Posted by: mommytoo | April 29, 2011

parenting my three year old

having two kids is way more than twice as much work.  did anyone tell me that before levi was born?  was i just not listening?  nate is a funny, inquisitive, loquacious, moody, snuggly, cautious, loving three year old, and we have had some rough patches.  d says it’s like he has pms all the time, and i’d say that’s quite accurate.  you never know what mood you’ll get on a given day, in a given hour.  for a few weeks there, i was not sure what was going on — right before his birthday at the end of march, i felt like we were losing it. 

after nate’s birthday, which was of course filled with parties, presents, and sugar, d and i had a really good conversation about what changes we wanted to make, and it’s made a huge difference.  what’s interesting is that the changes are relatively minor, mostly about food.  that continues to be our biggest struggle, i’d say.  we’re reading about how to increase what he’ll eat, but mostly we’re just changing how we feed him.  all pressure is off, but mealtimes are structured, and sugar is more limited.  we are taking what we know about him, and what we know about toddlers, and it’s getting a little easier (for now).  he is constantly changing, and responding more to stricter limits than he used to.  i employ threats warnings of consequences more readily than i used to, and at this stage, it really seems to help.  he is not a particularly rebellious kid, but he is of course not capable of real logic yet.  mostly i just explain that if he does X again, Y will happen.  if he isn’t gentle with that toy, i will take away the toy.  i really try not to make it a threat, and i try to make consequences that make sense (i really dislike the “if you are rough with your brother, you can’t have dessert” types of consequences).  i know i lose my patience sometimes, more than i used to.

we have never used “time outs,” nor have we felt the need.  i still don’t call it that, but there are days when he is hyped up and more than once, i sit down with nate and explain that he needs to sit there until he is ready to calm down.  it usually takes a few seconds at most, and sometimes as soon as i sit down with him, he says “i’m ready to calm down.”  i’m learning that like many things, there are few hard and fast rules about what i think is “right” for parenting.  what works for one kid doesn’t work for the next… what works one week might not work the following week, even for the same child!

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