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38 Months Milestone

If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands 

5 mins to read Feb 8, 2022

Three-year-olds can name their own feelings such as happy, sad, scared, angry and excited. They can also recognise and name these feelings in other people.

They no longer view children as interesting living toys, but as friends with whom they have relationships that may or may not last. They refer to another child as “my friend” and may announce, “He’s not my friend anymore.” They also like to have and be a “best friend” to someone.

A three-year-old understands rules, however, they use their prior social experiences with the important adults and children in their lives as a frame of reference, to know which behaviours are socially acceptable or not. It is therefore important for a child to be surrounded by good role models.


Tip: Positive attention 

Show your child that you are paying attention and are interested in their thoughts and feelings. 

Regard your children as if their actions are the result of their unique ideas and emotions, rather than view what children think, say and do as predictable and child-like in an inferior way.

Be genuinely interested in what your children are thinking and feeling, for example, “I see you’re looking at the lion. Do you remember the day when we saw the big lion at the zoo?”

Interestingly, children who are treated with positive attention tend not only to be smart, but also exceptionally kind.

Source: Dunn. J, et al. “Family Talk about Feeling States and Children’s later Understanding of Others’ Emotions.” Developmental Psychology. Volume 27, p 448-455. (1991)