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Mama Drama: December Birthday Blues

Dear Mama Drama:

My three-year-old daughter has a December birthday and we are inundated with toys and “stuff” from our very generous family. We appreciate their gifts, but are all a bit overwhelmed by the amount of new toys. My daughter tends to leave them strewn about the house bouncing from one activity to the next, then struggles to clean them up usually ending in a meltdown.

We need ideas to help find some balance with it all.

(photo credit)

~Appreciative, But Overwhelmed Mama

Mama Drama: Toddler Tantrums and Clean Up Meltdowns

Dear Mama Drama:

My three-year-old daughter is driving me crazy! I love her to death and she’s got so much spunk, but when I need her to get things done and she refuses or throws a tantrum and I am at a loss. She could care less about consequences and seems to enjoy all the attention she gets from lectures. I seem to be the only one frustrated in this situation.

~Going crazy / CC BY 2.0

Dear Going Crazy:

Three can be a challenging age as children seek more independence and challenge expectations. They often run on their own time schedule and our demands can appear random and unreasonable to them.

Creating a daily visual schedule can help your daughter to understand the routine of the day. If something needs to change for that day, you can change the picture or sequence of the schedule and discuss that with her ahead of time. Three-year-olds also respond better when we explain, in developmentally appropriate language, why the change is occurring.

Provide transition warnings for your daughter when you are asking her to stop a preferred activity. Depending on her needs you may want to use several warnings at five minutes, two minutes, and one minute. When she does not want to do a task, using first-then statements and/or visuals can also help. “First bathroom, then snack.” Showing her a picture of what she needs to do and what is next in your routine can also motivate her to make that transition. Having the preferred activity in the “then” spot is most effective.