Parents: what do you wish you knew when your child was 5?

  1. Read to your kid daily.
  2. Take them to the library and let them pick out whatever they want to “read”. Read Read Read.
  3. Monitor screen time.
  4. Start them in a sporty thing…soccer, dance, etc. Kids need to be active. But let it just be a recreational league.
  5. If your kid wants to quit something, make sure they aren’t quitting just because they haven’t learned to do it yet.
  6. Start saving for college.
  7. Have your kids do some age-appropriate chores.
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My own kid is a sophomore now and I remember being very concerned about the different activities that I tried to put her through. At age 5, I definitely think it is a good time to think about this stuff. The key, I think, is to think of everything as development and also try many different activities so you can really see what your kid likes to do.

Many parents here are saying music is a great thing to look at and I agree. My kid learned trumpet and piano from 4th to 7th grade. She stopped because she was too involved with sports, but it was certainly very valuable for her to be in that type of activity. Art classes are also great for little ones because that is something that will immediately transfer into the current school setting. A big key for school success in the early years is the ability to follow instructions as well as honing the fine motor skills. Good luck!

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I wish I had known more about the gifted program at our school. I would not have agreed to have my kids considered for it.

My oldest was considered and genuinely wished to be invited to join, but was not admitted. I think that affected her self-esteem during middle school, as she watched friends take part in a program she was actively excluded from. Then my youngest was admitted to the gifted program, but discovered that it was truly awful. He hated it, his friends hated it. They rarely did anything creative, focusing more on things like memorization challenges and these convoluted grammar workbooks.

During my son’s years in the program, two families withdrew their kids because it was so awful. We told my son he could leave too, but he felt great obligation to complete the program even though he loathed it. Today he looks back on the program and laughs. He and his friends love to quote the teacher, who was an erratic tyrant. I’m glad they see humor in the situation, but it really was a waste–and an unpleasant one, at that.

The takeaway, years later: Not every opportunity is a good opportunity. No real harm done, but if I had known this when my kids were 5, I would have opted out.