Making yourself heard – a 3 year old’s guide

Communicating isn’t always easy when you’re three – us three year olds seem to have a reputation for being difficult, I don’t know why. If you’re having trouble making yourself heard, here is my guide to ensuring you are always listened to. Even if you don’t really have anything to say.

Mummy just seems to be ignoring you. 

This happens a lot – you call your mummy but she isn’t responding immediately, or she asks you to wait, which is just rude. She will probably tell you that she is in the middle of doing something important like serving up the tea or emptying a potty, but surely she should just be with you the moment you call her. The way to get through this is just to stay where you are and call, call, call and call again with increasing levels of urgency – mummy, Mummy, MUMMY, MUMMMMMMYYYYY!! That sort of thing, one immediately after the other. When mummy eventually responds, she probably will do so through gritted teeth; which is a bit silly because she was the one ignoring you.

Mummy not realising that ‘I want my hat’ actually means ‘I don’t want my hat’.

This seems so obvious I just don’t understand why adults don’t seem to get it. Sometimes, when we say want something (ie. a biscuit), we do actually want something. But other times, we say ‘I want my hat’ or ‘I don’t want my juice’ and it actually means the opposite. I thought grown-ups were supposed to be the ones who knew things, but they don’t seem to have grasped this yet which is frustrating. The only way to get around it is to spell it out to them, ie.: ‘I know I said I want my hat but I MEAN I don’t want my hat’. Eventually they might catch on.

One of your siblings is talking.

If one of your siblings is talking then it’s only fair that you should be heard too, even if you don’t have anything important to say. Get frantic. Use the uh uh uh technique which adults seem to find irritating (if you’re unfamiliar with this, it just involves repeatedly saying ‘uh uh uh’ while someone else is talking). If that doesn’t work try barging your sibling out of the way and sticking your face right in your mummy’s face so you can’t be ignored. If your mummy is like ours, she will probably say ‘one at a time please, one at a time’. With all the noise of everyone trying to talk at once, you may have forgotten what you wanted to say by the time your turn comes around. If this happens, just think of something on the spot (like ‘it’s not raining, mummy’) or repeat what your sibling has just said. What you say really doesn’t matter, the point is making yourself heard.

Mummy isn’t providing the right answers to our questions.

Sometimes we ask mummy a question and know the exact answer we want her to provide. If we ask When can we go to the aeroplane museum?, the answer should be ‘soon’. If we ask When can we go back to Devon? the answer should be ‘sometime’. If we ask When can we have a peanut butter sandwich? the answer should be an actual day of the week. It is perfectly reasonable to ask your mummy these questions repeatedly until she gets the correct answer. Alternative answers should be met with tears, screams and general hysteria if necessary.

Mummy is talking to another adult.

It appears that your mummy has momentarily forgotten about you, which is unacceptable. Suddenly you need to tell her something very urgently. Hang off her legs and do some shrieking. Your mummy will probably be determined to ignore you, so if it comes to it start rolling around on the floor. When your mummy has finished talking she’ll be ready to listen to you, and she’ll know that what you’ve got to say (something like I like my red jumper, mummy) is really important because you made such a fuss.

The thing to remember is that dealing with adults is all about perseverance. If you feel like you’re not getting through, just repeat whatever you’ve got to say OVER AND OVER AND OVER again.

If all else fails, roll around on the floor.

twins walking

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