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Healthybaby because baby is soaking it all in
The middle is where growth mindset lives. Understanding progress, effort, and perseverance through a growth mindset adds resilience, courage, and empathy to your child’s development.
Congratulations! Your little tug boat made it to the big river. At three-years-old, your toddler may be self-reliant, dress themselves, make decisions, have taste preferences…all while speaking in sentences and making friends.
Take a scan of the life skills baby can do on their own:
Hang up their coat or towel?
Use a stool to reach the sink?
Help fold clothes or put them in a hamper?
Get dressed in easy to put-on clothing?
Clean up small messes (with Our Cleaning System)?
Setting the table?
Getting the mail?
Refilling the dogs water bowl?
Find the tasks that baby is excited about doing, then make a chart of their responsibilities and stick to it. Talk about how they contribute to the family and offer praise for initiative and interest.
Giving baby control over everyday routines can reduce power struggles and tantrums as baby grows. When they feel in control of more in their world, they can better accept and cope with the areas where control isn't possible. It's also helpful for baby to learn about their role in the family, further adding to a sense of belonging that translates well into adulthood.
Baby is getting better at friendships by engaging in play with peers. It's hard to practice peer-relations with grownups, making playdates a particularly good idea at this age.
Help them plan for a playdate by taking out a few toys or activities that hold interest, and maybe putting away special-to-baby items, like a loveys and stuffies.
Ask what baby thinks their friend might like to play and set up activities they can play together, like blocks, balls, or crafts.
Keep the play area organized so that baby and their friend can focus. Don't hover or intervene, but keep a close eye out for any arguments. Maintain the same rules you always have (no throwing!) and switch up activities once they lose interest.
The play date should last no more than an hour. Rather than waiting for a meltdown, ending a playdate while it's still going well helps to leave on a positive note.
Friendships at this age are all about convenience and shared interest. Baby is still interested in their own likes and dislikes, and may struggle to understand that others feel differently than they do, which will come later. Right now, they are just beginning to express empathy by hugging a crying friend or bringing someone in distress a shovel in the sandbox but sustained shared attention may still be a challenge. Orchestrated playdates, with purpose and planning, can help them gain confidence in the joy of playing with others and finding communal interests.
As much as baby has changed, you have, too. You’re more resilient, having weathered the storm of late nights, early mornings, constant feedings, diaper changes, tantrums, whining, and separation anxiety…just to name a few. And you’ve come out the other end wiser, stronger, maybe even a little bit humbler. Take a moment to congratulate yourself on this moment of flow. Think back to where you started on this journey with your baby. What were your fears? What excited you? Who did you think baby would be?
Write some thoughts down, either as a letter to baby or as a gift for yourself.
Set your intentions for the road ahead. Are you excited to navigate the twists and turns ahead? How will your relationship with baby evolve next?
Remind yourself of the progress you’ve made, the successes you’ve had, and the failures that turned into some of life’s greatest lessons.
You’ve got this! We can’t wait to see you again.
Yes on all three? Great! One or more No’s? Let’s talk about it.
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