It is important to keep in mind that development is a journey, not a race. But if you are worried, there is lots of support available. You can talk to a Maternal and Child Health nurse or call the Maternal and Child Health Telephone Line to access reliable information at any time of day or night.
You should talk to your Maternal and Child Health nurse if at three to four years your child is:
- not talking clearly
- not able to talk in sentences
- not coming to you for affection or comfort
- not playing imaginary games
- not playing with other children
- not drawing.
You should talk to your Maternal and Child Health nurse, family doctor, kindergarten teacher or childcare provider if at four to five years your child:
- has difficulty seeing or hearing things
- doesn’t understand your instructions
- is not making sentences of more than three words or trying to have a conversation with you
- is not doing pretend play – for example, he or she doesn’t pretend to be a different person or an animal
- is having big tantrums or is very clingy or upset when you leave
- is having physical difficulties – for example, he or she trips over a lot when walking or running, or finds it hard to handle small objects – for example, a pencil or crayon
- seems very afraid, unhappy or sad a lot of the time
- is easily distracted and can’t concentrate on any single activity for more than a few minutes
- finds it hard eating, dressing or using the toilet.
For more information about child behaviour at four and five, see Raising Children.