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About to become a mummy of a 3yr old (through adoption) - what do I need to know!!

(30 Posts)
Tishtash2teeth Tue 06-Nov-12 06:58:41

I was wondering if anyone can give me advice and tips on parenting a three year old. I am so excited at becoming a mummy and my little one moves in in a couple of weeks. I have read lots of parenting books, blogs etc, but wanted to hear from people who are actually doing it right now. Can anyone give me advice on what they wished they knew when their child was 3?

Flisspaps Tue 06-Nov-12 07:10:03

One word: threenager grin

Unreasonable, but still cute.

Congratulations smile

Sirzy Tue 06-Nov-12 07:10:38

Ooh how exciting! Congratulations!

Ds is 3 next week and everything is very exciting to him even small things like the frost on the cars is a big thing!

He needs to know a reason for everything "why mummy car white?"

Do you get given a list of likes and dislikes for toys and tv etc? If not I would spend a few days watching cbeebies to familiarise yourself with the shows and characters - Always handy to know which octanauts character you are supposed to be pretending to be!

Allow twice as long for any trips which involve walking as you will inevitably end up stopping to examine leaves/dog muck/fences etc.

Buy a big handbag for yourself. From now on you will need space for random cars/dolls/leaves and other tat which is very important to them!

Sirzy Tue 06-Nov-12 07:14:29

Oh and develop psychic powers so you know when you are presented with peppa pigs car and a barrier from a train track the barrier is infact a petrol pump you have to use to fill the car!

FeersumEndjinn Tue 06-Nov-12 09:30:07

omg that is really throwing you in at the deep end. wishing you courage and strength my dear.

Your three year old will be an individual and nothing we or a textbook can say will really prepare you, concentrate on getting to know them. Your 3yo may not match textbook descriptions depending on what has happened to him/her in the last 3 years.

3yos can honestly be a nightmare even in the best of circumstances. A lot of a 3-y-o naughtiness is about trying to work out and understand what the rules are. Not just rules for good behaviour - rules for everything, including the laws of cause and effect, gravity, passage of time and distance, consequences etc. They need to know they are unconditionally loved even when they are being naughty, but they need you to be consistent and reliable so that they can learn by experimentation the things they are trying to work out.

Practicalpam Tue 06-Nov-12 09:47:16

Fantastic news - many congratulations. I would agree with everything said so far, especially the big handbag!! Most of all your child will need to know that s/he is loved. This can be hard when they are really testing the boundaries, so decide now what battles you are going to make as when they are screaming in the supermarket because they want red apples not green is not a good time to decide how to parent!! Above all, remain calm and remember that YOU are the parent. So many times I see toddlers with total control over their parents and that helps no-one. This is maybe a strange thing to bring up now, but is your child likely to be an only child? I think that needs slightly different parenting too. Always be willing to have friends over for a play. Get a place at a great nursery/pre-school - this will help with settling in to school and with making friends - after knowing they are loved that is the most important skill you can teach your little one.
Enjoy every moment (and take lots of photos). x

MrsBungleBear Tue 06-Nov-12 10:05:10

Congratulations! How exciting for you.

3 yo's are hilarious, frustrating, cute and like big sponges! My 3.4 yo dd is very frustrating at times all the time lots of pushing boundaries, wanting independence, asking why about EVERYTHING!

She is just so much fun too.

My dd loves spending.time with other kids so maybe try and find some groups to join when you're both ready? Lots of love and attention and tiring them out is what they want.

You sound like you're preparing well and you'll be an excellent mummy to your little one! Congratulations smile

MyGoldenNotebook Tue 06-Nov-12 11:03:53

Congratulations! So exciting smile

Just to echo what the others have said - all three year olds are hard work but also very gobblesome! You will always get lots of support on here. Don't worry too much about being a 'perfect parent' - just enjoy your little one. You won't get everything right; nobody does!

Wishing you all the luck in the world x x

forcedinsomnia Tue 06-Nov-12 11:27:44

Wow.....congratulations. I'm excited for you.

My friend has just had her adoption finalised. She gets an 8 mo little girl in December.

I think you are doing a wonderful thing and just give yourselves tome to adjust and offer lots of love, cuddles and patience. The rest will work itself out.

Good luck. You'll be fine I'm sure.

Please let us know how you get on via this thread. Would love to know. smile

nkf Tue 06-Nov-12 11:28:58

Congratulations. No tips but I hope you enjoy every blessed minute.

Mono1 Tue 06-Nov-12 11:32:04

Learn to pick your battles carefully.
Always accept a call on an imaginary phone.
Know these 2 things and you will be fine. What an exciting journey. All the best. Good luck. Remember that we are here for you.

Mono1 Tue 06-Nov-12 11:36:08

Also if you let us know (roughly) which part of the country you are in I'm sure someone can recommend sanity savers soft play centres etc for you to enjoy with your wee one.

Claifairy Tue 06-Nov-12 11:51:40

How exciting! We also adopted a 3yr old little boy in February this year.

1) The hugs are fantastic and worth the years of stress previously!

2) High heels are a thing of the past! Mine is faster than Usain Bolt and puts his world records to shame!

3) His/her favourite foods are no longer their favourite foods but maybe tomorrow!

4) Remember you are the adult in the relationship even though you doubt yourself at times

5) You will be amazed how a 3yr old knows how to press all your buttons and normally all at once!

6) They will have the face of an angel and when you try to tell someone about the time you had to ....... they will never believe you

7) What makes Mummy happy makes Little one happy for example he is in bed with me most night - he needs to be close to me and I just ignore all the 'helpful' advice I am given about making him sleep in his bed.

8) When you get those special smiles your hear will melt but remember they know when exactly to give you one of those - normally heading towards the naughty step.

9) Soft play areas will become your best friend to burn off all that energy esp when it is cold and wet.

10) The social workers do not expect a tidy and clean house! It will never be tidy again and it is amazing how much mess such a small person can make!

And finally when you get to say the words 'my son/daughter' in a conversation it will feel the most wonderful feeling in the world! (and that first night when they are tucked up in bed!)

It is going to be the most amazing time of your life

Enjoy x x

forcedinsomnia Tue 06-Nov-12 12:07:14

sob weep sob (Hormones???)

That is so sweet claifairy well done you too.


Petsinmypudenda Tue 06-Nov-12 12:18:15

I think three is a cracking age! There personalities start dictating so much no two days are the same.
Just remember every parent gets things wrong and make mistakes, don't beat yourself when they do.

Agree soft play is you're new best friend.

Claifairy Tue 06-Nov-12 12:35:19

And I forgot about throat lozenges as you will need them! I have never shouted as much as I have in the last 9 months. It is usually 'stop' followed by 'wait' whilst running as fast as my 34gg's will let me! How the hell I am not a skinny minnie I have no idea!

Tishtash2teeth Tue 06-Nov-12 13:02:46

Thanks for all of the replies - made me laugh and cry!! So excited now - sounds like I'm in for a) a massive shock and b) lots of fun xxx

HolyAutumnGoldBatman Tue 06-Nov-12 13:08:51

Have you posted over in the adoption topic Tishtash? They're very good for advice and will be able to give you tips on parenting an adopted 3 year old, which I'm sure brings different challenges and rewards (as well as the regular ones) to parenting a non-adopted 3 year old.


steppemum Tue 06-Nov-12 13:13:58

claifairy - your post made me well up

op my friend said to me recently
'I wish someone had told me how much of parenting is being the one who has to put the boundaries in place'

she is naturally a mum who just wants to love and have fun and do things her ds likes, and she is a lovely mum, but she really struggled through age 2 and 3 until she finally learnt that actually putting the boundaries in place firmly, nicely consistently and being the adult made her ds feel safe and then he stopped testing those boundaries all day every day.

It sounds a bit negative, but especially with a child who has had a difficult start, a consistent 'no' which you actually mean makes them feel very safe. Your consistency is reassuring

Of course, you can choose your battles, who cares if the room is messy or they only eat jam sandwiches to start with, etc, but somewhere there will be a boundary, and when they reach it, you are there.

steppemum Tue 06-Nov-12 13:15:37

op - forgot to say congratulations!

and also I think 3 is a fab age, there communicate, don't need loads of baby stuff, but they are still little and funny, and interesting and their own little person (with very clear likes and dislikes)

EldritchCleavage Tue 06-Nov-12 13:18:32

Congratulations! That's very exciting. There is so much one could say, but I've narrowed it down to 3 things I think have been very useful for me day-to-day.

1. Don't underestimate how much children are affected physically and emotionally by:
Always run through that list before you panic that you are the world's worst mother or consider the possibility of demonic possession.

You'd think that at least the first three of those would be easy to fix, but 3 year olds don't necessarily eat when they're hungry, sleep when they're tired, oh dearie me no. It can take enormous amounts of psychological cunning to get them to do it.

This is the only reason we have fruit juice in the house: my three year old gets out of bed an evil, grumpy, bossy low-blood-sugar monster, and a few slurps of juice later he is charm personified.

2. Sometimes, you may feel really mean for imposing your will, and a little voice may be telling you to give in and let your child do whatever. One of the hardest things to judge is when that voice is right, and when you really do need to stick to your guns. You'll have to play it by ear, but remember that you do have to be in charge. Not a dictator or anything, but in charge.

3. Never be afraid to apologise to your children (even a three year old!) if you have got it wrong. It builds trust and respect between you.

Lilka Tue 06-Nov-12 18:11:24

Congratulations!! grin

1. Don't stress the little things too much. This is all very new for all of you, don't demand heaven and earth of yourself and feel guilty if you can't achieve that
2. This is all going to be confusing and frightening for him so keep things low key at first
3. If you struggle with things, like bonding etc, don't beat yourself up, this is very normal
4. I think 3 is a lovely age on the whole...lots of personality and fun. Unfortunately I think terrible two's was wrongly named, should have been terrible 3's instead grin Still, I enjoyed my DS being 3
5. But being 3, he can't communicate his feelings like an older child, so don't think you're doing something hideously wrong when you get the inevitable tantrums and tears...and also the upsets related to having your whole life tipped upside down. It's not something you're doing wrong, 3 year olds communicate via behaviour mostly

6. And enjoy being mummy smile Little hands and little hugs and all that, wonderful smile

7. Come over to adoptions if you need any advice on any adoption related issue, we're a nice bunch and very supportive and I hope helpful as well

Melmagpie Tue 06-Nov-12 20:25:00

Congratulations! How wonderful! I think there is great advice in this thread. Hunger, thirst and tiredness trigger terrible moods and so well worth keeping on top of as three year olds don't tend to make the connection! Agree with others about setting clear boundaries - I found that harder with my first and am sticking to my guns better with my second. That doesn't mean being strict it just means being very clear and keeping to rules - as someone else said you have to be the adult. You don't need to have very many rules but stick to the ones you do have and don't deviate. Also, think before you say no, and then when you've said no don't back down. If you say no before you've thought about it you can live to regret it!
Along with that, allow yourself to enjoy getting down dirty, being silly and playful, allow yourself to slow down and respond to your child's interests, develop your special little rituals and family in-jokes.
I have to say that in my experience three can be a really tricky age! Much more terrible than two! But also incredibly rewarding and wonderful as they transform from toddlers into little children. Good luck and enjoy!

Claifairy Tue 06-Nov-12 21:40:39

Also find out if your LA does an Adoptive Mums/Parents and Tots group. Ours does and it is fantastic as well as a mentoring scheme. Talking to others going through the same thing makes it all the easier!

BusterTheDonk Thu 08-Nov-12 22:53:56


they may 'grieve' in their own way for their Foster Carer.... don't take it as a 'slight' on you....

if your LO did/does have a good Foster Carer.. please let them know how they are doing/settling in...

sorry - I'm biased!! (I'm a foster carer)

Pick your battles, start as you mean to go on, enjoy, get out (lots) and get them some wellies and a waterproof snowsuit for lots of splashing in puddles...

seriously, well done... give it time... patience.. understanding even when you can't make sense of anything.... play lots and laugh lots.. good luck smile x

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