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Old 09-16-2008, 03:08 PM   #1
Heather Micaela
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Default A radical idea - viewing kids as babies till 5

I don't know if I have stated this outright before, but after learning that the Biblical Hebrew concept of an infant is up till age 5 I have made a conscious effort to expect less of my children and avoid "you ought to know better". While I would never tell my children they are babies and I encourage their growing up, it is amazing how much more smoothly life runs when I realize just how young even a 4 year old is.

I find it fascinating that National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) calls children "Young children" till they reach 8 and essentially asserts that we should treat 5-6-7 year olds as we do preschoolers. The funny thing is that at 8, I declared myself a big kid without knowing that someone else already defined that age as a cut off.

So going a step further I see that acknowledging them at 4 as really still being babyish helps me show much more grace and reminds me to not have them grow up as fast. And for some reason at 5 they almost instantly gain the maturity of a "young child."

(That is why I had the chorus of "Let Them Be Little" in my siggy for a long time.)

Anyway I wanted to share some reasons I found viewing them as babies (but not treating them like babies) to be helpful:

* I do not get angry at potty accidents
* I expect that there will be messes and food dropped
* I realize that they need help with anything that requires responsibility (like cleaning up)
* I don't get as frustrated with tears and tantrums
* I allow them to be clingy when they need to be
* I don't feel the need to push them to their own bed if they are not ready
* I remember that they cannot do a lot of things and I cant get frustrated for them needing assistance
* I don't criticise them for being selfish - they will grow out of it
* I don't worry about their lack of independence
* I don't care if they don't want to engage in activities without a parent there


I could go on.

And while maturity is gradual I think there is also some validity of not expecting real maturity to emerge till 13. This is another milestone age I have seen (in others' kids ) as being significant.

(Edit: My oldest will be thirteen soon and I am seeing that difference emerge.)
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Last edited by Heather Micaela; 05-08-2014 at 12:04 AM. Reason: update sort of
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Old 09-16-2008, 03:09 PM   #2
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Default Re: A radical idea - viewing kids as babies till 5

wow, thank you so much for that post!
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Old 09-16-2008, 03:11 PM   #3
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Default Re: A radical idea - viewing kids as babies till 5

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Old 09-16-2008, 03:12 PM   #4
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Default Re: A radical idea - viewing kids as babies till 5

Thank you for this post, Heather!!
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Old 09-16-2008, 03:15 PM   #5
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Default Re: A radical idea - viewing kids as babies till 5

love it!
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Old 09-16-2008, 03:22 PM   #6
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Default Re: A radical idea - viewing kids as babies till 5

Thank you so much...I plan to come back to this.
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Old 09-16-2008, 03:23 PM   #7
Heather Micaela
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Default Re: A radical idea - viewing kids as babies till 5

You are welcome and thanks for the nice words.
(I actually expected criticism )
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Old 09-16-2008, 03:28 PM   #8
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Default Re: A radical idea - viewing kids as babies till 5

Extremely insightful. Fits right in with what I believe about delayed academics and unschooling as well.
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Old 09-16-2008, 03:30 PM   #9
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Default Re: A radical idea - viewing kids as babies till 5

My good friend and I were just talking about this recently (the Jewish idea of "infants" being birth to five).

Puts a new frame on your parenting, I think.
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Old 09-16-2008, 03:31 PM   #10
Heather Micaela
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Default Re: A radical idea - viewing kids as babies till 5

Quote:
Originally Posted by Teribear
Fits right in with what I believe about delayed academics and unschooling as well.
Absolutely
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Old 09-16-2008, 03:34 PM   #11
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Default Re: A radical idea - viewing kids as babies till 5

I love it. And it's hard for me to remember, so I"m glad for the reminder.

It's in line with Waldorf beliefs too, where the child is seen as in a dreamy, childlike phase until the loss of their baby teeth, which happens around the age of 6-7. At that point, there are certain brain developments happening that signal their readiness to begin schooling.
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Old 09-16-2008, 03:35 PM   #12
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Default Re: A radical idea - viewing kids as babies till 5



I've found this to be very helpful for me as well - although, personally, I noticed a HUGE difference in maturity at 7. It was as if a switch flipped with my older two on their 7th birthday.
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Old 09-16-2008, 03:39 PM   #13
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Default Re: A radical idea - viewing kids as babies till 5

I've thought this way ever since I got my credential in early childhood- it was ages 0 to 6 years.
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Old 09-16-2008, 03:45 PM   #14
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Default Re: A radical idea - viewing kids as babies till 5

wow thank you... very true!!

any links/starting places to study the hebrew word for child/infant etc????
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Old 09-16-2008, 03:49 PM   #15
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Default Re: A radical idea - viewing kids as babies till 5

I know someone has a link to Samuel Martin's book "Spare the Rod"--I think it's posted in GD

I talk about this more in my second book Grace-Based Living

I do find it much more loving to think of my children as "babies" until age 6. 5 is a great big transition from preschooler to kid and then there is a huge maturity surge with my children around age 8 (they change at 7 but not as much as at 8 )
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