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Your 3-year-old now
No more games of charades to decipher what your child wants. Thanks to his improved diction and amazing grasp of grammar, you should be able to understand more than three-fourths of what he's saying now. He uses longer sentences (three or more words) and a growing vocabulary (300 to 1,000 words – too many for you to count) to make himself understood.
Your budding conversationalist loves to talk and sing. Lengthy verbal turn-taking is a hallmark of this age. He'll be able to answer simple questions and also ask questions of his own. Sometime he cares less about the answer than keeping the conversation going. He'll begin to describe what he's seeing or doing and is starting to use words to reason things out. You'll notice him using more adjectives (the big red car) and correct verb tenses, adding "s" and "ing" when necessary. He may still have trouble producing some sounds, especially r, l, s, and th.
Your life now
When your cries in fright during the night, don't assume it's a scary dream. There's another kind of event that can wake preschoolers called night terrors.
Night terrors occur when a child moves from deep sleep to a lighter sleep, usually between 10 p.m. and midnight. Your child may sit up in bed and scream or fling himself around, sweating and breathing hard. Even though his eyes are open, he won't be awake or responsive to you. In fact, it's often difficult to wake someone in the middle of night terrors, so don't try. Just stay with him to make sure he's safe. He won't even remember the episode the next day. (In comparison, nightmares happen in a stage of light sleep later on, often in the early morning. Children may cry or call for help. They may run into your room, sharing details of the horrible monster that was chasing them. Or they may not be sure what upset them. With a little comforting, they'll usually relax.)
Night terrors run in families, and children who are overtired or agitated are more susceptible. Most outgrow the episodes in the early elementary years.
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