The beginning of Three is often a breath of fresh air after the “terrible twos.” Three has an easier time cooperating and sharing with those they are close to. Three loves to be with people, make them laugh, and share stories. It is common for Three to prefer one parent over the other (which is often the one of the opposite sex). Threes love to laugh!
Three often has a positive outlook on the world and is curious to explore their surroundings and try new things. Remember when Two was so fond of the word “NO!”? Well Three has a new word in their vocabulary--- “Yes!” Three is a people-pleaser and wants to show their affections by caring for others and helping out around the house. Three’s interest in doing tasks the “right” way, so they may frequently ask for help or seek encouraging statements from others. This is a wonderful time for you to encourage Three to help you put toys away, put clothes in the hamper, carry their plate to the sink after a meal, and wipe up spills. At this stage, it is appropriate to encourage and help your Three to do things more independently than ever before!
Three is more confident in their ability to walk, run, and use their fine motor skills. Threes are better able to get dressed on their own, brush their teeth (with assistance), and use a fork, spoon, and butter knife at the table.
Three is booming in their language development. Developmental markers for this stage of communication include: clear speech, sentences with 4-6 words, use “I” and “me,” asking a lot of questions, and remember stories. Three wants to spend time with others, particularly their immediate family, and will often ask you to read to them or play with them.
Play time for Three should include a variety of hands-on activities: such as sand, water tables, and art supplies (paint, crayons, markers), as these materials will promote stimulation and integration across multiple parts of Three’s developing brain. It is crucial to Three’s development to allow room for exploration and imagination to play make believe. Three is a wonderful time to practice getting on the floor and letting your child lead in the play! You will be amazed at how imaginative Three can be.