If you are a parent or carer to a newly turned three year old, you may well have noticed a few (not so subtle) changes to your child. You may also have heard the phrase ‘Threenager'
A 'Threenager' is similar to a teenager (think mood swings) but smaller. They have overnight spawned into a mini dictator who can negotiate for England, they can do absolutely everything by themselves and they just love to ask ‘why?’ ALL THE TIME!
But, is it fair to give your three year old a bad rep for behaving accordingly to his or her age?
It is very true that the third year can be particularly challenging for you as a parent or carer, but before you go brushing up on your negotiating skills or lock yourself in the bathroom to cry, read on for some tips on surviving the year and maybe, even possibly, enjoying it.
As you will have noticed you’re Threenager’s language, thinking and motor skills are more developed, so they are able to express exactly what they mean and they want more independence to do things in their own way and in their own time.
My own newly acquired Threenager is very much in the asking why stage. At three, children are becoming more aware of the world around them and they are very curious. (Hence why he got a pea stuck up his nose at the weekend!) As annoying as it can be, it's important to answer the "why?" questions and if you genuinely don't know the answer, explain and tell them you will find out. Being curious and having a desire for knowledge is actually a good thing.
We had a power cut overnight last week and in the morning over breakfast the 'Threenager' asked why the clock on the oven was flashing. I explained that we'd had a power cut. His response? ''Why?'' So we ended up having a full on conversation about electricity, what it powers in the house and why power cuts might happen - in this case bad weather. Now, every morning he takes great pride in pointing to the clock on the oven and telling me all about electricity. His desire for knowledge fulfilled and my ego boosted as a Mum!
When it comes to a Threenagers desire for doing things themselves, if it is safe to do so, I highly recommend letting them do it. This may mean adjusting your morning schedule to allow extra time for getting dressed, but it's an important life skill so go with it. If their choice of outfit doesn't match, ask yourself if it really matters and remember to give out lots of praise. Getting dressed is a hard task to master, so feel proud that they have accomplished it, even if it is nearly lunchtime!
Speaking of lunchtime, have you noticed how repetitive their meals are becoming? My advice, if they are still getting enough of all the good stuff, go with it.You will likely find that if you have not made a fuss they will be more willing to try other things. Also, getting them involved in cooking and making their own dinner will help. For instance, My 'Threenager' now eats pizza since making his own.
Turning three isn’t all bad though. If you can choose your battles carefully you will find it a really fun year.
At three, your child will be happier to play alone meaning you can finally take a pee in peace!
Their increased vocabulary and ability to string sentences together, means that you will have some great conversations and they will be forming friendships.
They will be better at playing together with their friends, meaning you might finally be able to have a hot cuppa and finish a conversation with your friends.
Physically, they will be able to do more for themselves, walking further meaning your back might start feeling better and they will be better at feeding themselves, meaning you will also be better at feeding yourself, as you will get back the use of both your hands!
And, if all else fails... they will be turning four before you know it.