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3 Years


No immunizations are needed at this time unless your child has fallen behind. The next routine vaccines can be given at age 4 and are required for kindergarten. We do recommend annual flu vaccines in the fall/winter months.


Your child’s appetite is likely improving with an increased interest in fruit, meat and milk. Your child is even probably requesting things that s/he would like to eat. In the family meal setting, s/he may dawdle and demand attention. Remember, a 3 year old will not eat with the same manners as an adult!!! Snacks need to be nutritious like dried and fresh fruits, graham crackers, low fat cheese and milk. Limit sweets and fruit juice. A 3 year old will enjoy helping you prepare simple foods like Jell-O, puddings, sandwiches and soup. Remember the four food groups: meat & protein (4 servings), milk & dairy (2 servings), fruits & veggies (4 or more servings), and bread & cereal (4 servings).


Consistently reinforce limits and appropriate behavior. All caregivers should be on the same page with expectations and discipline. Removing sources of conflict as well as timeouts of about 3 minutes are appropriate at this age. Anger is a normal emotion; help your child handle it constructively by settling disputes with respectful discussion, exercise, or time alone to cool down. Do not allow your child to hit, bite, or use other violent behavior. Intervene immediately and briefly, explain how the behavior makes the other person feel, and help your child apologize.


Teeth: Dental care is very important. By now, your child probably has a full set of temporary teeth. Set a good example and assist him/her in brushing teeth daily.  Your child should be seeing a dentist on a regular basis. Thumb or finger sucking may cause deformity of the jaw. It is difficult to help your child give up this habit.  Scolding and punishment will only increase his/her anxiety. Talk to your provider or dentist if you have concerns.

Sleep: Your child may no longer need a nap, however, we still recommend a quiet time in the afternoon. If not napping, your child may sleep longer at night. Be sure to develop a “getting ready for bed” ritual. Spend some quality time with your child just before bedtime. Talk about the day or read a book. If your child awakens during the night, offer reassurance, but discourage your child from getting into bed with you.

Elimination: Your child should be improving his/her toilet habits; however, this can be a long and difficult process.  Don’t embarrass or reprimand; accidents will still happen. Bedwetting is still common, and some children don’t stay dry all night until first grade or later. Bedwetting may also reoccur during stressful times.



  • Your child does not fully understand danger, so keep a close eye on him or her! You can’t assume he or she will follow rules and directions when you aren’t watching.

  • Teach safety measures if your child is riding a tricycle. It’s not too soon to start using a helmet, and make sure you and your toddler’s older siblings are modeling this behavior as well.

  • Continue to reinforce street and car safety. This includes your own driveway! Never leave your child unsupervised in or around vehicles.

  • Your child should be restrained in an appropriate car seat at all times when in a moving vehicle.

  • Watch your child around water and never assume someone else is!!! Use a skid proof mat in the bathtub.

  • If you own a gun, KEEP it ALWAYS unloaded and locked up with the safety on and bullets stored separately.

  • Organize a plan of escape for the entire family in case of fire. Be sure fire alarms are in every bedroom and hallway and that they work!!

  • Remember SUNSCREEN daily and protective clothing (hats, sunglasses, long sleeves).

  • Consider how your child sees you dealing with dangerous items: pins, knives, medicines, etc., and keep them where your child can’t get them. Know that if your child does get a hold of them, he or she will imitate your actions.

  • All cleaning items and substances not for eating/drinking should be kept locked up and out of reach.

  • Keep the poison control number near the phone.  1-800-222-1222.




Being active is a healthy behavior to teach your child now by engaging in physical activity as a family.


  • can ride a tricycle

  • walks up stairs alternating feet

  • stacks 6-8 cubes

  • balances on 1 foot for 1-2 seconds

  • copies a circle

  • draws a person with two parts (e.g. head and legs)

  • throws balls overhand, kicks balls


Your child is becoming more independent by the day! Encourage that when appropriate.

  • has self care skills such as feeding self and dressing self

  • more extensive imaginary play

  • enjoys playing and interacting with others

  • knows name, age, gender

  • likes to make choices


Read to your child daily and allow him or her to “read” to you and tell you stories.

  • carries on a conversation with several sentences linked together

  • is fully understood by parents, mostly understood by others

  • names friends and family members

“How tall will my child be as an adult?”


This is a very common question. Although no one can predict exactly how tall your child will be, an approximation can be made by using the following formulas…

A girl’s predicted mature height in cm=1.29 x (height at 3 years in cm) + 42.3 cm

A boy’s predicted mature height in cm=1.29 x (height at 3 years in cm) + 54.9 cm

Divide the total by 2.5 and you will have your child’s predicted height in inches.  Have fun!!


Next appointment is at 4 years of age, but please come back sooner if you have any concerns about your child’s health or development!!


Giving your children chores to complete can give them a sense of accomplishment, foster feelings of belonging, and encourage responsibility.  There are several chores that are appropriate for a 3 year old child:

  • Put toys in a toy box

  • Stack books on a shelf

  • Place dirty clothes in a laundry hamper

  • Throw trash away

  • Fold washcloths

  • Set the table

  • Fetch diapers and wipes

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