Has your tot turned into a typical threenager?

Share this article with other mums

You've survived the "Terrible Two's", but are you ready for your tot's next developmental phase of being a sassy little "threenager"?

Everyone warned you about how trying the "Terrible Two's" would be, but once your little one turns three years old and developed a few more skills, little did you know that you would be living with a tiny sassy teenager trapped in a preschooler's body - otherwise known as a "threenager"!

So what exactly is a threenager and how can you tell that your innocent little tot has turned into one?

Here are the usual traits and characteristics of these spunky little three year olds:

 

1. They want to do everything by themselves

threenager, milestone, preschooler, development, child, kid

No longer a baby and moving on up from being a toddler to now becoming a preschooler, your threenager strives for independence and insists he can do everything on his own without your help because he is "a big boy now".

Now before you get all misty-eyed over the fact that he can pour his juice all by himself now, don't worry, he'll still call you to help wipe his bum after he's done on the potty.

Ah, the joys of parenting...

 

2. Naptime becomes a huge battle

threenager, milestone, preschooler, development, child, kid

Naptimes used to be a great window of opportunity for you to quickly get some chores done, or eat a light snack in peace, or have a short snooze yourself.

But your threenager has other plans and always tries to get out of his mid-day naps (much to your dismay!), which is fine if he doesn't turn into Mr Cranky-Pants if he misses it, as some kids around this age will actually be able to handle dropping their naps already.

When he becomes a parent himself years from now, he'll probably learn to appreciate naptime again.

 

3. Their sense of fashion is emerging

threenager, milestone, preschooler, development, child, kid

As embarrassed as you are about your threenager's odd choice of attire (pajamas with a tutu and a bicycle helmet), let her channel her inner fashionista and choose her own outfits, as long as they are appropriate for the weather.

Three year olds should be able to put on basic attire by themselves and as a way of asserting independence, just give her the freedom of mixing and matching her outfit of the day.

Take this as a preview to what sort of kooky outfits she will be wearing once she hits the teenage years...

 

4. They are suddenly scared of stuff that never bothered them before

threenager, milestone, preschooler, development, child, kid

Suddenly your fearsome tot has turned into an anxious threenager who is scared of thunder, the dark, or clowns - when all this never bothered him before!

You ask him to take a bath, or help you throw something in the bin, or to go to sleep at bedtime and his default answer is always, "No! I'm scared!".

This is because he is beginning to develop his imagination and is still unable to distinguish the difference between fantasy and reality, so he might be imagining there are monsters lurking in the shadows, or at the bottom of the bin.

 

5. Expect a bit of attitude or sass

threenager, milestone, preschooler, development, child, kid

You've just asked your child to put her toys away, only to have her sigh, roll her eyes, stand there with her hands on her hips and huff, "Fine, okaaay!", and for a flash second you can picture what life will be like once she reaches adolescence.

Your sassy little kid is not being disrespectful, but she is actually just learning to figure out who she is and it is part of a normal discovery process.

This is exactly why the term "threenager" was coined - as a mash up of the words three and teenager (umm, good luck!).

 

What are the other characteristics of a typical threenager? Go to the next page to find out!

Child Development milestone