Communication is all in the Words: Phrases We’ve Taught our Three-Year-Old. From as early as she could understand us, my wife and I have tried to communicate on an adult level with our now three-year-old.
We used a series of key words she understood which made her comfortable without overwhelming her before she was ready.
If we had to leave her behind with a sitter, the explanation was always that mommy or daddy had to go to work. She took to it easily and never questioned. To this day, if we tell her we need to go to work, she accepts that as a valid response whether we need to go to the store, a concert or actually to work.
It’s been a great system. Now, if we mention mommy’s office or the factory, she wants to go visit. So she is figuring it out. But work is a valid response.
I’m sure every parent has their version of magic kisses to fix child injuries. But with my daughter, every stubbed toe, bruised leg and grass or gravel burn has magically felt better with magic kisses. In fact, she loves magic kisses so much she gives them back to us when we are hurt. Once, I even saw her kiss the dog on the nose after the dog sneezed. She must’ve thought it hurt.
If my daughter needed a nickname beside princess, I would probably call her the Tasmanian Devil. She can walk into a room and within five minutes have every toy accessory open. But she is also meticulous about organization. So when we tell her clean up, she doesn’t second guess it. Everything goes back where it belongs, in the right box, on the right shelf. Yes, we had to help and teach her at the beginning but it is fascinating to watch her clean up. She has in fact asked for extra time before bed to clean up her playroom or the toys she was playing with so it will be clean to start fresh in the morning.
As she has gotten older, we have had to modify some things too. Nap time has become quiet time. She understands if we tell her quiet time, she stops playing and curls up with a blankie and pillow on the couch. She doesn’t have to sleep but it gives her a chance to calm down a little.
Potty training brought a new challenge as well. My daughter didn’t seem to associate the toilet with poop, just pee. So when we asked her to go potty she always peed easily but only recently have we mastered pooping in the potty, five frustrating months later.
But now she can differentiate and tell us: “I need to pee right now,” or “I need to poop.”
Every child is different but with a little but of effort, it is pretty easy to set up a series of phrases to help understand your kids … and vice versa.