Why we need to imagine we are 3 years old…

Why we need to imagine we are 3 years old… 150 150 Jane Evans

You wake up one morning and your loved one greets you with, “it’s today!” You can’t make head nor tail of what they are saying at first. Then you remember that you have to go somewhere new today.

Getting out of bed, you sense that you don’t have a choice as you WILL be going. You feel apprehensive and would rather stay home.

As you get ready you remember the previous visits to the new place. The people there seemed kind but were unfamiliar. The smells, sounds, touches, the food, the routines and what everyone was saying felt overwhelming. In the car your heart is slightly racing, you are full of feelings.

You arrive. It seems more familiar, but once you get inside it’s busy and noisy. You want the toilet but are too scared to ask. You are hot but don’t know where to get a drink. You are told to sit down with a group, to listen and be still. People seem kind but you are distracted by needing to wee and a dry mouth. You start to jiggle to distract yourself from what your body is sensing.

You get asked to “have a still body please.” Now you feel embarrassed. “Do you need anything?” Of course…you want to ask for the toilet but a mixture of embarrassment and fear finds you looking at the carpet. Distracting yourself, you look out the window at a funny little bird there. You are asked to, “pay attention.” Now you can feel the need to wee and your hot, dry throat again. It’s too much. You wet yourself and burst into tears.

Six months later you are more used to the building, the people, what happens when, smells, sounds, touches, tastes, sights. However, every morning when you have to sit with everyone, you feel the fear and shame of when you wet yourself.

What if it happens again?

I just had a wee but now I feel I need another. Where is the little bird? Oooops, I must look as if I am listening. I feel hot, I am sure I need a wee, I wish this would end.

Jiggling happens, they ask you to stop. They get irritated when you don’t. You end up on the ‘sad cloud.’ You feel ashamed. Imagine you are 3 years old…

When they can…they will

Children love the adults they get to know. They want to please them. When children go somewhere new, they try hard to learn the systems and get along with others. How well this goes, depends upon the adult’s capacity to see the whole child and not get stuck on their behaviour.

If there are set expectations that children must behave in certain ways, at certain times it can create tensions when they can’t do this. On the other hand, truly believing that there will always be a reason why a child finds it hard to listen, sit still, follow instructions, get along with others, take turns…changes everything.

As caring adults, our main purpose is to keep children emotionally and physically safe and well. Then our role is to always compassionately see beyond behaviours to their emotional and physical needs. That is where peace, possibility and pure potential can be found.

To see beyond behaviours:
  • Take a breath or three
  • Ask what does this child need to feel safe and settled?
  • Offer connection – a smile, “are you Ok?”
  • Gently settle near them and breathe
  • When all is calm explore what they need to help them do…
  • Be prepared to work with their suggestions


Connect with me on:

Twitter          @janeparenting2

Facebook      @janewellness     @parentingposttrauma

Linkedin        Jane Evans Workplace Wellness Resilience Peak Performance Coach



Jane Evans

Jane is a ‘learn the hard way’ person. She has learnt from her personal experiences and her direct work with people who have often been in really bad places emotionally, relationally, practically and sometimes professionally.

All stories by: Jane Evans

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.