Your 3-year-old

Snapshot of a three-year-old

You’ve probably commented more than once in recent weeks that your child’s really not a baby any more.

The defining characteristic of three-year-olds is their drive for competence. At this age, nothing satisfies like success and kids tend to seek out new challenges — whether it’s doing up their own shoes or scaling the climber.

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Snapshot of a three-year-old

You’ve probably commented more than once in recent weeks that your child’s really not a baby any more.

The defining characteristic of three-year-olds is their drive for competence. At this age, nothing satisfies like success and kids tend to seek out new challenges — whether it’s doing up their own shoes or scaling the climber.

Living with a three-year-old can seem quite magical at times, as she makes the shift from an unpredictable toddler to a more cooperative preschooler. She is not so much at the mercy of her own desires and impulses, and she truly wants to earn your approval.

Your preschooler will still have times when she expresses herself physically. But now she’s using words (with your help!) to tell you how she feels and what she needs more often. Her language skills are growing and she’s eager to use them. She’s also starting to think of other people and their feelings too.

Your little helper

Chances are, your three-year-old is so excited to be part of the “big” world that she wants to help you all the time. Whether you’re making muffins or sweeping the floor, the familiar “Can I help?” request will surely be following you around.

Why not take her up on it? Her eagerness to help is part of that drive for competence. By letting your preschooler help you whenever you safely can, you’re letting her know that you think she’s a very important person. While your muffins might look funny and your floor might still be dirty, your child will feel 10 feet tall. And that’s a pretty special thing for a growing kid.

Here are the best preschool chores.

Playtime! All about me

Want to make turning three extra special? Make some art that’s all about her.

1. Get a long piece of paper. Have her lay down on it and then trace the outline of her body.
2. Have her draw in her face, hair, even her favourite outfit.
3. Add her footprints and handprints. To do this, pour some paint in a tray and some warm water in a basin. Have her step in the paint, onto the paper, and then rinse off in the water. Repeat with her hands.
4. Help her write her name, or even the first letter of her name if she can.
5. Write down fun things you want to remember: favourite words, sayings, songs, stories. Get creative! Include anything you think she’d enjoy.
6. Have her draw pictures of some of her favourite things, pets, memories, whatever she’d like.
7. Write down the details of how you celebrated her birthday.

The fun is just beginning! Learn how to encourage different types of creative play.

Slow down, baby!

You may have noticed that your child’s growth rate slowed down a bit when she was a toddler. This year, she’ll slow down her growing again. Her body shape is changing, too. She’s starting to lose that stocky, pot-bellied toddler look as she loses her baby fat. She might even seem to be getting too thin! Don’t worry, over the next couple of years, she’ll build sturdy muscle on her arms and legs. She’ll be a long-legged “big kid” in no time.

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