“How many times do I have to tell you? Don’t pour sand on your sister’s head!” I feel like I’m repeating myself ALL the time. I know she’s smart. I know she hears me. I even know she’s listening because she can tell me all the rules. But, the bottom line is she’s three. Three! Now that we’ve entered a new stage of development, it’s back to the books for me. (In case you’re wondering, this is a picture of Elli with baby powder on her head from cleaing up all the sand Sammi dumped on her. Yes, baby powder works to make the sand fall right off!)
Last night I picked up Sixty Second Parent‘s book The Triumphant Child and turned to the section on three year olds. I found this wise counsel on implementing rules: “Remain calm and Repeat: Expect the worst rebellion from the beginning and learn to perfect the robot response. Consistently replying with the same simple explanation over and over equips parents to control any situation by deflecting their own anger or exasperation when faced with a screaming three year old.” I definitely need to perfect the robot response because my anger and exasperation usually get in the way of responding lovingly to Sammi.
It was good to be reminded that repetition is a natural part of the learning process. Children learn everything through repetition: language, routines, rules, even riding a bike. While its frustration to repeat things I know she already knows, it helps when I remember that it’s a necessary part of her development.
I’ll leave you with this last reminder from The Triumphant Child: “Don’t have the expectation that your child should always behave nicely. We all have our bad days!”