The pros and cons of having a five year old


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?

13 comments on “The pros and cons of having a five year old”

  1. Your list reminds me exactly of my five year old! She has so much energy and excitement for everything but the flip side is when she’s tired there is no hope for any of us.

    1. Overtired five year olds are no fun!!! It’s like having two year old tantrum but in a giant kid-sized person! I do think the good outweighs the bad at this age, but oh yes. The tired melt-downs are common over here.

  2. I love my five year old daughter. She is wonderful. She is a reader and writer and her favorite thing in the world is a notebook. Isn’t that cute?
    Nonetheless, she drives me crazy. We are going through a stage of crying and whining, and I can’t stand it. I feel it has something to do with not enough sleep. God help me!

    1. Oh I hear you on the whining. I definitely think it is due to exhaustion. Between school and just general non-stop motion, I do think five year olds wear out themselves and everyone around them, hahahah.

  3. The talking. OMG THE NONSTOP TALKING!!!! (ps. this has decreased ever so slightly at 7. juuuuuust enough to save my sanity)

    1. Kind of nice to know that’s possibly around the corner 🙂 It’s not that I don’t want to hear about his life, of course I’m THRILLED that he talks to much and wants to tell me everything, but sometimes I just want to make a grocery list in peace or just sit quietly! haha

  4. I love how you wrote this with pros and cons. I’m in trouble because by TWO year old already can’t stop talking!

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