What should a 4-year-old know?

It’s almost mid-year report time and although I’m feeling pretty confident that my older boy is on track and ticking all the grade 1 ‘boxes’, I’ve been a bit worried about my younger son.

My 4-year-old doesn’t know all his letters yet. He isn’t a dab hand with scissors. And his drawings of people still look a lot like potatoes.

And then a friend of mine, who also has a 4-year-old, shared this Huffington Post article with me. And my worries melted away. Because I realised that my son does tick all the boxes – the ones that count anyway.

  • My son is loved and loving.
  • He is funny, smart and silly.
  • He knows what he likes (climbing trees, dressing up, playing in the mud, sticks, being read to, taking stuff apart, spaghetti).
  • He knows what he doesn’t like (barking dogs, sitting still, being quiet, a wide variety of vegetables).
  • He is brave and stubborn and kind.
  • He loves to hug and kiss and to be hugged and kissed.
  • He tells me when he’s sad or happy or angry (not always in words, but he sure does get his message across).
  • He thinks he is amazing and he knows that we think he’s amazing too.


As the author of this article says, “Childhood shouldn’t be a race.” You can’t ‘lose’ at being 4. Rather than striving for this imaginary finish line, let’s champion fun and take pressure out of the running.


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