Seriously, to all the moms (and dads and other caregivers)
of 3 year olds – I hold up my coffee in salute to you.
Your job is HARD!
3 year olds are HARD to live with. (Yes, teens are too, but Let’s FOCUS here).
Convo with a 3 year old (like my miss)
“I like trucks. I like my puppy. My puppy’s name is Max. He’s brown. That lady’s brown over there. Why is she brown?”
“Can I be brown? or purple? NOT pink though. I hate PINK! My mom put pink socks on me. I hate my pink socks (starts taking off shoes to remove socks.)”
“Let’s leave those on, k?”
“NO! I hate pink socks! I WONT WEAR PINK SOCKS!” (throws shoes and socks in tearful rage.)
Awww -makes you want to have another doesn’t it?
Or when my Meatball was 3, and had a speech delay it would be
“Grunt Grunt gobbbly goo (smile) Doggy! da da huh shemuh duh Grunt Grunt (point)”
TANTRUM! (throwing shoes and socks in tearful rage.)
SO 3 YEAR OLDS are CRAZY! Sing along with Katy Perry – (They’re hot then they’re cold, they’re yes then they’re no they’re in then they’re out they’re up and then down.)
WHY?! WHY?! WHY!? They ask it a million times a day why can’t we?
Truth is there are some reasons why!
- Brain development! 3 year old brains are processing SO much information and integrating it all. By age 3 most children have a good grasp on language and communication. But integrating that language when emotions pop up is still pretty difficult. And just like younger years they are little sponges, soaking up all the modeling that we are not always aware of.
- They are programmed to EXPLORE and EXPERIMENT! which
mayoften conflicts with our agenda of say grocery shopping. Helping your 3 year old learn when/how to explore and where your boundaries are will help you both. Not to say that finding these boundaries won’t mean a dramatic emotional meltdown.
- I and You – You are different from me. We are not some conjoined item. I am my own person! INDEPENDENCE! And just like everything they explore this new found freedom. They test it, they test it again, they test it with grandma, and at the park and …. This is normal 3 year old behavior. That said LIMITS help them feel safe. Letting them know ahead of time the limit and expectation will minimize crazy (not eliminate it!).
- They live in the moment! Like right now. Like not in 5 minutes or an hour or yesterday but NOW. So when you (with the best of intentions) give them that 5 minute heads up that you’ll be leaving. They freak out. WHY DID YOU SUDDENLY ROCK MY WORLD? Still give that 5 minutes – that’s good advice. But know that change is really really hard.
- Which brings us to ROUTINE! If you want to dial down the crazy make every day
mind-numbingthe same. Drop off at childcare the same time to the same person giving the same kiss kiss hug. Read the same books (hide the ones you hate). Play the same Hi Ho Cherrio Game every night. Eat dinner the same time. Bath at the same time. Bed at the same time. Make it monotous and predictable. It might bore you but your 3 yo will LOVE it. It will also make her feel safe and like the world isn’t so BIG and scary because A then B then C.
- Don’t under estimate SLEEP! For you and your 3 yo. He should be getting around 12 hours a night and 1-2 hours for a daytime nap. Seriously! I know its a lot. And if you need to drop off at child care at 7:30, that means 7 pm is bedtime. (**If you need help with sleep, consider a consult with me! I really am happy to help you problem solve and work out something that meets your family’s needs). And then YOU need to get 7-9 hours (stop laughing!!)