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Brain Development of a Young Child

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D

Q: I wanted to know what are the symptoms of a slow developed brain of a 4 year old child?

A: When brain development is slow, this would eventually affect development in other areas. The following guide may be useful in describing skills and growth markers of 4 year olds (taken from Three main aspects are described; physical and motor, sensory and cognitive, and play.

Physical and motor

  • During the 4th year there is usually a weight gain of about 6 grams per day.

  • The height of your child during the 4th year should be double their length at birth.

  • Improved balance.

  • Hops on one foot without losing balance.

  • Throws a ball overhand with coordination.

  • Skillfully cuts out a picture using scissors.

  • May not be able to tie shoelaces.

  • Bed wetting at this age is still considered normal

Sensory and cognitive

  • Vocabulary has increased to over 1500 words.

  • Easily composes sentences of 4 to 5 words.

  • Can use the past tense.

  • Can count to 4.

  • The age when your child will ask the most questions.

  • May use words outside their comprehension.

  • May begin using vulgar terms depending on their exposure.

  • Learns and sings simple songs.

  • Tries to be very independent.

  • Increased aggressive behavior.

  • Readily discloses personal family matters to others.

  • Imaginary playmates are common.

  • Increased comprehension of time.

  • Able to distinguish between two objects based on simple criteria (such as size, weight, etc.).

  • Less egocentric behavior.

  • Believes that their thoughts and emotions are causative events.

  • Lacks moral concepts of right and wrong.

  • Rebellion is common if expectations are excessive


  • Encourage and provide the necessary space for physical activity.

  • Instruct the child how to participate in, and follow the rules of sporting activities.

  • Encourage play with other children in the area to help develop their socialization skills.

  • Encourage creative play.

  • Read together.

  • Monitor both the time and content of television viewing.

  • Expose the child to different stimuli by visiting local areas of interest.

I hope the above helps; however, it is best to see a pediatrician for an accurate description based on the health history of the child.


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