4 facts about 4-year-olds
Older than a toddler, but younger than a scholar, 4 is still a fascinating and sometimes weird age.
No contagious yawns

Does just reading the word yawn make you yawn? Yawning is so contagious for about half of us adults that it is almost impossible to resists joining in on a big yawn. But children under 4 don’t have the same contagious yawning response, says a new study.

Intriguingly, children with autism also showed less of a contagious response to other people’s yawns.

Irish children start young

The age for starting school in Ireland is 4, and Irish children are in primary school for 8 years, according to an analysis of school starting age statistics by Friedrich Huebler.

In two thirds of countries looked at, children start school when they are 6. In Morocco, children only start primary school when they are 8, Huebler says.

They get irony

Your 4-year-old may understand your ironic humour, says a new study. Whereas previous research seemed to show that irony was lost on children until about the age of 6, the new research on different language uses in families reveals otherwise.

So next time you say: ‘Go, kill yourself, see if I care!’ remember that your 4-year-old probably understands you all too well.

Teacher attention increases learning when playing

Letting children play and explore is an important part of learning, but independent play does not result in the same learning as if a teacher is present and participating. This is according to a study quoted by EurekAlert. Acquisition of early maths and language skills was enhanced by teachers joining in and adding instruction to the play.

What do you find fascinating about your child?

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