Infant & Toddler, Partners & Parents

Your Child at 3 Years – Growth, Development and Concerns

It is a real joy watching your child grow. From crawling one day to riding a bike the next, it all happens in the blink of an eye.

Despite the years flying by, it is important for fathers and mothers to track milestones and discuss any concerns you may have with a qualified medical care professional.

Here is what you can expect at the three-year mark.

Remember, there are other developments and activities you can do with your child that are not mentioned here. This is a father-focused list and accounts for time spent and work and active involvement of the mother and other family members.

Developmental Milestones

  • Climbs well
  • Runs easily
  • Walks up and down stairs (one foot on each step)
  • Pedals a tricycle
  • Can work toys with buttons or levers
  • Plays make-believe or pretend
  • Understands what “two” means
  • Follows instructions with 2 or 3 steps
  • Shows affection for friends without prompting. Shows concern for a crying friend
  • Shows a wide range of emotions
  • Says name, age, gender. Can also say “I, me, we and you” and some plurals
  • Understands the idea of “mine” and “his” or “hers”

How You Can Help with Development

  • Work with your child to solve the problem when they are upset
  • Talk to them about their emotions
  • Set rules and limits and stick to them
  • Give them 2 or 3 step instructions
  • Talk, read and sing to them every day
  • Hold your child’s hand going up and down stairs
  • Play outside with your child
  • Play the matching game and the counting game

Developmental Concerns

  • Falls down a lot and had trouble with stairs
  • Drools or has very unclear speech
  • Can’t work with simple toys
  • Doesn’t understand simple instructions
  • Doesn’t speak in sentences
  • Doesn’t make eye contact
  • Doesn’t play pretend or make-believe
  • Doesn’t want to play with other children or toys
  • Loses skills they once had

Remember that all children are different and develop at varying paces. If you do notice any of the listed concerns, we recommend erring on the side of caution and talking to your child’s doctor.

This information has been curated from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the CDC. Always consult with a qualified medical professional or childcare expert when taking important decisions regarding your child and their health.


Impress your partner with key facts, take better co-parenting decisions and be 'in the know'. Visit our Partners & Parents resource center for more.

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