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3 year old not on form

(5 Posts)
blondieblonde Thu 05-Nov-15 20:23:22

My 3 year old DD is very mature and articulate, and usually a lovely (and quite spirited) little girl. We had a new baby 6 months ago and, after an initial blip, she has come to love her little sibling. However, the past few weeks she is not herself and I'm not sure what to do.

She keeps doing things that she has learnt to do well badly. Examples are dropping loads of food at mealtimes, not eating well, taking forever. She does the same on the toilet -- goes up for a wee but sits there forever, then washes hands badly despite having been perfect at it before. She seems to think everything is an excuse for acting out in a fake way. So when she chews her food she does it in big theatrical open-mouthed chews, and when she laughs she does a fake laugh, and even when you offer her a hug she does a sort of fake falling over thing rather than having a proper hug, even when she talks or says 'cheese' for a photo she does a fake grimace rather than a smile. Nothing seems genuine it all seems like she's messing around/taking the piss. Also she's been getting up earlier since the clocks changed, around 6am and doesn't have a nap. It's really winding me up. Even when we go for a walk she walks down the street in a silly way causing herself to fall over and bash into things, though she is perfectly capable of walking normally!!

Any advice appreciated.

Motherinferior78 Sat 07-Nov-15 21:10:47

Aw try not to worry, this phase will pass. My daughter is three, extremely bright and articulate but just recently every time my in-laws come over, she has started acting like a dog. She crawls on all fours with a toy bone in her mouth and every time they talk to her she woofs back at them. However, with anyone else she talks and behaves as normal! Annoys me to high heaven but it's typical three year old behaviour, there is no "form" for them at this age, they are experimenting with different behaviours and the reaction they get from them and it's all the more entertaining if they wind you up! They really like to be silly at this age and to a certain extent we have to lighten up a little.

I really think this is all your daughter is doing. It could also be a little bit of regression following the arrival of a sibling (this can happen at any time) i.e. imitating baby behaviour because babies get a lot of attention. She's a smart girl - she's probably worked out that the longer she messes about, the longer she has your attention and the baby doesn't.

You need to prioritise what's important here. There are certain things I would just ignore - the theatrical chewing, the fake laugh etc. She'll get bored of those eventually. For the more important things you could introduce a "big girl" reward chart for - i.e. going to the toilet properly, finishing her dinner properly so that she has a bit of an incentive for behaving properly at the important times when good behaviour is essential. I know she already knows how to do this but she just needs to learn that there are more positive ways of getting your attention. It also teaches her that big girls can get just as much attention as babies if they do certain things.

Finally, if she has a silly side that's great and just embrace it. Have fun with her. Turn on some music and do "silly" dancing, pull silly faces at her through the window, make up silly rhymes with her etc etc. I think you can enjoy this side of her personality but at the same time teach her there's a time to be silly and a time to be sensible. She just wants fun with mum that's all so you just need to work out
when to ignore it, when to steer her away from it and when to just indulge it!

geekymommy Sun 08-Nov-15 00:15:54

My 3 yo DD does the pretending to be a dog or cat thing, too! It's kind of embarrassing when anybody else is around.

LittleBearPad Sun 08-Nov-15 00:24:14

Yep, I've got one of these too. She watches to see my reaction. I'm hoping it will pass soon

geekymommy Sun 08-Nov-15 01:23:36

She does a bad fake smile for the camera, but my dad and I are bad at convincing camera smiles, too, so I figured that might be genetic.

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