12 things to do when your three year old stresses you out

three year old stresses you outJust as you  breathe a sigh of relief at the end of the terrible twos, along comes the dawn of the threenanger to present a new set of challenges. So what can you do when your three year old stresses you out? Aside from pouring yourself a large glass of wine at the end of the day (duh – standard!) there are a few other tricks which I’ve been trying out at home…

1. Play the idiot/lose your dignity

Let’s face it, three year olds spend a lot of their time feeling like idiots and losing their dignity, so imagine their delight when they see you being an idiot or losing their dignity. All this takes is a little baffoonery (read: falling over, acting like you had a lobotomy) and imagination to play the schmuck. You know that feeling when you realise you’re not the only idiot in this world? Sometimes that’s all your threeanger needs to feel a bit better about what huge emotions they wrangling with at that moment.

2. Make them laugh

Closely related to number one, but seriously, in life if there’s one thing that can defuse conflict, it’s a bit of comedy. Although you might feel like wringing their neck, instead try channeling your desperation into telling a stupid joke or pulling a funny face (without belittling them in any way) and watch that frown turn upside down.

3. Have a wrestle with them

Ok we’re not talking getting all greased up and recreating a World Wrestlers Universe, but sometimes a bit of roughhousing is a great way for them to work out any pent up aggression or emotions that might be burning them up inside and the benefits of roughhousing are well noted. Just be sure that you go easy on them and let them have the upper hand sometimes so they can feel like a hero at the end of it all.

4. Let them be the parent

Life is sucky when you have to do what a parent wants all the time. Most three year olds are absolute control freaks, so let them be the parent and have them tell you what to do for a bit to redress the balance. You can have fun playing the sulky three year old!

5. Tell a story

If your threeanger is driving you crazy about a particular thing e.g. excessive whining, you will know by now that telling them not to whine for the bajillionth time is about as useful as a box of frogs. Instead, try making up a quick little story to try and teach them the behaviour you would prefer…preferably using their favourite character for effect!

6. Just say yes

How many times do you think you say no to your three year old a day? I bet if you counted them up you would have a cardiac. Instead of dishing out the no’s willy nilly, think about whether you really need to say no. If you’re pushed for time, is taking another two minutes out to do what they want really going to be the end of the world? Probably not. And it would mean the world to them too.

7. Play with them

A lot of the time when our threeangers are driving us CRAZY it’s because they really want to connect with us, but instead of doing that, drive us to the brink of insanity instead. Sometimes all they need is a bit of topping up with some attention and a great way to do this is with play. Literally five minutes on the floor playing with them can reward you with another hour or so of good behaviour.

8. Let them take charge on the small things

As I mentioned before, three year olds are raging control freaks. It’s their way, or the high way, and they have to do it ALL. I’m not saying they should rule your world, but let them make decisions about the things that don’t matter too much in the day and you can bet they will be a whole lot less annoying for it.

9.Cuddle them

If in doubt….cuddle. Seriously, I know that this probably the last thing you want to do right now with this sulky, whiny gremlin, but chances are a cuddle with all it’s known benefits, is just what they need right now to reconnect with you and stop being such a pain in the proverbial, so just go ahead and submit and make your life sweeter.

10. Have a meeting

OK, so you might feel like screaming, but if your three year old who thinks they are oh so big now is driving you bananas, treat them like the adult they think they are and have them meet you on the sofa (or wherever) for a meeting to talk about what’s happening.

11. Do a comedy scream

And if you really can’t control your urge to scream, let it out in the most comical farcical way…chances are it will crease them up and you will still get to have a bit of a release too.

12. Accept their feelings

It can be really hard to see things from their point of view but threenagers are going through some massive changes and milestones and they have huge emotions in little bodies. If they want to cry and scream – let them. Chances are they just need to get it all out…and will feel much better for it afterwards.

Does your threeanger stress you out? What do you do when they drive you up the wall? Have you tried any of the above before? Or if not, have a go at home and let me know how it pans out.

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  1. This was a nice reminder to connect with the kiddos. I founds the threes and fours tougher than the twos , especially with twin boys, but slowing down, connecting and giving them the attention they needed were certainly the best solutions. Ironically in hindsight and now with 6 year olds, all I remember are the funny and sweet times and not so much the 3 year old drama tantrums and chaos…. Times does fly!

  2. 13. Cry?
    Just kidding!
    My #13 would deffo be crank up some tunes and have a kitchen PARTAY! Never fails to cheer my divas up and out of their worst strop 🙂

  3. Completely agree with all of them! Someone once told me you have to “pick your battles and realise what’s worth getting mad about and what’s really not” so I try to live by this. The comedy scream, I thought I was the only one that did this haha! I tend to sound like Tarzan but strangely it helps X

  4. Some really fab ideas here Talya – I’m pinning for later on, but can also see a lot of these helping with the two year old. I think I need to do a bit more wrestling – I always leave that in the main to Dad, but she loves it. This morning I just said yes when she wanted to wear some fancy black patent shoes to nursery – it wasn’t worth taking them off her! x #coolmumclub
    Mum in Brum recently posted…Our first dolls house – featuring The Wooden Toy ShackMy Profile

  5. I have a confession to make..I still do this things sometimes..And my kids are looong over 3 years old. Sometimes it just feels right to act like a little kid, no matter your age or the age of your kids.;) Never mind the looks of others;)

  6. Wish I could have read this when my 2 were younger. The list defo still applies in the tweenager years, and no 7 is so on, they really just want to connect or do something fun. Comedy diffuser is always a good one too. #coolmumclub

  7. I’m a big fan of using a wrestle or tickle to distract them. My son’s 5 now, and this still works, it just takes a bit longer, he knows what i’m doing so makes an attempt to be stubborn. Doesn’t last! #coolmumclub

  8. I have to let my 21 month old be the parent from time to time because she is an absolute head strong diva already. God help me at 3 years old. Love the list though, nice and simple, and works treats. #coolmumclub

  9. Brilliant tips! I already do some of these, sort-of, when my 20 month old has a tantrum. Falling backwards dramatically and stomping my feet on the floor when she’s grumbling usually gets a smile. And it’s rare that she can keep a straight face for long when I tickle her. I’m glad these continue to work as they get older. Going to keep these tips to hand for the future! #CoolMumClub
    Angela Watling recently posted…Ditching the dummyMy Profile

  10. This is lovely. Yes sometimes you need to breathe and stop and maybe take another approach. I have used a fair few of these with my daughter. And I’m thinking I’ll need a few more in my locker for when the boy gets to 3!
    Thanks for hosting. #coolmumclub

  11. What’s all this talk of having dignity? Mine went a long time ago! Great suggestions, but you should meet my three – son to be four – year old. She takes stubborn-ness to a whole new level. I fear I’ve tried pretty much all of these with her and they won’t work, but that’s just Izzy! Thanks for hosting #CoolMumCLub
    dadbloguk recently posted…The joy of….laundryMy Profile

  12. Love this list! I’m very tempted to try out the comedy scream – I often shut myself in the garage if I feel the need to scream and let it out there – my neighbours must think I’m crazy sometimes! Maybe I should turn it into roaring like a lion instead and making it fun! Cuddles always work well though – sometimes just stopping and snuggling together even when I don’t feel like doing so can work magic in making stress melt away. #coolmumclub
    Louise (Little Hearts, Big Love) recently posted…The Friday Focus 14/10/16 – Study modeMy Profile

  13. This post is so helpful! I don’t know about terrible twos but I definitely agree with terrible threes. As soon as my LO turned 3 she just started having tantrums. Literally the day after her third birthday! Some good tips to calm them down so thank you. I think the biggest thing is distraction for me. That soon sorts her out!

    Amina xx | http://www.AliandHer.com
    Amina – Ali & Her recently posted…Autumn Essentials!My Profile

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