Ah, five year olds. They’re some of my favorite people. Though I haven’t found my son’s first month as a five year old any less exhausting than the past 59 months of his life, it sure has been more entertaining and fun. I spent most of college and graduate school learning about school-aged kids, starting with kids who are five. I finally feel like I kind of know what’s going on. But at the same time, the energy of a five year old is never-ending and daunting. They’re excited about life. And usually running somewhere.
Since five is one of my all-time favorite ages, here are the pros and cons of five year olds as I see them:
They can talk in coherent sentences! You can have somewhat complicated conversations with your five year old and they get what you’re saying, and they even have opinions on things that matter.
They…never…stop…talking. Ever. If you are in the presence of more than one five year old, God help you. They over-talk each other, you, everything and everyone. I’m convinced my son can go at least 10 minutes without breathing because that’s how long his stories seem. And he never stops for a moment:
“When I was at school we used markers, and they were washable, so when I got some on my hand I went to the bathroom and scrubbed with soap and it came right off, but then when I came out someone took my chair, so I had to ask the teacher where I should sit now, and she said I could sit at the blue table, but I was wondering…”
(Not checking out halfway though the never-ending stories sometimes takes all my effort.)
They can pretty much take care of themselves, and they’re proud of this skill. They have become pretty good at putting on their own clothes, brushing their teeth, maybe even getting their own snacks. After five years of tending to someone’s every need, it’s pretty awesome when your kid can do most of it on his own.
They want to do everything themselves, even the things they’re not ready to do. They value their newfound independence, and they may attempt to do things they’re not ready to do with somewhat disastrous results, like, say, an attempt at “helping with the cleaning” that ends with a flood of bubbles on the bathroom floor.
They’re learning to write and spell! The typical window for reading development is about 4-7 years old, so they can be at a wide variety of stages in this process, but they’re eager to master written language, which often means you’ll get lots of notes and cards from your five year old, which is of course, adorable.
You have to stop spelling stuff out in front of them. This is a major blow to our household. My husband and I have perfected the “spelling in front of the kids” thing so well it’s practically a second language. Now, however, if I say “Do you want to stop for I-C-E-C-R-E-A-M?” to my husband, my son shouts “ICE CREAM! You spelled ICE CREAM! Yes! Yes, please! We should stop!” Son of a nutcracker. No more secret communication.
You can usually reason with a five year old! They kind of “get” the way things work. If you say “Look, we have to get milk at the store, and it’s snowing out. Put your coat on, please, or you will freeze” they get that logic. Some younger kiddos (ahem, 2 year old son, I’m speaking to you now), irrationally respond with “No! No! NO! I want to wear my bathing suit with the lobstahs on it!!!!” Logic, FTW.
Knowing that they’re capable of logical thought makes it even more maddening when your five year old is cranky or overtired and not listening to reason. “I know you wanted to make french toast for breakfast, but when it takes 25 minutes to get dressed, we only have time for cereal” means nothing sometimes, and still ends in a meltdown. And that is frustrating when you know there’s a somewhat reasonable kid in there.
So there you have it. Five year olds: Sure, they’re exhausting, but they’re also awesome. What’s your favorite age? Does this list remind you of your own five year old?