Surviving the Threenage year: 3 year old behaviour tips

So, your child is 3 years old. Thought the terrible twos were bad? You ain’t seen nothing yet! Your child’s third year will be a challenging one, filled with delightful surprises and typical 3 year old milestones. Now, there’s no fast tracking through this period (short of sending your child off to 3 year old boarding school for 365 days), so brace yourself, read some of our helpful tips and get ready to enjoy this thoroughly stimulating time of 3 year old development!

1. Call in the wardrobe department!

Endless possibilities are just the beginning…enter the newly discovered joy of the wardrobe:

  • Choose your child’s daily outfit by making a final selection from your 3 year old’s fav’s. Select between five pairs of her favourite undies, three pairs of socks, two T-shirts, five pairs of pants, three pairs of shoes – and a long, beaded necklace ‘borrowed’ from Granny’s house.
  • Expect lots of daily clothing changes. Approximately five. Factor at least one of them to involve fancy dress get up, and another to be a seasonally challenging ensemble, such as a takini and ballet tutu – in mid winter.

Bonus points for achieving a 3 year old development milestone – getting through one day with only one outfit change!

2. Prepare quick and easy lunchtime solutions

Anything is possible; it just may not be edible…

Tasty sandwiches

  • Place some thin pieces of sliced ham or roast beef and tomato between two fresh slices of bread. Remove crusts and cut into quarters. Place the four pieces on a small plate and garnish with a small piece of parsley.
  • Serve.
  • Wait patiently.
  • Politely explained that there are no party pies available for lunch.
  • Open the freezer door to demonstrate the absence of party pies. If necessary, get in the habit of using your smart phone to provide photographic evidence of your most recent grocery shop.

Tuna salad

  • Combine in a bowl a small can of water-packed tuna with corn, mayonnaise, salt and pepper.
  • Serve on a small plate with three small pieces of dry whole-wheat toast, crusts removed.
  • Feed meal to the cat after one hour of waiting for it to be eaten. (Trust us, it won’t be)
  • Move on, because you are the 3 year old behaviour guru.

3. Become a time management expert

It’s all about planning ahead. Way, way ahead…(3 year old activities can take a long time to happen).

  • Remember to allow an extra 20 minutes before departing for an outing. This provides time for your child to choose his favourite jacket, remind him that he doesn’t own a purple jacket, suggest the denim one that he loves so much he sleeps in it, settling for his khaki jacket, doing the zip up, then washing the Vegemite off the front sleeve after he’s run back to the kitchen to finish his toast.
  • After parking your car, allow an additional 25 minutes “3 year old behaviour” accommodation time before entering your destination. This will allow for your three-year-old to be convinced that he doesn’t need to take the tablet, the smart phone, the favourite toy, the picture book and the half eaten Vegemite toast inside with him…

4 .Think outside the 3 year old’s square

It’s all about changing your mindset…(not losing it).

  • Lost your car keys? Can’t find the mobile phone? Take a look in the fridge. Three year old behaviour manuals say that they’re bound to be there. Underneath your diary and one of your spouse’s thongs. Alternatively, check the bin.
  • Keeping a calm household means putting thought into every aspect of the home, which includes your car. Once a week, take a few items from the pantry with you to the car. Choose a small selection of chips, crackers, sultanas, and maybe even a couple of muesli bars. Open up all packets, crunch the contents between your fingers and let them scatter throughout the car. Don’t forget to jam lots of crumbs and sultanas into any crevices in the upholstery. Your 3 year old would have done it anyway. You may as well beat her to it!

5. Give and you shall receive – advice from the 3 year old

Dealing with 3 year old behavior - Sage Institute of Aged CareIf it’s good enough for 3 year old behaviour, it’s good enough for you

  • Don’t forget to get involved with your child and play some fun activities. If drawing together, prepare to be told off for drawing a dog brown instead of green. Playing with plasticine? That’s not a cat, silly. It’s a mermaid.
  • Expect to be told the following information: you have five seconds to finish that last spoonful; you need to have some quiet time and calm down; keep your voice down; you must concentrate when carrying a plate – and don’t be naughty. Anything you tell your three-year-old will be thrown right back at you. It’s a 3 year old development must!

6. Look on the bright side

Being three is only for 365 days…

  • Open a calendar and tick off each passing day with a big red pen. After 365 days, your threenager year is over. You will have reached all the 3 year old milestones together along the way. What can be so bad about that?

Sage Institute of Child Care – it’s more than a job, it’s a rewarding career.

Vicki Tuchtan

Vicki Tuchtan

Vicki Tuchtan is the Academic Director at Sage Institute of Education. She oversees learning processes, teaching outcomes, resources and course development. A passionate advocate for bettering standards of training in Australia, she is currently writing her PhD thesis on defining quality training in the Australian vocational education sector.
Vicki Tuchtan

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