What is a threenager?

Author: Brea Walker   Date Posted:6 February 2017 

What is a Threenager?

How many of you start your day out praying that today is a good day for your 3-year-old?   I was pre warned about the terrible twos.  What kept me going through this stage though was that everyone says “It does get easier!”. 

What they forget to tell you is – It doesn’t get easier.  In fact, it can get a hell of a lot harder.  What does happen though is that WE get smarter and wiser.  We predict when things are going to happen and can make judgement calls to help prevent the threenisms.   Yes, I believe I have just invented a new word. 

Tell-tale signs that you are living with one or more threenager/s. 

Say good-bye to Nap Time

That luxury hour in the middle of the day where your darling child falls gracefully to sleep and you have peace and quiet to get some things done around the place will become non-existent.  In fact, expect them to fall asleep at 2.30pm just when you are about to get them dressed for school pickup.  They will have 15 mins of blissful sleep and then be pocket sized dictators all afternoon and not want to go to sleep again until well after 9 pm.

That’s Yucky

Expect that carrot that they happily ate yesterday to become YUCKY today.  My twins were never fussy eaters until they turned 3.    Feeding my children went from being a happy occasion to being a nightmare.  Expect that your child will live off yoghurt, milk, and vegemite sandwiches for a little while.  Yes, still offer the “Yucky” foods but don’t beat yourself up if they stick up their noses. 

I said “Peanut Butter”

Your threenager is becoming independent.  He is learning that we have choices.  We can choose what we want to wear today and we can choose the toppings on our toast for breakfast.

With choices, however, comes indecision.  Your threenager will become super indecisive.  What’s that darling you want vegemite on your toast today?  Prepare and place it in front of them and be guaranteed that they meant Peanut Butter and honey, not vegemite.  There will now be a meltdown like no other. 

How dare you not know that in his head he said he wanted peanut butter and you gave him vegemite.  His life is over.  His last meal before death will be stupid vegemite on toast.  How can you as his parent deny him of his favourite? 

How I combat this delightful meltdown is they must Eat that first and I will make you another one.  Most of the time they are full before finishing or forget all about it.  It won’t work all the time but sure works for me.

I can do it, Mum!

You will need to start planning your trips out of the house a little bit more than normal.  Getting dressed in the morning can become an hour-long process.   It will take you 10 mins longer per child to buckle them into their car seats as they try to climb into the car and do their own seatbelt up. 

This stage is not all bad.  Take advantage of this moment of independence and involve them in your cleaning duties.  Handover the vacuum, let them do the dishes (safe ones of course) and put away their own clothes. 


They start to get scared of everything.  Monsters, Fairies, Dark Places, Storms, Loud Noises, Toilets….

Bedtime Routine has become extremely lengthy.  I must turn on all the lights before they even walk down to their bedrooms.  They need to see me go into the toilet before they use it.  I must do a silly dance to scare away all the monsters and ghosts from their bedroom and call the fairies out to keep watch.  No teddy bears can be kept in the bedroom, except Peppa and George (but they must be facing the wall).  The nightlight makes its appearance again and must stay on all night in case they wake in the middle of the night. 

Why Mummy?

When Why becomes the response after every single discussion you have with your child you have a threenager.   They really don’t care why.  It just becomes their response to EVERYTHING.  “I need to go to the toilet” WHY?  “Sit down at the Table” WHY.  “We need to turn left up here” WHY?  

My favourite response became a question in return and made them think about why we do what we do.  I soon became really impressed at the response from my threenagers.  I could see they had a grasp of why they had done certain things.   


Having a threenager or two is not all bad.  I love watching my boys introducing themselves to others at parks.  I love watching them explore the world and learn new skills.  I love how their face lights up when something they are doing just clicks.  I love their passion and their will to do things on their own.  I love how they start to comprehend things.  I love how simple life is to a 3-year-old. 

I am nearing the end of my journey with twin threenagers and we still deal with all the above but I have learnt to cope.  I have learnt to try and stay calm – on most occasions.   I have learnt that this stage will not last forever.  Soon enough they will be off to school and we will miss those little voices no matter how annoying.   

Do you have a threenager?   Did we cover all their best traits?

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