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(This content has been translated by a computer program and may not be 100% accurate.)

When your child is over four years old

  • Talk to your child about starting school.
  • Meet and talk with other parents who have children that will start school at the same time, it can help.
  • You can contact your Health Visitor too.

Child development

From four years your child may:

  • Like to talk with their friends and grownups and tell them what they know about the things they talk about.
  • Help their friends to be friends again when they fall out or are cross with each other.
  • Tell their friends and grownups what they need, what they want, what they like to do. Also, if they like or do not like something.
  • Like to move in different ways, such as run, skip, hop, jump or roll.
  • When they are singing rhymes or songs or sharing a story with a grown up:
    • Listen really carefully to what is happening.
    • Recall facts and events with increasing accuracy.
  • Be able to:
    • Go to the toilet on their own.
    • Use lots of words to tell you about something that they have made or have done.
    • Play and experiment with numbers.
    • Turn the pages of a book. Know that text goes from left to right.
    • Begin to know that words are made up of letters. Hear the sounds and put them together to read and write simple words.

For a parent's guide from birth to five years, with a wealth of information for families, visit: Healthy Early Years.

Parental support to child

  • Help them to brush their teeth every morning and night.
  • When you go to the park, ask them what you can do there or what things grow there.
  • Let them tell you how you can help them when they are making something.
  • Talk to them about how to keep safe when you cross the road at a pelican/zebra crossing.
  • Play games with them like football, basketball or throwing balls into or boxes.
  • Get them to thread plastic bottle tops with holes onto string or shoe laces.
  • Make fruit kebabs or vegetable faces to help them try different types of fruit and vegetables.
  • Dance with them when you hear your favourite songs.
  • Play a treasure hunt game with them. Where they have to listen to your instructions to help them find the next "clue".
  • When you are sharing a story together, ask them why they think something has happened or what might happen next.
  • When you share a story, ask them how they think the story might end.
  • Make up silly rhymes with them. Use words that begin with the same letter or words that rhyme, like "cat", "bat" and "hat".
  • Play "I spy" with them.
  • Use different voices, such as loud or squeaky, when you tell stories.
  • Do not forget that they enjoy being read to and sharing books with you.
  • Let them read to you and ask interesting questions about the story
  • Make a puppet theatre with them from a cardboard box and puppets. Cut out of comics or pictures from websites, to help them make up new stories.
  • Make and play games with them that use letters or words.
  • Play games where you give them an instruction, like "Can you j-um-p?" or "Can you h-o-p?" and they have to put the sounds of the word together and show you the action.
  • Make a pretend shop with them and let them write the price lists.
  • Make number plates with them for their cars.
  • Make a photo book of your family or when you went to the park. Let them write their own words in it.
  • Plan a picnic with them and let them decide how many sandwiches you will need.
  • Make a number line with them using birthday cards.
  • Play number snap or bingo with numbers that you have cut out of a magazine.
  • Sing number songs where they have to count backwards, such as "Five Little Ducks" or "Ten Fat Sausages".
  • Let them sort out the pairs of shoes, so they go from small to big.
  • Let them make patterns with buttons or lids, like "big, small, big".
  • Let them give you instructions for an obstacle course. Things like, "Go under the blanket", "Go through the tunnel" and "Go behind the chair".
  • Let them help you find the things you need in the shop.
  • Have a pretend party for their dolls and teddies with them.
  • Make a map with them to show how you can get from your house to the nursery or library.
  • Draw a road for their cars or a track for their trains with them on a big piece of paper.
  • Let them help you to water the plants.
  • Make coloured ice cubes with them and let them use those to paint with.

Advice and support

For general health and learning, see: Advice and support. (New born to 5 years old).

Any other key information and useful websites

Things to think about

If you think you need urgent help (day or night), before you go to any other health service, phone: 111.

  • You will be directed straight away to the local service that can help you best.
  • It is available anytime, everyday and is free to call from a mobile or landline.

You should phone: 111:

  • When you need help fast, but it is not life threatening.
  • When you think you need to go to A&E or another NHS urgent care service.
  • When it is outside of your GP's surgery hours.
  • When you do not know who to call for medical help.
  • If you do not have a local GP to call.

Important note: For serious and life-threatening emergencies, phone: 999.

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