A threenager is a person who used to be a really cute baby but now puts on an angry scowl every time you suggest something. To live with a threenager you have to be mentally prepared for the mind games and the meltdowns.
Here are my top tips on surviving life with a threenager:
Food is a huge part of a threenagers life. Most of them are kept alive because of the amount of snacks consumed. In fact some threenagers don’t eat proper meals at all. The reason they don’t eat proper meals is mainly because they have been asking for snacks 15,000 times a day. This is why an abundance of snacks in the kitchen is needed.
If you run out of snacks, this is going to cause huge problems within the household. All hell will break loose and you will worry that the neighbours will be wondering what all the screaming and banging on walls is about. Every time a kitchen cupboard door opens, snacks should fall out, that’s when you know you have enough.
Now, obviously I’m not condoning drinking everyday of the week. But, if you have had a particularly trying day with a threenager, I suggest having a glass of wine with your dinner. One glass will take the edge off and you will soon realise that it’s almost the threenagers bedtime. Bedtime means silence and at least an hour of freedom for you to feel sane again. After one glass of wine you will care less about your toddler than you did all day, and sometimes that’s a good thing.
There are really good apps out there for frazzled parents of threenagers. If, like me, at certain times in the day you feel your head may explode from being asked the same questions over and over and over again, or you are shattered from having the same argument about why they can’t make up their mind about what god damn cartoon they want on Netflix, you need to put a calming app on your phone. They are free and they will help you calm down when everyone is asleep and you need to unwind. My suggestions are Headspace, Calm and the Mindfulness app.
It is vital to make friends with someone who also lives with a threenager. You need someone who understands how crazy they are and someone who won’t judge you when you call to their house and your threenager trashes the place or has a meltdown about a piece of cheese. If there are two of them doing what they usually do, you might even be able to sit down and drink a cup of coffee and dare I say it, have an adult conversation.
I have noticed that if you give a threenager jobs to do around the house, even if they’re not real jobs, it will keep them occupied for at least 30 minutes. I realise this is not a long time, but at least it’s a break from the constant snacking and freaking out about nothing.
Give them laundry to put in the washing machine, let them press a couple of buttons, make them feel like they are in charge of something really important. Fill an empty spray bottle with a bit of washing up liquid and some water and get them to clean all the tables in the house. You may even have time to make yourself a cuppa, they will get so engrossed in the task at hand.
Netflix has been a Godsend for me in terms of dealing with a threenager. Don’t feel guilty about how much TV they watch, your sanity is more important. We binge watch don’t we? And I don’t think it effects us too badly; in fact I read recently that Netflix has been responsible for saving relationships because the only thing most couples talk about now is whatever series they are binge watching.
My three year old will happily gorge on the Wiggles, while dancing around the living room. I’m not too worried that binging on the Wiggles will effect her future development, if anything it’s improved her dancing big time.
A dress-up box:
Boys and girls absolutely love a dress-up box. You can borrow old Halloween costumes from friends, pick up some fairy tutus from Penneys for next to nothing or just fill the box with skirts, wands, hats, pirate costumes, skeleton costumes. My mom found a nurses uniform in Dunnes not long ago for smallies and my daughter spent so much time pretending to be a medical professional, she had all of our health in tip top shape. Speaking of health a doctors kit is the one must have item in this box. Every three year old in the world loves to wear a stethoscope around their neck whilst telling adults how sick and dying they are.
I hope these tips may come in useful to all you tired parents out there. Remember, no matter how bad the day has been, it’s nothing to do with the type of parent you are. Don’t beat yourself up about it, sometimes kids are determined and strong minded and these are traits that will come in very handy when they are adults, it just makes for a very difficult and impatient toddler!
Best of luck!