Your 3 1/2-year-old: Read it again!

Your 3 1/2-year-old: Read it again!

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Your 3-year-old now

If you read that book about a family of dinosaurs one more time your head will explode. What can your preschooler possibly see in it? As exasperating as the repetition is for you, it's exactly what your child needs. That's how he learns.

Once he's learned a story, he can anticipate what comes next. He feels triumphant about "knowing." It's the same reason he repeats other tasks over and over — putting together puzzles, singing a favorite song. The joy is in the mastering.

To make reading that tiresome book more exciting, have him guess what comes next or change the words around. He'll feel proud that he "caught" your mistake.

Your life now

Having trouble sleeping? If you're just coming off a few years of disrupted sleep, it can help to review your sleep habits and restore some healthy ones. First, make sure your room is completely dark and dull. Sleep experts advise against having a TV or desk in your bedroom. Install darkening shades if you don't already have them. Are you still using a baby monitor? Even without one, you'll probably hear your child in the night if he really needs you — and the constant rustling that a 3-year-old makes in his sleep will distract you from your zzzs.

Tempting though it is to catch up on 10,000 things after your child falls asleep, don't cram in too much before you turn in. Odds are your preschooler is an early riser, and you can't burn the candle at both ends forever.

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