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Old 07-07-2013, 06:09 PM   #11
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Re: Three. Help.

Three year olds are the most obstinate creatures on earth.

It's all in how you say it. "Say what you mean, and mean what you say" If it's at all optional, don't even say it. They know your weaknesses. It's preprogrammed in them.

Say "Do you want to open the door? Or do you think I should open it?" Give them power, responsibility and control. "You can lock the doors for me" instead of "don't touch the door".

Any time you start a sentence with the word "don't", it's a throwdown, and the three year old will win.

But, don't give too many choices. Like "Go pick a shirt" is too much, but "Blue shirt? Or striped shirt?" is manageable (usually)

A three year old can start helping with cooking. They can sit on the bar stools and cut with a kid's knife, they can roll out dough for you, they can clean with a spray bottle with water and dish soap. (they will clean everything, even if you didn't want it clean, so specify "only plastic or wood"..otherwise, they will clean the couch)

Hang in there...five is awesome.

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Old 07-07-2013, 06:15 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by carriek38
DD turned 3 in March & I swear the [even more] terrible 3s started by 2.75 for her. She's like Dr. Jeckyll & Mr. Hyde. She alternates between being an incredible sweet, affectionate girl & the least rational 13 y.o. I can imagine. Consistency, logical consequences, as much independence as you can stomach (I'm terrible at this!), & your own patient demeanor might help. Otherwise, an occasional babysitter &/or copious amounts of wine are necessary. And by the time you're done, you'll probably understand why some species eat their young
Hmmm maybe DD is starting early (2.5) bc you have described her to a tee. Friends have said that 2 is nothing compared to 3. Oh gee, really looking forward to it!
ITA about the wine. My own consumption has increased noticeably lately
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Old 07-07-2013, 08:09 PM   #13
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Re: Three. Help.

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Originally Posted by escapethevillage View Post
Three year olds are the most obstinate creatures on earth.

It's all in how you say it. "Say what you mean, and mean what you say" If it's at all optional, don't even say it. They know your weaknesses. It's preprogrammed in them.

Say "Do you want to open the door? Or do you think I should open it?" Give them power, responsibility and control. "You can lock the doors for me" instead of "don't touch the door".

Any time you start a sentence with the word "don't", it's a throwdown, and the three year old will win.

But, don't give too many choices. Like "Go pick a shirt" is too much, but "Blue shirt? Or striped shirt?" is manageable (usually)

A three year old can start helping with cooking. They can sit on the bar stools and cut with a kid's knife, they can roll out dough for you, they can clean with a spray bottle with water and dish soap. (they will clean everything, even if you didn't want it clean, so specify "only plastic or wood"..otherwise, they will clean the couch)

Hang in there...five is awesome.

This. All of it. 3 is like demon-possessed, IMO. They are strongly independent and opinionated, and desire control over every minute aspect of their lives (and yours, and their siblings, and everyone else's). Give them choices, but not too many. Frame it like, "would you like this one or that one?" If it is non-negotiable, ask, "would you like to put your shoes on by yourself, or would you like me to do it for you?"

Give them a job: "Can you sweep the floor for me?" "Can you help me fold the washcloths?", etc. They want to feel important and needed, so find things they can do to help.

When they have a tantrum, do what you can to empathize and reflect, but don't cave, *no matter what*. Be consistent, don't give options that you can't follow through on, don't *ask* them to do anything when you really meant to *tell* them to do it (that is just asking for a fight!). Use a timer (a visual one is best) to help them see how much time they have for an activity, which will help with transitions.

When my little one melts down, I give her two options: she can either have her tantrum in her room, or she can see her dad (who will hold her until she settles). If dad isn't available, the second option is to sit on the stairs away from everyone. When she feels like being pleasant again, she can return to the family's activities. Mainly, this is because we have 4 other children, and listening to the 3 yr. old scream completely disrupts the entire family.

The other big thing is to try to focus on the positive: 3 is really a fun age. They are developing a sense of humor, they like to help, they are adventurous, they can do a lot of things for themselves, etc. If you can set them up to succeed as much as possible, it is easier to deal with the times when they really melt down. They are also at an age where they can start, with your help, to begin to identify their feelings, what they like and don't like, and more. As frustrating as 3 is, your hard work will pay off in about 18 months, so don't give up.
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Old 07-07-2013, 08:32 PM   #14
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Re: Three. Help.

My best advice is to never ever repeat yourself when you ask them to do something or tell them to stop doing something. Say it once--politely, but firmly--and proceed to immediate consequence if it is not obeyed within 8 seconds (count in your head, NOT out loud).

When I repeat myself, I teach my kids to ignore me the first five times. They learn that I didn't really mean it, and wonder how far they can push me with EVERYTHNG else

Last edited by Melinda29; 07-07-2013 at 08:34 PM.
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Old 07-07-2013, 08:36 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by escapethevillage
Three year olds are the most obstinate creatures on earth.

It's all in how you say it. "Say what you mean, and mean what you say" If it's at all optional, don't even say it. They know your weaknesses. It's preprogrammed in them.

Say "Do you want to open the door? Or do you think I should open it?" Give them power, responsibility and control. "You can lock the doors for me" instead of "don't touch the door".

Any time you start a sentence with the word "don't", it's a throwdown, and the three year old will win.

But, don't give too many choices. Like "Go pick a shirt" is too much, but "Blue shirt? Or striped shirt?" is manageable (usually)

A three year old can start helping with cooking. They can sit on the bar stools and cut with a kid's knife, they can roll out dough for you, they can clean with a spray bottle with water and dish soap. (they will clean everything, even if you didn't want it clean, so specify "only plastic or wood"..otherwise, they will clean the couch)

Hang in there...five is awesome.
Exactly. Perfectly said.
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Old 07-08-2013, 01:01 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dressagemom

This. All of it. 3 is like demon-possessed, IMO. They are strongly independent and opinionated, and desire control over every minute aspect of their lives (and yours, and their siblings, and everyone else's). Give them choices, but not too many. Frame it like, "would you like this one or that one?" If it is non-negotiable, ask, "would you like to put your shoes on by yourself, or would you like me to do it for you?"

Give them a job: "Can you sweep the floor for me?" "Can you help me fold the washcloths?", etc. They want to feel important and needed, so find things they can do to help.

When they have a tantrum, do what you can to empathize and reflect, but don't cave, *no matter what*. Be consistent, don't give options that you can't follow through on, don't *ask* them to do anything when you really meant to *tell* them to do it (that is just asking for a fight!). Use a timer (a visual one is best) to help them see how much time they have for an activity, which will help with transitions.

When my little one melts down, I give her two options: she can either have her tantrum in her room, or she can see her dad (who will hold her until she settles). If dad isn't available, the second option is to sit on the stairs away from everyone. When she feels like being pleasant again, she can return to the family's activities. Mainly, this is because we have 4 other children, and listening to the 3 yr. old scream completely disrupts the entire family.

The other big thing is to try to focus on the positive: 3 is really a fun age. They are developing a sense of humor, they like to help, they are adventurous, they can do a lot of things for themselves, etc. If you can set them up to succeed as much as possible, it is easier to deal with the times when they really melt down. They are also at an age where they can start, with your help, to begin to identify their feelings, what they like and don't like, and more. As frustrating as 3 is, your hard work will pay off in about 18 months, so don't give up.
I love this post! I agree that 3 is really a fun age! My current 3 year old is a hoot! She is so funny and brightens my day everyday. She is the only one who will tell me "cool hair" when I wake up with the worst hair ever. She is the one who will tell me I'm booootiful when I put on makeup. She will randomly tell me things like "Jesus hugs me". But, she can throw the worlds worst tantrum. She also likes to hit. Time out works quite efficiently for her. She has to sit on time out for 3 minutes. At the end of the 3 minutes she is always calmed down and apologizes to whoever she hit/yelled at/whatever. When we first started time outs it didn't go over so well, but being consistent really paid off. Oh, and I agree with asking them to help you too. She loves to help! The 1.5 year old and her put away the diaper laundry, help with throwing things away, wipe down walls, get the trash from the bathrooms, put the kitchen rags away, etc. she also puts her laundry away (baby doesn't do that yet), and she even puts some of my laundry away (like undies and pants that go in drawers), not clothes that hang. I always praise them when they help. Even the 1.5 year old says "I helper". They love, love to help. Oh, they sweep too (but do a horrible job but it keeps them occupied).
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Old 07-18-2013, 08:31 PM   #17
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Re: Three. Help.

3 has been very trying for us and DS, not so much with DD so I was unprepared...4 is just around the corner so I'm hoping there's a light at the end of the tunnel!
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Old 07-18-2013, 09:57 PM   #18
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Three sucks. No help just commiserating!
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Old 07-18-2013, 09:58 PM   #19
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