Monday, April 28, 2014

things parents should know about their 5 year-old.

I don't have any kids of my own and I don't claim to know a thing about how difficult it is to raise them. But I do teach kids. 18-25 kindergartners a year, in fact. I teach in an urban school in Indiana. I spend 40 hours a week with them for 10 months...your children. I talk to them, see their immense growth through the year...really get to know them. And by the end of the year I'm shedding tears while I watch them walk across the stage to get their diploma. Because over those ten months we've connected. We've bonded. And I feel like I'm saying goodbye to my own babies.

In 6 weeks I'll be finishing up my 3rd year of this gig. And I think after 3 years I've learned a few things about 5 year olds and the way they work. Sometimes parents will ask me for advice. They have questions about their kids and they think that because I see them outside of the home that I may know something about their kid that they don't. Sometimes I do. And sometimes I don't. I do know that a lot of them open up to me about things that their parents would probably prefer that they didn't. Kindergartners will tell you just about anything, especially about their home lives and their parents. And so I never feel totally qualified to answer parents' questions about their kids, but I've started to catch on about a few things. With the HUGE disclaimer that I have never myself raised a child, I give you the following:

Things Parents Should Know About Their 5 Year-Old

1. 5 year-olds aren't nearly as crazy as you might think they are. As a whole they are sweet, kind, innocent, scared, vulnerable, anxious, and funny. If they're up to mischief, it's probably because they're bored, or because they want your attention. 
2. 5 year-olds are seeking your approval and love. More than anything, they want you to be proud of them.
3.  5 year olds LIE. All the time. Every day. They don't lie because they're bad. They lie because they don't want to disappoint you. But they DO lie. Be on the lookout. And don't let them get away with it.
4. 5 year-olds want to hang out with you. They want you to play with them, take them to a movie, or go to the park. Enjoy and embrace this time...because it won't last long.
5. 5 year-olds want you to ask them about their day. So many things "happen" to them in a given day, and they want to tell you every little detail: from who shared their Goldfish crackers with them at lunch to who called their teacher "Mommy" by mistake.
6. 5 year-olds are smart. And manipulative. They are good at trying to manipulate adults. Give them clear limits and boundaries and don't let them take advantage of you.
7. It's ok for your 5 year old to be bored. But you need to teach them how to deal with that boredom and entertain themselves. (And I'm not talking about tv and video games.) It's also ok for them to fail at something. Teach them how to fail gracefully and to try to achieve another goal. They need to know that they can't win or be the best at everything.
8. When a teacher contacts you about a problem with your 5 year-old, take the teacher's side. Nine times out of ten the teacher is right and your 5 year-old needs to know that that you value and respect their teacher and that you are not going to bail them out if they're in the wrong.
9. 5 year-olds are still almost babies. If they're grumpy, it's probably because they're hungry or tired. Give them a snack and have them lay down for awhile. They'll likely be much more reasonable afterwards.
10. 5 year-olds are motivated by two things: food and toys. Use that to your advantage.
11. Teach your 5 year-old how to have a conversation with an adult and how to be polite and respectful to those in an authority position. 
12. I can tell the way you talk to your child by the way they talk to me and their peers. Don't yell AT your child. Talk TO them. Don't call your child stupid or any other derogatory name. It's amazing how quickly I can tell which students have to put up with demeaning talk and bad attitudes from their PARENTS. And then the parent comes in complaining that their kid is in trouble all the time. I wonder why.
13. You don't have to be the "cool" parent. Just be a parent who loves, respects, and cares for their child.
14. Your 5 year old adores you. And only wants the same from you in  return.

xoxo, mrs. miller

1 comment:

  1. Those are some very good things that you have written and i only hope that all parents could read this.