An Open Letter to My High Energy 3 Year Old Who Does Not Listen

Ah my sweet little Lincy Loncs, our precious Blinky Bear. You are always happy, always laughing and giggling and finding fun for the room. But you do not want to listen. EVER.

At this stage, you are turning 3 in just over a month. You want to run into the road, buckle your own seat belt, eat chocolate for breakfast, refuse to go to bed, brush your own teeth (except you just don’t really do it, you only eat the tooth paste). This feisty independence of yours, while honourable at times, is leaving your mama insane!

Parenting a 3-year-old is HARD

I am trying my best to guide you, sit and play with you, include you, be more patient with you. But truth be told, I’m genuinely afraid of taking you in public these days. Because I  know you won’t listen. I worry for two reasons. 1. You might kill yourself not listening to me (like running in front of a car) and 2. I battle to withhold the patience needed for your feistiness when we enter crazy busy public spaces (to put it lightly).

I feel so guilty that I lose my patience for your little 3-year-old self, but it’s true. The other day you ran off into the road not listening, absolutely loving the fun game you thought you were playing. But I was putting Everett and our bags in the car and, despite my loud and desperate cries, you ran down to the end of the road and could’ve been hit by a car if one came along and didn’t see you.

You have no fear and my constant trying to protect and guide you to no avail is causing my heart to pace at scary rates sometimes. I had to run after you and when I finally got hold of you, you were still laughing and having fun, oblivious to the anger I felt. My fear for your safety turned to anger by the time I got to you, patience levels way below empty by now, and I squeezed your arm so hard I thought I might have bruised it. My eyes flashed with anger and my face went hot, I had to keep sucking for deep breaths. It felt like I was having a panic attack.

I feel so guilty that I get to this point as a Mom. I never imagined I could feel so angry with my small children. I want to be better, to be calmer and more patient. But it’s really hard to constantly and gracefully be what both my children need me to be when they each have different needs and all the while I’m juggling our schedules, feeding tummies, brushing teeth, doing work, and so much more.

A mama can only do so much. Please help by just listening!

I hope you grow up not remembering how angry mama got sometimes when you were so little. And if you do remember, I hope it just makes you giggle, like it was all a part of the thrill in your little game.

How to Make a 3-Year-Old Listen

But I do wonder, why do 3-year-olds not listen? And, is there an easier way?!

I did a little research and this article has helped me today to learn that, often times, when you little Lincoln aren’t listening, you need to get some jumps out!

The article says:

“When your child starts jumping, the brain recognizes this as a small stressor. As heart rate increases, the brain thinks your child is fighting or fleeing some bad guy down the street. To protect his brain from stress, Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) is released.

BDNF is awesome because it’s nature’s medicine for healthy brain growth and development. It repairs, protects, and improves the learning and memory capabilities of the brain by stimulating neuron growth in multiple areas of the brain. This is why kids feel more relaxed, connected, and happy after exercise.

When your child is ignoring you, it’s like their brain is literally not working. BDNF can help your child start to turn the corner.”

Get Them Busy Moving

It does make sense as you often start running around the house and jumping on the furniture when you seem to be getting out of control and not listening. This past Saturday, for example, I seemed to have used a similar approach to “get your jumps out!”. You were going bananas in the lounge and your big brother was just trying to watch his cute little show and eat his pancakes in peace. You wouldn’t leave him alone and I kept trying to distract you with your own game of Lego or reading stories, and then I even resorted to time outs, or “time to calm down” as we call them. I have stopped threatening with the wooden spoon because 1. The threats don’t work on you and I will never actually hit you 2. Lately, you started threatening ME with the wooden spoon! So, I didn’t want you prancing around your pre-school class threatening teachers with some proverbial wooden spoon like you have an abusive mama. Nope!

Anyways, so when you were going mental Saturday morning, I suddenly thought “this kid needs to be outdoors exploring ASAP”. I turned the TV off, opened the back door and picked you up. I plopped you down, clothes and all, into the middle of a big pile of dirt and turned the hose on. You squealed in delight. I grabbed a bucket and spade, even went to the kitchen and got some pots, pans, spoons, colander, and you went to town making me “pasta sauce” for hours with your brother. I even got to squeeze in a little home workout while you played!

So, from now on when I see you going crazy, I’m going to help you “get your jumps out”. Heck, ill get some of my own jumps out too! That way we both protect our brain from stress with some good old fashioned Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF).

Happier when we get our jumps out.