Development and Characteristics of a 39-40 Month Old Child

Parenting September 14, 2009 Print Friendly and PDF

Parenting Tips for Your 39-40 Month Old Child


How I Move:

  • I can carry drinks without spilling.
  • I ride a tricycle.
  • I alternate feet when climbing stairs.
  • I put on and take off jackets with some help.
  • I am starting to get better at handling small objects.

How I Think:

  • I operate in the here and now.
  • I know number concepts of one and two.
  • I understand, “It’s time to...”
  • My attention span is four to eight minutes.
  • I can name and match simple colors.
  • I often substitute letters such as “w” for “r”, like wabbit for rabbit.
  • I understand two directions given one after the other.

How I Get Along:

  • I like to copy adults.
  • I am interested in playmates.
  • I pretend to be an animal when I play.
  • I play alongside other children.
  • I am beginning to take turns.
  • I want to please adults, but am often independent.

Learn more about Your Child: 39-40 Months from Just In Time Parenting. You can also go to our Resource Links for additional information on child care and development.

Note to Parents: When reading this newsletter, remember: Every baby is different. Children may do things earlier or later than described here. This newsletter gives equal space and time to both sexes. If he or she is used, we are talking about all babies.
References: These materials were adapted by authors from Extension Just in Time Parenting Newsletters in California, Delaware, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Tennessee, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Wisconsin.


This is where you can find research-based information from America's land-grant universities enabled by



This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.