Congratulations! Your toddler turns three this month and the fun really begins! With the terrible twos (hopefully) behind you, you can look forward to a year where your child has a greater command of his language skills, strives to be independent, his imagination and creativity grow stronger and he is able to paint, do puzzles, walk, run, jump and cause havoc. He may be able to dress himself this month and understands complex concepts such as why he has to wait for his dinner (you have to cook it!). By the end of this year your three-year-old may have grown about three inches taller.
As your toddler turns three he probably doesn’t seem like a toddler anymore as he runs, jumps, hops, skips, balances and probably rides a tricycle. He can hold a conversation and most of the words he says are understood. He is developing a sense of independence and can understand fairly complex concepts, like why he feels hot or cold. This month its time to give yourself a huge pat on the back. You’ve come a long way since you gave birth and were given your tiny baby to care for.
The third birthday
The third birthday party is not that different to the second in terms of what your child can handle, so the same rules apply: keep it simple, don’t invite too many friends and stay away from hiring magicians or party entertainers (until your child is older). The difference this year is that you can include your child in the planning stages. Ask your child what kind of party he wants (but give him some limitations, or he might be upset when you tell him it cannot be held under the sea). If he does like the sea, make this a theme of the party using foods, the birthday cake and under the sea decorations to help. Like two-year-olds, three-year-olds will get tired and grumpy after too much fun, games and cake so keep the party small and the food healthy. Too much sugar will result in kids running riot.
You may notice your toddler starting to say NO back to you (and probably stems from hearing you say no too often!). There are some children of this age who are really beginning to assert themselves and therefore say no to pretty much everything! For children, saying no is a power trip and once they have discovered they can use it, it can become very frustrating for you. Try to limit situations where your child can answer with a no, for example, don’t ask, ‘do you want to get dressed?’ instead ask, ‘what would you like to wear your red top or blue one?’ Changing how you phrase sentences can also help, so instead of saying ‘go and put your shoes on’ say, ‘lets see who can put their shoes on the fastest, mummy or Oscar?’