The expression, “go big or go home” is very relevant to age three. Three year olds do not skimp on energy, emotions, or independence. Age three can be a mixed bag for parents. For parents that had a very difficult “terrible twos”, three may feel like a breath of fresh air. Your child has more language and can express himself better. He also is a little more self sufficient and independent. For parents that felt that two was a breeze, age three may feel like a challenge. The same language skills, independence, and self expression may prove difficult to manage.
Language is booming at this age. Whereas at age two, your child was learning how to put words together in short phrases, three year olds can communicate much more clearly. The major trend among all three year olds is that they love to ask questions. The “why” questions being the most popular.
Motor development is also rapidly progressing. Not only will your child become better skilled at the playground, they also start to master a little bike or tricycle. Three year olds can begin to try to get dressed on their own and help to brush their teeth.
Most three year olds are still very “me-centric” and that is perfectly natural. They are just beginning to get the hint of reasoning skills. Tantrums and emotional lability are perfectly normal. They are also very independent. They want to do everything by themselves. This can be frustrating when you are rushing out the door, but take time to let your child safely do things herself when there is time.
Three year olds are much more social, and they are now starting to play with other children, rather than just playing next to them (parallel play). Fantasy and pretend play are a staple of your child’s day. Fears may also be starting at this age. Your child might express fear of “monsters” or other commonly expressed worries.