Two – Three Year Olds

Dear yayas,

My 2 (almost 3) year old is driving me bonkers! I heard 3 is worse than 2…is this true? I’m going to need some tips (and a drink!) if we’re going to get through this challenging stage! Any pointers?

– Desperate in Delaware

Hi Desperate in Delaware, Each age and stage comes with its own set of challenges and its own set of joys. What is driving you bonkers about 2? Some things will get better and some may not…but what I can promise you (and I say this as a mom of littles) is that you will miss the stage for the joys when it passes. As for the challenges, they make you stronger! –Cortney

My best advice is to pause and breathe. The toddler ages are challenging, though there are pros and cons with each age and stage. It helps me not to take myself too seriously and be goofy with my kids. –Diana

Dear Desperate, what kind of wine would you like, red or white? Hahaha! Approaching this age with a sense of humor can help. A girlfriend of mine often mentions how fun and imaginative 3 year olds are…this helps me see their creativity and vision through the mess. I have learned a lot by following positive parenting groups online (they offer me perspective and helpful hints. I especially appreciate Janet Lansbury’s work). Boundaries can be set with clarity, but also light-heartedness. There will be moments that feel maddening and seem to make no sense. Try to make sure you’re getting enough alone time and adult conversation to break up the craziness. This is a great age to attend a lot of playgroups and get out of the house so you AND your child get socialization. Talking with other moms about what they do when their kid melts over things like wanting the banana peeled but then not wanting it peeled once it’s peeled will give you some new parenting ideas and that much needed laugh. Hugs, Lori Beth

Oh, they are so cute at that age, they are starting to walk and run! They need to run and be outdoors. If you have a fenced yard that is important as they feel that freedom. When they are that age, have a bottom drawer in the kitchen that they can get into and play with while you are working (that has little bowls, measuring cups, etc. like what you are using). Sing to them throughout the day and have them sing. Have a quiet reading time as they will start fighting naptime at this age. –Grama Claire Bear

Yes, lots of movement! They are growing and curious and want to “do.” They will move until they are exhausted (and you too!). It helps to have some times “in-between” to rest so they can connect back with you, even if it’s just a few minutes. You can have “go to” tools or activities (singing, finger games, good old pat-a-cake). Good luck and enjoy! –Taren

Hello Desperate! My experience with my own children has been, the earlier the terrible twos begin, the sooner they end. Having said that, my youngest started when he was 18 months old and I think grew out of it before he was 4? I don’t know that 3 was worse than 2, but 3 year olds are definitely still testing boundaries and trying to exert some independence. The best advice I received when my youngest was that age was to get used to saying “no,” otherwise the terrible twos will drag out even longer. You may want to read a bit about the Montessori way of doing things, as it certainly helped to eliminate some of the frustration we were experiencing. Basically, it takes a bit of effort at first, but whenever you can, allow your 3 year old to do things for themselves. As an example, we had a small table in our kitchen for our two youngest to eat their snacks. We also installed a special toilet seat that had a built in child seat so they were able to be independent as they were potty training. And then of course, give them opportunities to get rid of extra energy, and try to find time to snuggle each day, even if it’s just to read a book at bedtime. It’s a lot of work for sure, but one thing I’ve realized with my kids is, anything worthwhile in life generally involves some level of work. Let us know if you have any other questions, and enjoy that glass of wine! –Lorelei

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