My older son is five, and attends half day preschool every day. He also has playdates, spends loads of time at our local children’s museum (where I work), and is suddenly acutely aware of what the other kids are doing, saying, and thinking. He’s been around other children pretty regularly since he was a year old, but suddenly, what they do seems to matter to him…and this has been a mixed bag.
When he was a toddler and even as a younger preschooler, everything was very parallel. At these ages, children might play with the same materials near each other, but there’s not much interaction. Everyone is nice and self-absorbed, so there tends to be very little “picking up” of words, actions, and behaviors. Five, however, has been different. There have been fantastic benefits to this. Most notably, he’s starting to develop a sense of privacy and self-sufficiency. Bathroom doors are finally closing, he insists on dressing himself, and he even showers– yes, showers!– like a real person, with a loofah and body wash. He now has his own hair gel, and he’s asking for cologne (not happening buddy). It’s very much like this lately: