Age 3

Age 3

Age three is starting to be time when you will not have to deal with Miss Independent anymore and things should get easier many ways during the third year. Most three year-olds can be reasoned with and they will actually be willing to share their toys with other children and take turns while playing. They will also want to help you to get themselves dressed. Most children at age three are toilet trained during the day, although it is common for some occasional accidents while busy playing.


Age three is starting to be time when you will not have to deal with Miss Independent anymore and things should get easier many ways during the third year. Most three year-olds can be reasoned with and they will actually be willing to share their toys with other children and take turns while playing. They will also want to help you to get themselves dressed. Most children at age three are toilet trained during the day, although it is common for some occasional accidents while busy playing.


Your three-year-old will ask you a lot of questions and nothing is sacred.

Continue reading books to your child and limit television viewing. Do not use the TV as a baby sitter or as a substitute for interaction with your child. Watch children’s programs with your child when possible.

Use a computer and surf the internet together with your child. By using the computer already at this age your child will get used to a computer. Also learning to use the computer fully will be easier for your child in the future when he is already used to seeing it being used by you. You can buy educational software for the computer and let your child learn and experience with the help of computer. You can also let him play games that help learning and are also entertaining at the same time. See our guide for parents on safe online surfing. Do not leave your child alone with the computer and don’t use a computer as a baby sitter.

Arrange times for safe running and exploring outdoors. Allow your child to experience interaction with friends. Three-year-olds are usually quite social and enjoy being with other 3-year-olds. This can be accomplished in a preschool, play group or just having another child over for a few hours. It is also normal for children this age to have imaginary friends. Parents can sometime use the children’s imaginary “playmate” to their advantage (like getting your 3-year-old to do something you want them to do.)

Teach them the Value of Money:
Toddlers and Preschoolers
At this age children can sort coins, learn their value and begin to understand how money gets converted into ‘things.’ More…

Be careful how your say things to your child even if you are just kidding since the 3-year-old can not always tell when a parent is joking. For example, never threaten to leave a child at the store when he or she misbehaves. Tantrums, no parent hates them more! More…
Your child may continue to use a security object (such as a blanket, favorite stuffed toy, etc.). This is normal and the youngster will give up the item when he or she is ready.

Keep family outings short and simple. Children have a short attention span at this age and lengthy activities will cause them to become irritable and tired.

The question of preschool usually comes up now. Daycare has already been established for a family when both parents work outside the home. Even for moms who stay at home with their child, preschool a few mornings a week can be helpful. It gives mom a welcome break and provides the child an opportunity to meet new friends. The success or failure of preschool will depend upon the child’s maturity and the quality of the preschool.


* Can name pictures in a book.
* Names at least one color.
* Knows his or her own name.
* Begins to use pronouns.
* Able to put on his or her own shirt, but will need help with shoes and buttons.
* May be able to ride a tricycle.
* Can jump in place and stand briefly on one foot.
* Can open doors.
* Over 50 percent of the child’s speech is intelligible. There may be temporary episodes of stuttering during this time.
* Understands such words as “cold,” “tired,” “hungry.”


Appetite is now a little bit better compared to a few months ago, but it is still not what most parents think it should be. “My child will not eat,” is a familiar complaint heard at the three year checkup. Remember, feeding problems may arise if parents make their child eat more than the child needs to, or shows too much concern in what the youngster eats. Your child will pretty much be able to feed himself or herself. Avoid nuts, hard candy, uncut grapes, hot dogs or raw vegetables. Also control sweets and avoid junk food.

Eat dinner together as a family whenever possible and set up at least one meal a day where the whole family is together without any outside distractions. It is important to have a family routine because it gives the child a sense of security. During the meals begin to teach your child proper table manners and encourage conversation. Turn the TV off during meals.


* An afternoon nap is usually still needed by the 3-year-old.
* Fears of the dark, thunder, lightning, etc. are quite common at this age.
* Maintain a consistent bedtime and bedtime routine. Using a night light, security blanket or toy are all ways to help lessen nighttime fears.
* Read to your child when possible before “lights out.”
* Nightmares can wake a child up from sleep. The nightmares can be triggered by changes or stress. Reassure your child and put him or her back to bed.

Oral Health

Supervise brushing twice a day with a small amount of fluoridated toothpaste. Check with your dentist when to have check-ups for your child and is a fluoride supplement is recommended. Stop pacifier use. It can harm the tee

Toilet Training

Your child’s incentive to control their bladder and bowel movements is to please you, the person they look to for love. Therefore praise your child’s accomplishments and let him know you are pleased. When they have an “accident” just stay calm and don’t punish. If you show a sing of being distressed or angry when they fail, training may be delayed.
Many 3-year-olds are trained during the day but still do not stay dry at night. Others are completely trained. Remember, the age a child uses the bathroom by himself or herself varies and it is based only on a child’s readiness to be trained and the positive attitude of the parents. Some children may postpone having a bowel movement as a way to manipulate their parents or because they are busy doing something else. Try not to make an issue of this.

Car safety
KidsDirect Car Seat Buying Guide

It is very important to have your baby in a car seat no matter where you are driving. Even if the place is just around the block. Any child who weighs less than 60 pounds should be put in a safety seat every time the child is in the car. It is also a law in all 50 states. Put the baby car seat in the back seat of the car. This is the safest place for a baby to be in case of a car accident. If the car seat is in the front an airbag may seriously injure the baby. Fasten the harnesses on the car seat over the child’s shoulders with less than one inch of space. Do not put small infants in seats with rigid shields. When you are shopping for a car seat, look for the ones that are approved by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. For hot days you also want to make sure that the car is always kept cool inside. Check the seat’s temperature before you place your child in it. You also want to cover the car seat with a towel or blanket so exposed metal or plastic parts of the seat will not burn your baby’s skin if it happens to be a hot day.

The following age and weight guidelines will help you choose the right car seat. Consult the manufacturer’s instructions foe exact figures.

* Birth to 9 to 12 months (or 20 pounds): Use an infant or convertible seat facing backward.
* 9 to 12 months (or 20 pounds) to 4 years (or 40 pounds): Use a convertible or toddler seat in the forward-facing position. KidsDirect Car Seat Buying Guide
* 4 years (or 40 pounds) to 8 years (or 0 pounds): Keep your child in a convertible or toddler seat as long as he or she will fit. When your child has outgrown the seat, use one of the following:
o If the car has a lap/shoulder belt in the rear seat, use a booster seat that positions the lap/shoulder belt alone if it fits properly. Secure the lap belt across the child’s hips. The shoulder belt should not cross the face or front of the neck.
o Use the rear lap/shoulder belt alone if it fits properly. It should not cross the face or neck or ride up across the stomach. the belt should fit across the child’s hips.
o If no rear lap/shoulder belt is available, use the shield-type booster seat restrained by the lap belt in the car.
o If no other type of restraint is available, use the lap belt. Position it low on the hips and adjust snugly.
* 8 years and older (or 70 pounds and more): You can use the car’s protection system without a booster seat.


Responsibility for accident prevention will gradually shift to your child as they grow older. It is still necessary for parents to keep dangerous and poisonous items out of their 3-year-old’s reach and protect him or her from other indoor and outdoor hazards.

Begin to teach your child his or her full name, address and phone number and not to talk to strangers.

Always walk behind your car before backing out of the driveway. Always supervise when your child is playing near a street. Remember, a 3-year-old child does not understand danger or remembers “no”; your child cannot be counted on to be aware of outside hazards.

If you have a pool it must be gated. Knowing how to “swim” does not make a child water- safe at this age. Never leave a child unattended in a bathtub, even for a few seconds. Ensure your child wears a life vest if boating.
Be careful of items that can be left a counter level elsewhere, such as knives, scissors, cleaning agents, nail polish remover, household repair items, weed killers, insecticides, gasoline, oil, kerosene, lighter fluid and all medicines. Always keep potentially poisonous things in the original containers. Never put poisons in food containers or bottles.

Never buy toys or other objects that can cut or ingested. Suffocation by plastic bags and balloons still occurs at this age.
Never leave a child unattended in a car or a house.

Guidelines for school readiness:

See our Getting Ready for School Section

If you are not sure whether your child is ready for kindergarten or not here are some signs that your child may show to tell you that you will not have anything to worry about. He is ready.


Your child plays well with other children and takes turns, in other words have basic social skills

Your child is able to follow directions

He adjusts to simple rules regarding behavior and can manage in a group

Feeds and dresses himself

Is able to separate from you for at least ½ day

Constipation in children

Children ages 3-5, requirements in a nut shell:


opportunities to develop their motor skills finer

encouragement of language through a lot of talking, reading, singing

activities that will develop a positive sense of accomplishment and mastery

opportunities to learn cooperation, helping, sharing and social skills

help and support with experimenting pre-writing and pre-reading skills