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Toddler development - 3 years

What your child is doing

  • Choosing to play with other children rather than just being near them
  • Demonstrating good spatial awareness and moving around objects instead of falling over them
  • Beginning to understand the concept of time
  • Showing empathy, which shows that your child see things from someone else’s point of view.
  • Choosing to share and take turns

What not to worry about – Your child’s grammar

Learning a language is a tricky skill and it’s particularly difficult for a three year old when it comes to being grammatically correct. A common mistake at this age is to apply a rule such as adding ‘-ed’ for the past tense to all their words when telling a story. So they may say ‘I go-ed to the park’ or ‘We runned for the bus’ instead of using ‘I went’ and ‘We ran’. The way to help them is to repeat the sentence back using the right words and not tell them off, and they’ll eventually grasp it.

How you can help your child at this age

  1. Join playgroups and encourage your child to play with kids in the playground to improve his/her social skills.
  2. Encourage them to hop, stand on their toes and climb for better balance and coordination.
  3. Start to explain the difference between fact and fiction. Storybooks versus everyday life are a good way to do this.
  4. Encourage more independence when going to the toilet and to bed with lots of praise.

Troubleshooting - “My three year old keeps telling lies.”

“Lying seems to come with the territory as all three of my kids started around the three years mark. I found the best way to deal with it wasn’t always the naughty step (though that helped) but was to reward honesty and not immediately get angry about the lying. They often lied because they didn’t want to disappoint and other times they just couldn’t distinguish fact from fiction so would believe what they were telling me. Thankfully it is always just another stage they go through.”

Lauren 35 mum to Caitlin 7, Sam 6 and Charlotte 4 years