Thursday, November 29, 2012

Terrible Three

My middle child just turned three years old this past Tuesday.  Many of you may agree with me that the three year old stage is far more challenging than the famous "terrible twos" stage.  It definitely does vary from child to child, but this was certainly true with my older one and several parents I've spoken to have agreed with me.

What is it that makes this stage so hard?
It is all related to development and how their little minds are learning new things, their wills are earning to be independent, yet their emotions are difficult to control.  They get frustrated easily when their little hands and bodies can't keep up with what their minds want them to do.

Now our middle child is fairly mild and even though this stage is a challenging stage for her, we are not experiencing the all-out body thrashing tantrums that our older child use to throw.  No.. with this one it is more of a stubborn and silent defiance.  She will sometimes have a scowl on her face if she is not getting her way but she does not melt down nearly as much as our first.

I wrote this entry when my oldest was in her two's...  her three's were actually much harder to deal with.  Now that she is five, I think it is safe to say that she has outgrown the tantrums.  She will always be my emotionally sensitive one, but she is learning to control her feelings better...

Now, my third child was starting to throw mini tantrums after turning one.  We are already bracing ourselves for when he turns two then three...  too bad they don't stay this cuddly and compliant!

Ok.. so some practical things I've learned to deal with tantrums:

  • try to stay calm while child is freaking out (this is not always easy but important)
  • we may both need a time out to calm down
  • physical hug and assurance of love
  • don't give in to the demand or they will learn that tantrums can get them what they want
  • avoid triggers that will set off tantrums (routine really helps)
  • make sure getting enough sleep (tiredness definitely leads to more emotional breakdowns)