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The World of 3s and 4s

How were the TWOrrefic years of your little one? Still have energy left?

By now I hope you've eased into the Present Parenting principles. Here's a recap:

1. Our child needs to be understood, more than trained.

2. Our love and affection should not be dependent on our emotions or circumstances!

3. We can only be and give our best when our needs are met. Self-care is a crucial part of parenting.

4. In everything, we need to be present, or mindful; it would be nice if we can reflect on our use of more of thinking words than fighting words, and be emotionally responsive at every time our little one is experiencing big, scary emotions for the first time.

Now, moving on. . . .

Here are what you might notice. Again, if you don't see some of the following, be patient as development is not linear- sometimes there are setbacks and big leaps. Trust in your own child's progress- and should you be worried, you can always see a developmental pediatrician.

In this stage, our little ones show the following:

1. They have more words and use language better. They can now use words to express, even talk back, and they enjoy telling stories or their ideas. They have beautiful and active imaginations! So watch out for pretend play- my favorite!

Now don't get worried, they might have an imaginary friend, and that's completely normal, and a good sign of imagination at work. When they tell stories, remember they cannot distinguish what is real from fantasy, so it's good to be reminded of this before thinking they might be telling lies.

2. They enjoy playing with others and being active. Here is a good time to learn taking turns, sharing, and solving conflicts without fighting (grabbing, pushing, or shouting are still evident as they might still act on impulse!)

3. They start to remember your limits and rules and even repeat you. They remember better when you say, "It is not okay to. . ." And don't forget to praise good behavior, and correct the misbehavior in a firm and loving way. They can also remember and show a good grasp of cause-and-effect. They start understanding why you ask them to do or not do something. Here, you can also introduce more alternative ways of behaving better when they act impulsively.

4. They are more independent now. Keep encouraging them to learn new activities, and learn about new things. Some may already be ready for toilet training.

Present Parenting for 3s and 4s

At every point in our child's life, it is important to infuse loving discipline. When your child has shown more readiness and more independence, it doesn't mean that we'll be less needed. In fact, we need to supervise them all the more. If you've practiced present parenting strategies, then this should be easy for you:

Be the best example for your child.

Not just modeling good behavior, but even how to play.

You are your child's world of firsts.

Here, slow is fast: take time to show your little love how to do things, how to handle their big emotions by acknowledging and naming what they're feeling, and then giving them an alternative way of expressing.

Now, your child may be doing tantrums/ acting out; keep them from doing this whenever they want something. Practice consistency.

Take your time, and be patient. Now is the time we equip them by establishing a supportive and predictable environment to grow in.

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