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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 07-07-2009, 12:11 PM   #3
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Default Re: A radical idea - viewing kids as babies till 5

That makes sense. I've always thought of one and two year olds as walking babies anyway.
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Old 07-14-2009, 07:15 PM   #4
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Default Re: A radical idea - viewing kids as babies till 5

This helps me so much tonight. Since Hubby and I have been talking about having another child, I've been feeling like I need to move Anina out of the "baby" spot slowly to make room for another baby. But after reading this....it's a relief to my heart that my two year old can still snuggle with me to sleep, she doesn't HAVE to potty train this summer if she isnt' ready, I can still hold her as much as she needs it and on and on.
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Old 09-16-2008, 03:11 PM   #5
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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   #6
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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   #7
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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   #8
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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   #9
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   #10
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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   #11
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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   #12
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 07-02-2009, 11:38 PM   #13
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Default Re: A radical idea - viewing kids as babies till 5

wow thanks, somehow we seem to forget this....
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Old 07-03-2009, 12:17 PM   #14
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Default Re: A radical idea - viewing kids as babies till 5

So glad to have found and read this thread now, when my oldest is 18 months. We are getting to the point where it seems like many other adults expect him to be growing up and doing things I'm in no hurry for him to do yet. It's getting to the point where it's hard to go to playgroups or the playground without being constantly on alert and feeling judged for either under- or over-parenting him (I often feel like other parents think I'm doing both!).

This is a great concept to keep in the front of my mind and not rush DS or any future babies into growing up too fast. Incidentally, I remember 7 being the age that I changed significantly. My memories from after that time are clearer - less emotional and more reason-based. It just makes so much sense to me!
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Old 07-03-2009, 08:23 PM   #15
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Default Re: A radical idea - viewing kids as babies till 5

I likes that. I will only have three "babies" for a few more months when ds turns 5!

And I agree it is less stressful when I lower my expectations!
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