Is Your Toddler A Threenager?

We’ve all heard about the terrible twos – when our precious toddlers have a tendency to turn into tantrum-ing terrors – but not much is mentioned about the ‘threenager’.

When your child has blown out the candles on their third birthday cake, you may think they’re past the worst of the challenging toddler behaviour – but for a lot of kids, it’s only the beginning …

When your toddler is the centre of the universe

When your child hits three, they can often think they’re the centre of the universe – and start to act like it too. The biggest difference between toddlers aged two and three, is that a three-year-old can start to realise the power they have and articulate themselves much better. Your toddler is now starting to assert their independence and become more willful.

Your tot can show a lot of attitude, with hands on hips and getting in ‘huff’ when they doesn’t get their way – hence the name ‘threenager’ (the behaviour is not unlike what you’d expect from your average teenager).

What can I do to tame a threenager?

The best thing you can do when you have a raging threenager on your hands is stay calm. This is a lot easier than it sounds, as often they really know how to push your buttons. But kids often mirror the behaviour of their parents, so by staying calm, you’re teaching them how to keep control of their feelings even when there are problems.

Pick your battles with your tot

A three-year-old is often desperate to assert their independence and this is when parent and toddler often bump heads, resulting in a tantrum. A good way to get past this is to let your child have some independence now and again. Even if they’re doing something you don’t particularly like, ask yourself if it really matters, if it doesn’t then let it slide. Dressing seems to be a big issue with three-year-olds, they often have very set ideas about what they want to wear which can differ to their parents, but this is a good way to let your child have their way. While they’ll need to wear a hat while their out in the sun, it may not matter if the rest of the outfit is not what you would choose.

Be realistic about your threenager

Your toddler may seem mature and grown up but they’re still young. Make sure you’re realistic about what you expect from them and their behaviour. They will get tired and cranky, so ensure you have adequate downtime during the day even if they’re not napping anymore. A tired and hungry child is more likely to behave in a challenging way or throw a full-blown tantrum, so keep this in mind.

Keep your sense of humour

Your toddler’s behaviour may often make you feel like pulling your hair, but the best way to get through this threenager phase is to keep your sense of humour. Remember to see the funny side of things, no matter how awful the situation may feel or how badly your toddler behaves. It won’t last forever.

This article was written by Corinne Draper for Kidspot. Sources include: and Women’s and Children’s Health Network.

One Comment

  1. Alezandra 04/01/2019 at 8:15 pm

    This article is just too timely for me. I do have a threenager that is making me turn into a mom-nagger…which I don’t like. I need to learn these tips especially the calming part. It’s always the first step – to keep calm.

Leave A Comment