Use My Voice

Speaking up about the issues I can't get out of my head or heart.

What I Love About Three Year Olds

on May 3, 2013

So I admit it I have been down on the three year old set a little lately. As the mother of a newly turned three year old I found myself thinking, “She’ll be four in a year. We will all survive until then.” Well, really I want to do more than just survive the next year and yes, I really do love my daughter to pieces. It is just three year olds are exhausting. They have not met a boundary that they can not push. They do not have an “inside voice”. Everything is treated with equal urgency in the three year old world good or bad.

Well, with my goal to do more than survive the next year I found myself purposely looking for all the great things about three year old and believe it or not I came up with a nice list.

1. The way the say three. Ask my daughter (or any other three year old I have ever met) how old she is and she will look at you proudly and say, “FREE” while holding up a mess of fingers because she doesn’t really know how many three is yet.

2. They play with people. My daughter and I had a play date with a friend and her daughter who is a couple of months younger than mine the other day. We marveled at the fact they actually played together and spoke to each other this time. I think it was the first time we had actually carried on a full conversation at a play date in three years.

3. They have imaginations. My daughter is all about pretend. We have moved passed just imitating what others do to full on imaginative play. I hear her dolls “talking” to each other and she regularly ask me , “You want to pretend to be Pink Power Ranger together ( what can I say she has two older brothers)?” .

4. They are confident. They are big they know it and don’t try and convince them other wise.

5. They want to help. Three year olds might not be to the point of their four year counterparts of wanting to please yet, but they do want to help. They take great pride in a job well done ( even if it is not exactly the most helpful thing to us).

6. Enthusiasm. I do not think I have ever met a three year old who was not overflowing with enthusiasm. I know it is true of my girl.

I am a big believer in building on one’s strengths especially when it comes to children. So with this in mind I am looking for chances to engage my girl from this perspective. She has been trying to help me with dishes for days. I have gotten frustrated and tried to get her to leave. Today I took a deep breath handed her a sponge and showed her out to scrub the leftover eggs off the pan from breakfast. We ended up with a lot of water on the floor but over and over she said, ” I’m helping you. We did this together”.

I am reminding myself these qualities are important character qualities I want her to keep. If I want them to develop I have to give her chances to use them and let them grow, even if I do end up mopping after we do the dishes sometimes.

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