Loving and guiding your #threenager

Raising a three year old … aka #threenager

I wish I could freeze time. I’m sure you’ve heard that before but I love the ages of my girls. Lyla’s is 3 1/2 and Lucca is a little over two. So far 3 has been my favorite. It is so fun and I honestly love it. She can talk clearly, relate to rational things, listens and is over the “no” stage. And although she is a seasoned 3 year old and on her way to 4 ( in October )…I feel like I’ve gotten a good handle on this age and enjoying her growing personality and vocabulary so much. Sure there are melt downs, little bits of whining and lots of non-sharing with Lucca; but the fun definitely outweighs the challenging moments. I grabbed my camera since we were hanging at home after swimming. She was being her sweet & silly little self and I wanted to capture these sweet moments of fun in her room. At this moment Lyla and Lucca each have their own room. I’m not sure it will stay that way for long, but for now, they definitely enjoy their own space. If your a mom of 3 & a half year old, or a mom of a toddler, I wrote some good loving guidelines (discipline ideas) & I posted below that have worked for us. I am definitely not a pro, but my goal is to always be a learning, patient and present mommy to my sweet little girls.

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Guiding & Discipline in love.

A very hard topic, but something that children need and thrive from. Here is some basic advice from one mama to another. Remember to discipline in love, It will then take you and your little one a long long way. You will give them the confidence and guidance they need as you sit with them through the hardships and emotions of their toddler years.

1. Encourage your 3-year-old to make choices whenever possible. These choices should be limited to those you can live with. (Would you like a “Banana or Apple?” ; “Do you want to wear your red shirt or pink shirt?”) You should try not to ask a toddler an open question, for example, “Do you want to brush your teeth?”, unless you are willing to accept the answer!

2. Use the two “I’s” of discipline, “Ignore or Isolate, rather than the two “S’s”, Shouting or Spanking. When disciplining, try to separate the child and his or her behavior. Example, “I love you, but I do not like it when you touch the computer.” – This can be so tough when you (as a mommy) are tired or frustrated. Discipline should not come from induced fear, humiliation, shame, or any form of physical or emotional coercion. My best advice, is to walk away from the situation if you are overly frustrated or not sure what to do and count to 20. Even call a friend if you need to vent.

3. Provide alternatives to your little one. Example, “No, you cannot play with my cell phone, but you can color in your coloring bork or play with certain toys.”

4. Avoid power struggles and avoid being stubborn, because no one will win! 3-year-olds (sometimes) still use temper tantrums as a weapon. (again … read #2) Respond to this behavior with the two I’s of discipline – ignore or isolate. Taking a “time out” is a great way to calm down your child and actually have a conversation about the situation. Our time outs last from 30 seconds to two minutes currently due to their ages and their short attention span.

5. Discipline should be consistent and firm. Do not make threats that you can not carry out. If you say you are going to do something, do it! Your child is smart, and often times knows where to push your buttons. But remember, you as a parent need to be loving and understanding. Praising your child for good behavior and accomplishments is as equally important.

We learned in our short 3.5 years of parenting that punishment can sometimes breed negative reactions and with little ones this is often fear. We both believe and we are learning that positive techniques breed self-confidence and empathy for others. Brent and I always stand by each other and trust each other’s judgement and guideline actions. We want our girls to know that we love them so much and each other. This is something that can create a positive tone in your household and it is so important to learn how to be a team with your partner. Your children are constantly watching and growing and will copy your attitude.

Remember tomorrow is a new day! There is so much grace and I am so thankful we get and can give second chances.


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  • I’ve been hearing from all of my friends that it really isn’t the terrible twos- it is more like the terrible threes. You gave some great tips here!ReplyCancel

  • a good guide for parents!!! once my mum told me “there’s no sens in punishing a kid after a mischief’s done, you just have to try for this not to happen”. and it’s totally true…
    i’m sure you’re doing a good job as a mum! my daughter’s 1 year older than yours and she had a lovely 2 but now at 4 she’s gone through a behavior affirmation period quite though, but all that can be overcome with tenderness.ReplyCancel

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