Babyhood is more than over once your child astonishes you with his 3 year old development.
Indeed, by the time your son or daughter turns that age, he or she will no longer be either a baby or a toddler, but a fully grown little person! You'll observe how he takes many skills to a whole new level, which you couldn't even imagine just a few months ago.
Are you ready to get to know the 'brand-new' version of your little one? If not, you should, because 3 year old milestones will blow your mind. Catch a glimpse of what to expect by reading the following lines.
3 year old development: And I'm feeling good
Do you remember those days in which your child used to totter back and forth around the house? Well, they do belong to the past, because your 3-year-old is now a lot more physically confident and capable than before. His ultimate motor skills allow him to:
- Develop more muscle control and gain agility as he starts losing his 'baby fat'
- Catch a bounced ball extending his arms
- Bend over without falling down
- Jump down from around 45 cm high, like a chair, for instance
- Hop on one food and balance for a moment
- Pedal a tricycle
- Cut paper or use crayons to draw circles due to his mastered hand and finger movements
- Put on some basic clothes and, especially, undress himself
3 year old development: Keeping the first conversations
Your 3 year old development also stands out for the ability to communicate ideas, express needs, ask questions and, in general, keep basic conversations. Such little 'men' and 'women' may start wondering 'why' things are the way they are, like the reason why their favourite toy breaks when it falls down from a top shelf, so get a battery of answers ready. The 3 year old milestones in communication and language skills include:
- Mastering basic language structures, along with an active vocabulary of about 600 words
- Being able to say his name
- Answering personal questions, such as 'How old are you?”
- Using pronouns, articles, adverbs, verbs, singular and plural nouns
- Talking in sentences formed by three or four words and imitating speeches
He will probably mispronounce some words, but don’t worry, it’s normal at this stage (and funny, right?).
3 year old development: Becoming social
Another remarkable treat of your 3 year old development is his ability to feel other people's feelings and be empathic. That will lead him to build his first relationships, for example, at school, where he'll make friends with whom to play and share experiences. As he can now understand the cause-effect relation, he'll get happy or sad depending on the circumstances, especially if these clash with his desires. Take note of the following up to date social skills that he can boast about:
- Having more independence. He can focus on games or use toys to create his own stories
- Being more open to share and, also, showing less aggressiveness
- Waiting for his turn to do something
- Identifying with his own sex, seeing the difference between boys and girls
- Having a growing sense of identity, which can make him less dependent on you
- Acknowledging the sense of time in relation to his daily routine and that of others.
- Having a feisty attitude and challenging other people whenever he doesn't get away with what he wants.
3 year old development: Tantrums
Unfortunately, not all 3 year old milestones are exciting. When they reach this stage, a lot of kids become extra demanding and stubborn. They want what they want and, the sooner they get it, the better. When that doesn't happen, they respond by fussing and throwing tempers that will make your patience wear thin. What children are trying to show with such unpleasant behaviour is control, rather than the particular thing they request.
So what could you do in front of this situation? You should try to let your kid grow in his independence, but also set boundaries to assert your control in all the areas that really matter. In other words, you have to give him small choices, so that he learns to make decisions, but putting some discipline and limits too.
3 year old development: Picky kid, hungry kid
And what about food? Is my child going to eat more, now that he's left the difficult 'twos'? It depends. Just so you know, pre-schoolers tend to slow down their growth rhythm, up to an average of 9 cm, and put on around 2.5 kg throughout the whole year. When it comes to eating, they go through 'ups and downs'; on some occasions, they seem to starve, while on others, they get very picky. At this point, your child's diet should consist of all kinds of foods, from dairy products, cereals, meats, vegetables and fruits to sugars and fats. Your 3-year-old shouldn't have any problem to eat chunks of meat, but you can help him by cutting them into smaller ones. Many of them become fussy eaters: that is not uncommon, and there are also ways to deal with it.
This is the time for your son or daughter to eat with the rest of the family and learn how to behave during mealtimes. As parents, you and Dad need to lead by example, eating healthily and keeping good manners while doing so.
3 year old development: Different sleep patterns
There are no written rules about sleep patterns in 3-year-old kids. By now, some children are able to sleep through the night, while others cause some trouble before and after going to bed. It's expected for you and Dad to put him to sleep, singing him a lullaby or reading him a story, which will help him relax and put aside his fears. Yes, because the fact of him being scared or having nightmares may disrupt your sleep pretty often to, so be ready to calm him (and yourself) down. Some children of this age still sleep with their parents or wear nappies during night-time though neither of such things are recommendable (anyway, at 3, your kid may still going through the last phases of potty training, and still wearing a nappy sometimes during the night.
As you can see, the 3 year old development may bring you many surprises, most of them good. Up to this point, you've been in control of almost every situation regarding your child, but from now on, you'll have to accept that he's starting to shape his personality, strengths and weaknesses, and roll with it.