Reading and Talking With Your Child

  • Read books, sing songs, and play rhyming games with your child each day.
  • Reading together and talking about a book’s story and pictures helps your child learn how to read.
  • Use books as a way to talk together.
  • Look for ways to practice reading everywhere you go, such as stop signs or signs in the store.
  • Ask your child questions about the story or pictures. Ask him to tell a part of the story.
  • Ask your child to tell you about his day, friends, and activities.

Your Active Child

Apart from sleeping, children should not be inactive for longer than 1 hour at a time.

  • Be active together as a family.
  • Limit TV, video, and video game time to no more than 1–2 hours each day.
  • No TV in your child’s bedroom.
  • Keep your child from viewing shows and ads that may make her want things that are not healthy.
  • Be sure your child is active at home and preschool or child care.
  • Let us know if you need help getting your child enrolled in preschool or Head Start.

Family Support

  • Take time for yourself and to be with your partner.
  • Parents need to stay connected to friends, their personal interests, and work.
  • Be aware that your parents might have different parenting styles than you.
  • Give your child the chance to make choices.
  • Show your child how to handle anger well—time alone, respectful talk, or being active. Stop hitting, biting, and fighting right away.
  • Reinforce rules and encourage good behavior.
  • Use time-outs or take away what’s causing a problem.
  • Have regular playtimes and mealtimes together as a family.


  • Use a forward-facing car safety seat in the back seat of all vehicles.
  • Switch to a belt-positioning booster seat when your child outgrows her forward-facing seat.
  • Never leave your child alone in the car, house, or yard.
  • Do not let young brothers and sisters watch over your child.
  • Your child is too young to cross the street alone.
  • Make sure there are operable window guards on every window on the second floor and higher. Move furniture away from windows.
  • Never have a gun in the home. If you must have a gun, store it unloaded and locked with the ammunition locked separately from the gun. Ask if there are guns in homes where your child plays. If so, make sure they are stored safely.
  • Supervise play near streets and driveways.

Playing With Others

Playing with other preschoolers helps get your child ready for school.

  • Give your child a variety of toys for dress-up, make-believe, and imitation.
  • Make sure your child has the chance to play often with other preschoolers.
  • Help your child learn to take turns while playing games with other children.

What to Expect at Your Child’s 4 Year Visit

We will talk about

  • Getting ready for school
  • Community involvement and safety
  • Promoting physical activity and limiting TV time
  • Keeping your child’s teeth healthy
  • Safety inside and outside
  • How to be safe with adults
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