Saturday, April 12, 2008

My Almost 35 Month Old Toddler

How my toddler's growing: His third birthday is almost here! Your preschooler is becoming more independent. He can probably prepare a bowl of cereal for himself and even get dressed without your help — though his color coordination and fashion sense may be different from yours. He can also walk, stand, run, and jump with ease. However, it may take a little extra concentration to stand on his tiptoes or balance on one foot for a second or more.

By now your child probably needs only a short nap in the afternoon, if any at all. You might find, however, that scheduling a quiet, restful time in the afternoon — whether he sleeps or not — can be a calming part of her day and yours. At this age, he has a need for privacy, and time to relax alone during a busy day can help him feel settled and at ease.

Being interested in the differences between girls and boys is a normal part of growing up. Try not to react with shock or horror if you find your child in the midst of an anatomy check with another child. Just let both children know that penises and vaginas are kept private and steer them toward another activity. They'll probably be relieved, since they may already have some sense that the game they were playing is taboo.

How your life's changing: Your little one is able to focus well on one activity and is developing more sophisticated social skills. He may soon start playing more structured games with others, like tag or go fish. And meals with the entire family are very important now. Sitting down together teaches your child table manners and encourages listening, sharing, and communication skills. If you don't all sit together for a meal every day, try to rearrange schedules so you can — even if your child has to have a light afternoon snack to make it to a later dinner.

Parent Tip: The Perfect-Sized Party "Our son's third birthday was a nightmare. We invited too many kids to his party and he spent the afternoon anxiously guarding his toys. Our friend later told us that a good rule of thumb is to make the guest list match the child's age — invite three kids to a third birthday party, and so on." —Traci

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