There are some things that do get easier once your child turns into the threenager. Ok, some things get tougher – and I’ll come to that shortly. For now though, here is some positive news.
- You don’t need to carry copious changes of clothes, wipes, bibs anymore. By 3, your son or daughter is getting much better with their fine motor skills and therefore can usually eat a standard dinner without getting too messy. I’m still wary of spag bol, but most other foodstuffs are mess-free.
- They tell you what is wrong. Rather than worry constantly about whether your child is ill or unhappy because they can’t speak, by 3 the extent of vocabulary is such that they will normally be able to tell you when they feel poorly or are hurting, or indeed, if they have pushed an object up their nose.
- Independence. By 3, your child is beginning to take a bit more control and can be trusted to be in a room (or preferably garden) without you being a metre or so away. Their interest is expanding and they will trot around investigating things but this no longer involves the ‘I need to put this is my mouth to work out what it is’ activity. Cue less paranoid Mum. Note, still be careful of pens around walls and doors.
- Toileting. Yes, finally, by 3 children are beginning to show desire to discard the nappy in favour of the potty or toilet. This in itself is a mammoth achievement and one that means you no longer need to worry about whether the toddler is likely to let out something stinky whilst you are eating lunch, or whether the location that you are going to has sufficient baby-changing facilities. Your freedom has returned.
- More walking, less carrying. The threenager is finally able to walk a fair distance without asking to be carried. This is such a great feeling when your back, hip or shoulders no longer ache from having to carry your child all the way round the park, garden centre, shops etc. and you also don’t need to navigate through crowds with a buggy.
Now for the not so great things that threenagers bring.
- Impromptu tantrums
- Night terrors
- Challenges with listening
However, the insatiable need for questioning, and the developing sense of humour can’t help but make me smile and forgive my own threenager daughter for her spirited nature. Overall this is a very enjoyable stage that needs to be embraced.