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Terrible 2’s? HA! I Have a 3 Year Old

Mommy Look at Me I am Sitting!

While a kid and growing up I was always told about the terrible 2’s and the havic they play on your house and your stress levels. My mom always said “No, the 2’s aren’t bad, you must look out for the 3’s”. I was skeptical of my moms warning as I reached adulthood and became a mother and early childhood educator, the terrible two warning came more and more.

You know what? My mother was right, and many other mothers my age are agreeing, the 2’s are not that bad. They may tear up your house and knock things down making complete messes. Don’t forget about the occasional tantrum (my son rarely had a tantrum).

2’s are all about learning the environment learning the rules of the world and making mom and dad happy. The 3’s are about building language and using it to assert independence from parents. My three year old is using his new language to assert his place in the world and be a big boy. This comes with more tantrums and whining than I have ever seen from a 2 year old.

The big issue is, he knows what he wants now, he can see how adults do things and he goes for it. His mind is too big for his body. He thinks he can do so much that a big kid or an adult can do, but he can’t. This causes immense

frustration and confusion.

Ways to combat this is present things to your 3 year old (or your 2 year old if they show interest) that they can do.

My 3 year old really wants to help with dinner and learn to cut with a knife. I break down what ever fruit or veggy I am working on into big chunks and let him cut it down with a dull butter knife (takes extra work but he is learning those fine motor skills and building finger strength).

He helps with dishes, I hand him the plastic dishes that are his and he puts them in the dishwasher. I also, fill up the kitchen sink with soap and a few of his dirty dishes and a rag. He cleans them up and gets water play as well.

When empting the washing machine, I had him the wet stuff and he tosses it into the dryer. At the end he can pretty much unload the dryer all on his own.

When making a PBJ sandwich I put the peanut butter and jelly on his bread and give him the knife to spread it. Pouring his own juice from the pitcher (be ready with towels)

He finds being able to do his own like mom and dad do rewarding and it helps him be a big boy.

In order to gain independence, and grow into an adult (big kid, then responsible teen first) the child need opportunities to grow and be allowed to do things that before were not allowed to do. This process for an adult can (and probably will) be at times, tedious, and messy or a bit trying. But think of the reward, you are raising an independent person who can problem solve and think for themselves. But remember, they are still very little, and will still need lots of mommy and daddy time and play time. These are just the first few steps and hopefully with allowing more independence, your 3 year old will have less tantrums and you can call them “Terrific 3’s!”

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