commands, e.g. “Please bring the ball here.” 
  • Loses skills he or she had previously 

Also read: Baby milestones in the first year

Reference: WebMD

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