Welcome to the 7th installment in our milestones series and in this article we will look at the milestones of your 3 year old. If you missed the previous editions in the series, then you can check them out here…
Do you feel like you blinked and suddenly your baby is now a full blown little person? I mean, surely it was just the other day that you were pregnant!
When your Mum used to preach that the days are long, but the years are short, you used to scoff. But man there is some truth to that saying!
So anyway, congratulations on having a 3 year old. That is a milestone in itself! You are about to open yourself up to a new world of adventure, giggles, noise and mess. But you will love almost every second of it! Let’s have a look at those 3 year old milestones.
Around 3 years of age, lots of children begin kindergarten. Some have obviously started in daycare or preschool facilities before the age of 3, but this is traditionally the age to start kindy.
Kindergarten will be your child’s first taste of an environment similar to schooling. Admittedly, a lot more playing and getting messy in the sandpit than at school though! But they will learn to trust and respect teacher figures, get the chance to socialise with their peers without the safety net of their parents and explore their independence.
While this is a fantastic and worthy experiences, it is not without its challenges. Both for kids and parents! A lot of the time before kindy, the children have predominantly been at home with a parent, so there is a definite adjustment period for both parent and child. Here is some of what to expect.
Learning To Let Go
This one is for the Mama and Papa Bears. You are so super excited that your little one gets to have this experience, but damn it is hard to walk away from that gate and leave them inside. Expect tears - yes, we are still talking about you. And expect the potential of feeling lost, not quite knowing what to do with yourself now that they are at kindy.
This feeling will pass when you see everything they get out of the experience. But one of the best ways to cope with it is to feel 100% certain about the kindergarten/daycare/preschool that you are trusting your child with. Not all of them are created equal, so make sure you visit as many local ones as you need to make the right decision. Show up unannounced so that you can see what the facility is really like and observe how the teachers interact with the children and each other. Go with your gut and trust your instincts on which facility is right for your family!
New Found Skills - Not All Appreciated
Kindergarten is an excellent opportunity for your child to learn new things about themselves and from others. While teachers can be a wonderful influence, enriching the minds of those they teach, some of your child’s peers don’t teach to the same degree.
You may find yourself dealing with pushing, hitting, biting, sass and new unexpected words as a result of your child’s social interactions in the playground. These things can be a bit of a shock when they start to happen as it brings a whole new level of parenting - explaining to your child the behaviour expected of them even when you aren't there to enforce it!
You will probably find that your child will run themselves ragged at kindy. This can affect their sleep routines. You might find that you want to trial an earlier bedtime if your little one is absolutely exhausted in the evenings. They may need a nap or quiet time after a morning of kindy, but try to resist the urge of letting them sleep after a full day at kindy. Otherwise, they will be up for all hours of the night!
Despite their obvious exhaustion, you might also discover a disruption in their normal sleep routines. So if they usually sleep through the night, you might find they wake more. This is quite common as their little brains process all the big changes they are experiencing.
You might also find they are more clingy with you at home. If they have been used to spending all day with you, then suddenly this changes, they might be keen to relish the time by your side. Even if that is not so convenient for you at 3am!
Welcome to the lunchbox packing club! This is a long term membership to a club that just doesn't quit! Prepping kindy lunches can start out as a really fun task, but gradually becomes tiresome as food comes home uneaten and you find yourself packing the same things day in and day out.
Here are our tips for lunchbox packing:
- Try a bento box like the ever-popular Yumbox so that your little one can see all the food available without having to open little containers. You can read our blog on the benefits of a bento box here
- Pack a variety of interesting and healthy foods to keep your little ones interested in their lunch, here are some great alternatives to sandwiches
- Try packing the majority of the lunchbox the night before to save time in the morning. Just add the refrigerated items before leaving the house
- Kids eat with their eyes, so if you make it look great then they are more likely to eat it! Try sandwich cutters or food picks for cuteness factor. Or, check out our tips for how to make lunchbox items look so good they can’t help but eat them .
All of the new toys and games at kindy will bring with it lots of new interests. These are some toys your kids will love…
- Dollhouse: Preschoolers absolutely love pretend play that involves a familiar setting. They will spend hours making up stories and having household conversations with a dollhouse and its accompanying dolls.
- Playdoh: Ugh, I know… the mess. But it is a super valuable toys for motor skills, creativity and cause and effect.
- Art and Craft Materials: Glue, glitter and an endless way to stick things together… sign up every preschooler to ever exist here!
- Scooters and Bikes: Because they aren’t quite fast enough on their own two feet yet (yeah right!). Scooters and balance bikes will feed a preschooler's need for speed… and freedom!
- Floor Puzzles: Problem solving, a sense of challenge and achievement, perseverance and motor skills all get a tick with floor puzzles.
Stay tuned for our next milestone installment on 3-5 year olds!