Three Year Old Milestones: Social, Cognitive, and Gross Motor

Three Year Old Milestones:Social, Cognitive, and Gross Motor

According to the CDC, three year olds have a variety of milestones that caregivers and parents should be looking for.  These milestones include social and emotional, language and communication, thinking and problem solving, and gross motor development.  

3 Year Old Milestones

There are many weekly activities that can promote child development in all of these areas. Preschool Gymnastics offers challenges and encouragement to developing not just the physical, movement based milestones, but also many of those under the social, emotional, language, and thinking umbrellas. 

Social and Emotional Milestones

Three year olds are able to participate in gymnastics classes without the help of a parent.  This separation may cause some initial anxiety, but it is important for three year olds to develop the ability to separate from mom and dad willingly, knowing that they will return to their parent after class.  

In addition, three year olds should be able to copy an adult or friend.  What better way to learn this than gymnastics?  The instructor will demonstrate the skill or station and then ask the child to repeat it.  Sometimes, they will also have the opportunity to watch a classmate prior to mimicking the action.  

Lastly, preschool gymnastics classes teach children to take turns.  They have to wait for the person in front of them to finish before attempting a forward roll.  They have to wait for their teacher's attention.  There are also many cooperative games and activities built into warm up and cool down that reinforce the importance of team work and taking turns: 

3 Year Old Social Milestones

List of Three Year Old Social and Emotional Milestones

  • Copies adults and friends
  • Shows affection for friends without prompting 
  • Takes turns in games
  • Shows concern for crying friend 
  • Understands the idea of “mine” and “his” or “hers”
  • Shows a wide range of emotions
  • Separates easily from mom and dad 
  • May get upset with major changes in routine
  • Dresses and undresses self

Language and Communication Milestones

Following instructions is a very important skill taught and reinforced in preschool gymnastics classes.  Students are given many opportunities throughout the duration of class to follow through on instructions given by the coach.  

These instructions include directional words such as "in", "on" and "under".  In addition, coaches expect students to know each others' names and use friends as partners at stations or in group activities.  While there is absolutely a learning curve to being successful at following said instructions and learning the vocabulary of directional phrases and classmate names, with continued practice, three year olds will advance in both language and communication.

Three Year Old Language Milestones

List of Three Year Old Language and Communication Milestones

  • Follows instructions with 2 or 3 steps
  • Can name most familiar things
  • Understands words like “in,” “on,” and “under”
  • Says first name, age, and sex
  • Names a friend
  • Says words like “I,” “me,” “we,” and “you” and some plurals (cars, dogs, cats)
  • Talks well enough for strangers to understand most of the time
  • Carries on a conversation using 2 to 3 sentences

Cognitive (learning, thinking, problem-solving) Milestones

Gymnastics introduces three year olds to the world of physics.  They become curious as to how the equipment works, the difference between forward and backward rolls, and how to balance their bodies on a narrow beam.  A popular game of builders and destroyers even works block stacking in the middle of class! 

In addition to being exposed to new equipment and skills, preschool classes use color matching and puzzles to challenge both the mind and the body.  A favorite drill involves carrying a puzzle piece while walking across the balance beam and then placing the piece into the correct part of the puzzle when reaching the end of the balance beam.  

Lastly, developing grip strength is vital to teaching the beginning stages of handwriting.  Whether hanging on a bar, building at a manipulative station, or using clothespins at a return station, preschool gymnasts are not just developing gymnastics skills, they are developing the skills they need to draw circles, lines, and eventually letters. 

Three Year Old Congnitive Milestones

List of Three Year Old Cognitive Milestones

  • Can work toys with buttons, levers, and moving parts
  • Plays make-believe with dolls, animals, and people
  • Does puzzles with 3 or 4 pieces
  • Understands what “two” means
  • Copies a circle with pencil or crayon
  • Turns book pages one at a time
  • Builds towers of more than 6 blocks
  • Screws and unscrews jar lids or turns door handle

Movement and Physical Development Milestones

Of course, the most obvious benefits to gymnastics are physical.  Students in gymnastics practice climbing, running, jumping, and swinging.  They develop muscular strength and flexibility that allows them to easily accomplish gross motor milestones.  Many programs even have mats in the shape of stairs to practice walking up and down stairs in the most fun way - maybe jumping into the foam pit! 

List of Three Year Old Gross Motor Milestones

  • Climbs well
  • Runs easily
  • Pedals a tricycle (3-wheel bike)
  • Walks up and down stairs, one foot on each step

In conclusion, there are many important three year old milestones.  As a parent or caregiver, it is important to keep an eye on all areas of development.  Finding weekly activities that promote development in all areas will give your child a head start towards lifelong learning. Has your three year old reached these important developmental milestones? Take a look at four year old milestones here.

4 Weekly Activities for your Toddler

Tags: Gymnastics, Preschool, Parenting, Motor Skills
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