Wondering why your 5 year old keeps pulling pranks on you or your 6 year old is all of a sudden takes “justice” into his own hands? You are at the right place!
Hi, I’m Amber, “The Observant Mom.” I document childhood developmental stages. Each milestone starts with a child who becomes a bit difficult or demanding and ends with a child who has some amazing new skills. In almost every case, what they become so bad at is what they will soon to get very good at!
Here are the quick links for frequent users.
This Five Year Old Milestones were last updated on December 16, 2020.
The Six Year Old Milestones were last updated on November 16, 2020.
Five Year Old Milestone 2: 5.1.2
Five Year Old Milestone 3: 5.3.1 or 5.4.0
Five Year Old Milestone 4: 5.5.0
Five Year Old Milestone 5: 5.6.0
Five Year Old Milestone 6: 5.6.2
Five Year Olds Milestone 7A: 5.8.0
Five Year Old Milestone 7B: 5.9.0
Five Year Old Milestone 8: 5.10.0
Five Year Old Milestone 9: 5.11.0
Six Year Old Milestone 1: 6.0.1
Six Year Old Milestone 2: 6.1.0
Six Year Old Milestone 3: 6.2.1
[numbering under construction]
Early Elementary Milestone 13: 6 years, 3 months
Early Elementary Milestone 14: 6 years, 6 months
Early Elementary Milestone 15: 6 years, 9 months
Early Elementary Milestone 16: 6 years, 11 months
5 Year Old Milestones
Note on the Work
This work on 5-6 year olds is still a bit of a work in progress. These are my notes thus far. More data still needs integrated into this, I still need to do a head shape study on 5 year olds, and some other things.
I do recommend you use the due date when figuring out the age your child is.
I’m assuming you’ve read through the main page of The Observant Mom. Be sure to also jump around to the other milestones:
And check out my books THUS far:
Five Year Old Milestone 1—Long-Term Conceptual Problem Solving
Starts: 1 week before 5.0.0
Most Intense: Just before 5.0.2
Irritable Period Summary
Sense of Entitlement
• A high sense of entitlement. Might throw their wrappers, etc., and fully expects you to clean up after them.
• Expects adults to cater to them immediately. Upset that you brought the wrong X (e.g., a type of snack), no matter how hard you try to predict what they might want.
• Very aggressive, impulsive, and entitled. You might say you are going to the store and they come up to you and kick you and demand you take them
Taunts other Children
• Likes to play practical jokes on other children, seeming to purposely rile others up.
• They might give a child an empty bag of cookies
• Or hide another child’s favorite toy or shoe
• Wants to play with others a lot and may hit or take to get the attention
• Plays jokes or steals things just to get attention
• Constantly provokes other children. If you ask them about it, they might say, “Because I want to have fun with them!” It really is healthy connection forming, but they don’t know how to do it yet.
• Taunts children when they “win” in a fight or game
• You might expect at least one socially embarrassing public incident with your aggressive or easily upset child during the most intense period. Maybe they hit or kick another child while at a playground.
Feels Very Vulnerable
• Feels very easily slighted, defeated, or vulnerable. Might ask you to protect them more
• Verbalizes their confusion, e.g., “Five year olds don’t know right from wrong”
• May have overwhelming scary dreams in which people take their stuff
• May take action to protect themselves from threats, like bringing a toy gun “in case of monsters”
• Or they make “monsters” our of Play Doh and pretend to kill them
• Some of the last milestone may still be present or may even be shifted entirely by one milestone for some children: fear of death and dealing with the impermanence of life.
• Some children seem to tend towards whining and others toward aggression. Whichever your child is, a high amount of that. A high amount of taunting other children, harassing them, or taking their things. May become violent or emotionally out of control in their attempts to get other children to play with them
New Abilities Summary
• This one is marked by being able to take a small bit of information, remembering it, and projecting it and applying it in the future. They can handle highly complex situations about future events. Hence the name, “Long-Term Conceptual Problem Solving.” It starts out subtle at first and then explodes.
Long-Term Conceptual Problem Solving
• You can give them information for a long-range problem, and they do well.
• You can give them a map or information about something, and they memorize it and apply it later
• Enjoys solving and thinking about issues where the solution may be complex. They might mimic playing a doctor and thinking of the best solution to heal a sick patient
• Or they think about how colors go together, like pales for spring season and oranges and blacks for Halloween, and mix and match them to their delight in their wardrobe and coloring
• Thinks of realistic solutions to problems in which there is a long-term issue or several steps to achieve something. You might get a dog, but first we should really put in a fence.
• Absolutely loves doctor’s appointments and how the doctor thoroughly checks every single part of them
• Follows along with complex, abstract explanations, such as a technical problem a parent had at work
• Interested in learning to solve life events, such as watching a video about preparing for a tornado
• Wonders things like how grocery stories get stocked or how do people write books?
• Capable of if/then logic about a course of action. For instance, “Mommy tells me to wipe 5 times but if there is no poop, I can stop wiping.”
Persists with Solutions or “Enlarges” Solutions
• They can take a solution to a smaller issue and apply it to a larger problem. For instance, “Hey, when I carry this bowl of cereal carefully, it doesn’t spill. Maybe I can be careful all the time!”
• Very likely to come up with new, creative ideas after you show them something. For instance, you show them how to make a “shooter” with a cup and a balloon and they try to make a trampoline for themselves using similar principles
• Stays in character for a long time and with great poise, such as behaving in the manner of who they are dressed up for Halloween would behave
• They come up with their own solutions to problems that you would have never thought of. For instance, to make a cup more rigid, they put two cups together, nestled, while doing a science experiment
• Starts to “keep score.” In a game you didn’t even know you were playing, you have 0 points and they have 1 point
Better at Handling That Things Don’t Always Go Their Way / They are Wrong / Other People’s Opinion Matter
• Good at handling when their things get destroyed. They just get sad, rather than angry
• Might resolve to do something even better if something of theirs gets destroyed or something doesn’t go their way. They can re-center really well and focus on a new solution.
• Aware that their solutions and knowledge might be wrong. For instance, they look at the stars and say, “I see a star! But I don’t know if it’s a star. It might be a planet.”
• Capable of a more robust negotiation where you go back and forth to come up with a solution. They might love to do a handshake and say, “Deal?” Overall very aware of the whole situation and where they fit in. Very happy to think of both themselves and the family’s needs.
• Advises you to do something but then remembers you should consult other people too, e.g., “Let’s do this thing. But lets talk to Daddy about it first.”
• Gives full and sincere apologies with detailed reasons for their inability to fulfill a promise: “I’m very sorry it took me a long time. I was stuck in the bathroom. I couldn’t get my pants up. Then I had trouble with the lock ….”
• Help other children when other children get hurt, such as helping a child put on their shoe, when it fell off or they can’t get it on
• Extraordinarily kind and considerate
• Notices positive things about their siblings and compliments them
• Thanks you for taking care of them
• Capable of doing lessons where you separate nouns from verbs or notice how prefixes and suffixes change a word. It’s great fun for a child
• Capable of writing out numbers to 100
• Can be given two blank squares that are both the same and together they add to 4, what are they?
• Handily does a Geopuzzle, a jigsaw puzzle of countries, in a way in which they understand these are countries of the world
• Might like a game like Flag Frenzy, where you match flags on two cards
• Can understand some basic economics, such as some money or other goods are needed for consumption, some for trade, some for savings
• Initiates their own projects more, such as digging in your supplies to find paper and crayons or watercolors so they can draw, color, or paint
Five Year Old Milestone 2—Sliding Scales
Starts: Between 5.0.0 and 5.1.2
Most Intense: Somewhere between 5.1.1 and 5.1.3
Irritable Period Summary
Entitled, Taunting, Relentless
• This one is marked by similar behavior as the last one but in a more relentless way
• Still very often entitled and likes to punk other children.
• Sometimes chases children around to kiss them or play with them
• Sometimes just won’t back off. You might have to yank them off of their sibling.
• Demanding of more and more things. Takes your stuff especially, such as your phone.
• Bossy towards other children about what the rules are: tells children they aren’t allowed to go “too far away,” other children aren’t allowed to open the door yet, etc.
• You might expect yourself to be rather stressed out right now, with how frequently and intensely demanding they get. “I just GOT you a [type of food].” “Stop SCREAMING.” “God, does it ever stop!?”
• Can vary for children: some might show only short bursts of aggression. Others might be more relentless
Inconsolable for a Long While Over Slights
• Cries longer after being hurt. For instance, someone doesn’t give them a hug when they wanted one. They can’t shake their pain for the rest of the night or until they get a hug
• May get upset if you change something or throw away something you didn’t know they really, really loved. For instance, you throw away the generic picture that came with a picture frame you bought. They liked the picture; it reminded them of Mommy. They are upset until you get a new picture frame or some other solution.
• Announces that their feelings are hurt
• Very upset if something or someone they really like gets taken away for any reason
• Might get more upset when a particular adult comes home or comes over. Very often, boys react strongly to male adults
• Might just want more hugs
• Might stay up late, wanting to talk
• Relentless, intense behavior where they won’t back off and demand a lot. It greatly dissipates after the intense period, but you still may see some bossy behavior or some intense behavior, depending on life situations, until the end.
New Abilities Summary
• The dominant new ability is an ability to see how relationships change over some variable, such as how any variable Y can change over variable X.
Notices How Things Change Over a Scale
• Notices how things change over a continuum.
• They may notice that as they move away from a light source, their shadow gets bigger or smaller; or the reflection of their head gets bigger or smaller as they move a spoon; or their voice gets louder as they get closer
• Can project the course of something over time. For instance, by the time you get home it will be dark or by the time they are 7 years old, they will outgrow their car seat
• Wonders about how things are measured over time. For instance, if a baby is one day old, does this make them 0 or 1 years old?
• Very precise in how things work or what they want as you go up and down a scale. For instance, “Yeah, my seat belt is tight but not too tight.” Or they might think about a detail about a very future event, such as, “When I die, I am not sure if it will be in the daytime or nighttime.”
• Love to think about how things move across a surface or time. They might be interested in how they can slide across a hard floor easily (but not the carpet) or how they can build two imaginary cars: one fast and one slow, and they move differently.
• Interested in how big or small things can get, e.g., the very smallest and biggest animal in the ocean
• Draws elaborate pictures, such as a large ocean with the type of fish that would live on the bottom, middle, and top
Quantifies the World
• Uses cumulative analytics to understand the world.
• They might count how many times one person scores points over another and they persist at counting; or they want new clothes and they want an entire new wardrobe with 5 new shirts, 6 new pants, and 7 new socks
• Likes economic mental solutions, such as how saying “100 verys” can replace “very, very, very, very…” or how grouping objects into 10s makes it much easier to count them
• Very, very good at adding and subtracting. Easily does numbers with a sum up to 20. They take pride that they do this “in their mind.”
• Handily puts things in a specific order, such as all even or odd numbers. Loves to think about skip counting by even or odd numbers
Can Think of Paradoxes / Notices Irony
• Thinks of more complex paradoxes, such as, about Taco Bell, “Is it a taco made of bells or bells made of tacos”
• Or they notice that moving the van one way causes objects in it to move the opposite way
• More situational awareness, like “Why does this coffee cup have snowflakes on it when the weather is nice?” or “Oh, the animals in [a movie] are talking now.”
• Can ask really intelligent questions if you ask a question of them isn’t clear. Like you ask if “front and back” are antonyms or prepositions and they tell you, correctly, that they are both
• They can pull out one variable of something and plug in another. They might make up jokes like, “The store is Dollar Duck,” about the store Dollar General. If you think of it like an algebraic equation, they deal with certain things as variables.
• Stronger interest in adventure stories that are longer, such as lengthier history stories or a story about a cave exploration
• Nonchalant about death now, may make up stories about people dying (whereas they just came out of milestones where they had a high fear of death)
• Stronger ability to learn things on their own, e.g., the features that come with taking a photo on the iPad
• Growing initiative in taking over their own learning, e.g., wants to do a particular project and says so
• May explore their private parts
Five Year Old Milestone 3—Drama and Heroic Thought
Most Intense: 5.3.1
Most Intense: 5.4.0
Irritable Period Summary
• Starts off noticeably with nightmares, perhaps about something like tornadoes
• Wants particular caregiver late at night
Needs Physical Connection
• Lingers on primary caregiver, siblings, or others
• Wants hugs more often
• Cries more easily
• Playfully aggressive, e.g., “boxes” you
• Might not back off of other children
• Occasionally angry and aggressive (near intense part)
• This one is long, but the behaviors are quite mild except near the most intense part
Imagine External Things That Help Them
• They imagine external things that they think about or even talk to.
• For instance, they have invisible computers that are really tall, wide, or very small that they send messages to
• Loves to daydream
• Or “prays” that things will happen
• Might describe more about how their mind works, e.g., their mind stacks things
New Abilities Summary
Loves Deep and Heroic Things
• Likes things that are “deep,” e.g., closes their eyes and acts out something dramatic
• Loves triumphant songs, e.g., The Ants Go Marching
• Strong interest in playing an instrument and in a moving way
• May follow along with a sheet of music
• Loves acting out real adventure stories, e.g., escaping Roman persecution in catacombs
• May love to create drama, such as revealing a new outfit dramatically: first their shoes, then pants, then sleeves, etc. The last “sliding scales” milestone was necessary for this as they learn how things move over a continuum. This build up is necessary for this milestone, but now it is done in a much more passionate, dramatic way, and such crescendo is necessary for such drama.
• Wants to get stronger, or smarter, etc., e.g., uses weights and announces they are getting strong
• Interested in real news events
• Explodes in self-directed learning, e.g., makes up their own stories and writes out books
Core Brain Changes
• Talks to “invisible” things, such as pretending to type a message on a computer to an unseen person, or they daydream. There is clearly something outside of themselves that they imagine or even talk to.
• Their imagination and memory get more powerful.
• They might draw an entire mechanical machine from memory, on the spot.
• Or they might make up a story that they are an archaeologist and have a “book that has all the answers to everything; let me look [something] up.”
Five Year Old Milestone 4— I Can Trick You!
Most Intense: 5.5.0
Irritable Period Summary
• Tricks, tricks, and more tricks
• Fills up a cup with salt and tells you its milk
• Hands you an unsharpened pencil and tells you it is ready for use
• Pretends to be sleeping
• Pretends to be a ghost—and did they trick you? Don’t worry. They weren’t actually a ghost.
• These tricks may turn annoyingly aggressive, such as trying to trip their sibling by tying shoestring in front of their door
• Lies a LOT
• Nightmares, perhaps of cars going over cliffs
• May want to cuddle a lot
• Depending on the child, may be up late at night or want particular caregiver at night
• Or asks to go on a walk late at night
Aggressive or Whiny
• May get aggressive or may scream a lot or may demand you a lot, depends on the child
New Abilities Summary
• They love to trick you. They are fascinated by if you know what they know or if they can pull one over on you. They also start to really understand paradox
Tricks You to Test Your and Their Intelligence
• As noted, they will love to “trick” you. They find playing these practical jokes totally hilarious.
• They might make up a game for you to play, something totally new, such as finding your way through a maze or playing out a computer game but on paper.
• Playing Hangman, doing a treasure hunt, and any other game where you try to trick each other or have to set up a game for another may be a huge hit
Understand How Others Perceive/Experience Something
• They see things from another’s perspective with more depth. They might notice for instance that a person in a movie being filmed would have a camera on them when being filmed
• They get irony better, such as pretending to be a quirky professor and asking “Me? Odd?”
• They might flag down a waitress on their own, without asking, to ask for a new drink
• They might get markers and paper out to make their own book, perhaps with a house set on fire by a dragon that needs put out
• They may become interested in saying things in a language they don’t know yet
• They have a lot of personality as they describe themselves as “smaaaaaaaht” (smart) or, in a valley girl voice, describe how they do things, “easy peasy, lemon squeeazy.”
Notices Paradox with Two Variables
• They might notice they can do two things at once: they can walk AND daydream at the same time
• They notice things that are more “meta”: does their brain have a brain?
• They might make up a joke that they find incredibly delightful which involves some amount of paradox, such that a character is the “Queen of Queens!” She’s a queen of a city named Queens.
• They can tie a simple life situation to something related and bigger. Their little brother might be learning to climb stairs. You explain he has to take it one step at a time. They say, as if saying something deep, “Yeah. One step at a time.”
• They like the idea of being in something ridiculous, like being in an engine
• They love math problems with some complexity, such as adding 3 numbers together, e.g. 5 + 2 + 2
• If you ask them what 30 + 20 is, they are likely to say “80” or similarly that 30 + 40 is 100. When you ask them to explain themselves, they say that “30 + 30 is 60,” plus whatever more gets their answer. I have only ever found this for adding 30. They can add 10 + 10 and get 20. For some reason, they double 30 or possibly other numbers, as if going over a sum of 50 confuses them.
• They similarly get confused with place value. They might say 50 + 60 is 200. This is because 50 + 50 is 100 and you added 100 (but actually 10) more. They can get 50 + 51, but not 50 + 60.
• They are likely to figure out new features on their own, such as special effect features on a camera on a tablet or smart phone
Five Year Old Milestone 5—Competitive and Goal-Oriented
Most Intense: At the beginning and again at 5.6.0
Ends: A few days after 5.6.0
Irritable Period Summary
• It starts with wanting an extreme amount of control over a common situation.
• They night become distraught that an adult left the house, before they were able to say goodbye.
• Or they might stubbornly want a say in bigger decisions, such as where, when, and how to cross a road
Sensitive, Needs Connection
• Tears up more often
• Wants to “spend time” with primary caregiver more often
• Might harass other children
• Wants to talk with adults in their adult conversations, such as when mom and dad talk about redecorating the bathroom
Imagination and Brain Talk
• Imaginative stories, e.g., something imaginary is in their pocket or their closet is filled with something that may fall on them
• May see a reappearance of some old imaginary friends
• Describes how their brain works, e.g., it’s “going crazy” or is like a “gear box with pistons pumping”
• During the more intense period at 5.6.0, they might want you late at night or to sleep in the same bed as you. They might tell you they are having nightmares. Or you might try directly asking them about it if issues come up.
• They might have some extremely terrifying nightmares: they get killed in a variety of ways, they become a murderer, worst of all, they worry you might get killed
New Abilities Summary
• They absolutely love the idea of getting better and better at something at this one, in particular going from one “level” to the next. They approach challenges with verve. They have highly complex ideas and imaginations, which yet are also practical.
Competitive and Goal-oriented
• Actively wants you to beat them at a game
• Loves to be peppered with challenges, such as math problems
• Loves the idea of “challenges” or “getting to the next level” in a competition
• Likely to love “parkour” and making up fun challenges with their bodies, e.g., jump off a curb and spin before you land!
• Wants to try to keep up with adults even when they can’t, such as walking on a long walk
• Willing to stay “in character” if acting as a character for any reason, e.g, stays in character all night if dressed up as someone for Halloween.
• Or they might have a constant stream of consciousness about something, e.g., “Everyone. Stay in your seats. This is your captain speaking.”
• They love to learn to read, by reading. They’ll follow along with every word as you read to them
• They like to finish what they started, such as a book. They like to keep track of what they did, such as with a sticker chart
• Highly concerned about how they will do as an adult. Will a man marry them? How many girls/boys will date them?
Mentally Complex and Imaginative
• Highly imaginative and creative.
• They can, for instance, make up their own April Fool’s jokes now. They might tell you some cake crumbles are mouse poop—joke!
• Or you might sing a song and they think up new lyrics. You might sing “Mary had a Little Lamb,” and they think of it for a few minutes. They then make up some new lyrics about what the lamb then does after following Mary to school that kind of rhyme
• Their artwork gets more complicated. They might draw a tablet and draw each individual app well or an entire scene in which a bee pollinates a flower
• Science lessons, as such are fun: what is manmade or natural? Which animals lay eggs and which have live young? Doing these lessons while in nature is especially fun
• Evaluates a situation logically, e.g., do I have enough time to go to the bathroom before trick or treaters come to the door?
• Loves to find and build patterns, e.g., 3 colors together as the “American Flag,” grouped together often makes X many flags
Paradox and Complexity
• Playing a game like charades is fun, where they have to come up with a thing or situation to act out for others to guess
• Loves Reverse Russian jokes, such as, “In America, we play games. In Soviet Russia, games play you!”
• They can contemplate one issue with two alternatives. If they have to pick one husband, but one man is smart and another is funny, which one should they pick?
• If you point out the idea to them, they might love to find “Easter eggs” in movies, such as Rapunzel can be found in the Frozen movie
• Strong desire to have loving relationships with others: they want to be with and have a “best friend.”
• They may become distraught after they part with their best friend or beg to see them.
• One person in particular is now definitely their best friend.
• This tends to be strong on one particular night around the intense period or over a few nights
• Very kind and considerate of others; offers to help out
Early Elementary Milestone 6—Explains and Evaluates Ideas
Most Intense: The beginning
• Gets back up out of bed and may eavesdrop on parents
• Gets back up out of bed and wants to talk about what they are excited about or can do, say new math problems
• Intentionally lies
• Might push a kid and blame it on another child
• Or might intentionally do something, like put something in a straw. They then put their hands in their pocket and whistle like it didn’t happen
• Sometimes jerks their body around, almost in a spasm
• Expresses love to many people
• May make romantic advances towards an adult or older sibling. It happens only on one night, towards the very beginning, then doesn’t happen again
Most Intense Period
• Stays up late, wants to talk
New Abilities Summary
What is Real or Fake? How do you KNOW?
• They know what is FAKE and REAL. Cinderella is so FAKE. Julius Caesar actually existed. He is REAL.
• Critical of ideas, such as if Santa really exists. Needs PROOF to prove it so: did Santa eat some cookies or not?
• Wonders how people derived information: how did people learn what’s inside our body?
• Can identify when characters from a story are lying, such as if a character is told they have to kill a baby and they say they will. But this is a lie
• Loves to give you “tricky” problems, perhaps “tricky” math problems
• They make up “lies” in their jokes and play now that are cute. They might pretend to look for “the Titanic,” a sunken ship, in the bathtub, but routinely find their baby brother’s foot, not the ship, much to baby brother’s delight
• Can handle a more complex, “reverse” way of thinking about something, such as “can you touch green?” No. This is an adjective so it’s not something you can touch
• Highly perceptive. If given the idea, they can find “Easter eggs” in movies, such as that Rapunzel shows up in the movie Frozen or that the genie’s magic carpet is in Princess and the Frog
• Highly aware of how others see them. Others will be so “jealous” of them.
• Strongly opinionated on how they would act in complex political situations. Would they obey a cruel king? NEVER.
• The British unfairly taxed the Americans. RUDE.
Explains Their Ideas or Feelings in an Elaborate Way
• Can explain ideas they have by using examples, e.g. uses hands to explain how earth revolves around the sun
• Can think of a creative way to explain an idea such as a “constitution,” by explaining that if two people in the house are fighting over if they lights should be on, they could put together a constitution to guide the process
• Depending on their personality, might explain what is in their inner world to you by making up an elaborate play, such as they were lost at sea and you thought they were dead and so you were screaming, “Nooooo!” but they weren’t actually dead
• You might talk with them about freedom of expression, etc., now as they are so excited to express themselves
• If you read a story, history or other, and ask them to repeat back what you just read, they can, such as, “The Mayans fought other armies and got weaker and weaker like the Romans.” They might not always want to answer such questions, however.
• They follow along with stories as if they are watching a football game. They know all the key characters and what is going and compares it to other stories. They are totally into it. They clearly see it in their head well
• Notices and evaluates absolutely everything while going about. As they drive in the van, “Store, store. Tree, tree, tree. House. Neighborhood. Stop sign. Store.”
• Notices after touring through somewhere or driving and seeing something, “That was really neat.” It’s in how they nominate themselves as the decider of this that this comes across as strikingly new and intelligent
Makes Up Stories
• Might make up an elaborate story like there once was a family that no furniture except a sleeping bag, which they all slept in. Then they had a baby and the sleeping bag wasn’t big enough. The mother and father went to buy furniture and kidnappers came and tricked the kids and pretended to be the mother and father for 15 years. Then the mother and father came back and the children went on to marry and have children and everyone was happy.
• May like to write out a story such as a Princess wanted to marry a Prince, but then found out he was evil
• May act out one of their favorite stories with devastating detail
• May set up an entire history scene, say out of army men, and comes up with unique and different ideas for how to win a battle, such as building ramps to get over a wall
Explosion in Writing or Otherwise Using a Pencil of Some Sort for Creative Ends
• Wants to draw out an idea they have, perhaps for how to build a slide off their bed
• Throws themselves into making a nicely organized, colorful art design, such as coloring a peacock’s tail
• Loves to write their thoughts down and they might write: grocery lists, activity logs, ideas to solve problems, emotions, a story
Loves Learning about Exotic-Sounding Words
• They love to learn new words and see maps and read the more complicated words you find on a map like “Istanbul” or “Russia”
• Can spell
• Enjoys work with homonyms
Passionate and Excited to Learn and Do
• May get excited over a topic they love and enthusiastically tell you how much they love it, such as a love for numbers
• Similarly, they may become passionate over someone in one of the stories they hear, such as someone who ended slavery
• Or they might say something like, “I just feel like the whole world is good. I just FEEL that.” Like they imagine big things in their mind and try to make sense of complicated themes
• Very excited by powerful solutions, even mathematically, such as how you can get to a really big number quickly by doubling numbers
• Excited to clean the house
Realistic Solutions for Complex Problems
• Comes up with realistic solution for a relatively complicated life problem such as how to catch a mouse or how to reach a high smoke detector
• Comes up with not just the solution but alternative solutions in case the first one fails. For instance, they put a pillow under a bridge or slide they are building “in case they fall”
• They have good ideas about how to solve more worldwide problems, such as not coughing on people in restaurants to not spread virus
• They might say they want to be two things, a doctor and a warrior, and they understand some of the complexity of that, such as you can go to school to be a doctor but where is warrior school?
• Or, further, if they become a doctor and they want to be a mother, who will look after their children?
• Can say something like after one of their socks gets a hole in it, “let’s get more socks, but get an odd number so I have pairs”
Early Elementary Milestone 7A—Devious, Turbo-Charged Solutions
Most intense: 5.8.0 to 5.8.2
Ends: 5.8.2 (bleeds a bit into the next one)
Irritable Period Summary
• Stays up late
• While up late, may go on and on and on about something, like how much they love to learn from the books or videos they watch (highly in congruence with the milestone)
• Might tell you they are very lonely when alone at night
• Tears up more often
• Goes back to familiar activities from when they were younger
• Imaginary friends might make a re-emergence
• May get aggressive such as cutting up a sibling’s book
Still Loves to Trick People
• Continues to deliberately lie.
• They blatantly do something to another child and blames it on another child.
• Or they do something like put the skin of chickpeas on their nose, eat them, and tell you they are eating their own skin, as a prank.
Purposely Brings Distress Upon Themselves
• Makes up things to purposely bring distress on them.
• They might intentionally fall so they can cry, then cry, in an exaggerated way, like a younger child
• Asks to play a game and then wails any time anything at all bad happens to them in the game, as if it’s a concerted attack on them
Most Intense Period
• Purposely makes up blatant lies and pranks that are premeditated; purposely brings distress upon themselves
New Abilities Summary
• Constantly explaining and evaluating ideas, and a bit devious in what they think up
Constantly Explains Themselves
• Goes on elaborately to explain their position or another’s position, e.g., explains with models or their hands how the earth goes around the sun
• They might tell you, “Ok, Mom. I’m going to break this down for you.”
• Argues, wants to argue, asks you to argue, or thinks about how to or how not to argue
Makes up Interesting (Often Devious) Solutions
• Plays games in a strategic way, such as they know how to protect their pieces in Checkers
• May love to play such board games now, e.g., Checkers, Robot Turtles, or Monopoly Jr.
• You can now “brainstorm” solutions with them to tricky problems, say a conflict between them and the babysitter. Their solution might be, “I know! Let’s trick the babysitter!”
• They might say something devious like “Mommy, I am beautiful. But I am also DANGEROUS. So my beauty is a TRICK!”
• Makes up interesting, complex solutions to problems, like 5 different routes to get to the room of a child who is 5, 3 routes for a child who is 3, etc.
Turbo Charges Solutions
• Enamored by the thought that things can go well or can go poorly.
• For instance, you tell them about your first date with your other and they are enamored that it went well because X, Y, Z reasons and that it potentially could have NOT gone well.
• Appreciative of stories of adults who make things better, such as a story of a company that sold candy for $0.25 but figured out a way to make it $0.10
• May then fantasize about ways to solve such adult problems, like what kind of better machine can make candy
• Might love the idea of super charging their ability to solve problems, such as getting 3 wishes from a genie or having a big strong person, like a genie, on their side
• Similarly might like something that makes them feel strong, powerful, or interesting, like having a shark tooth on a necklace
Compares and Verifies Information
• Uses new information to clarify old information that was unclear to them, e.g., after you teach them about percentages, they go back to a place they heard that word before because now “the air is made up of 21% oxygen” makes sense to them
• Capable of basic research, such as looking up an answer in a book
• Loves to compare what is the same and what is different between two things, such as by setting up two different structures out of blocks and demands that you notice what is the same and different about them
Makes Up Words
• Makes up words to explain a thought, e.g., birds on a wire must be “electricity-proof” as they are somehow not being electrocuted.
• Or they make up a word like a “chumma” is a helpful person and a “tumma” is a “bossy” person
Mentally Holds onto Two Competing Dimensions of a Problem
• Can mentally hold on to two dimensions of an object of problem. Such as balloons are big but light.
• Or in a life situation we might want to get something fast without getting caught
Budding Moral Reasoning
• Strong desire to do what is right and be not just good at something but someone with a good character
• Is NOT having it that “no idea is good or bad.” Some ideas are GOOD. And some ideas are BAD. (May depend on personality)
• Might say “seriously.” Like, seriously, mom.
• Likes to tell jokes with interesting paradox, like “the chair is sitting on the floor”
• May love logic games such as “Plumber MM” on tablets
• Notices the range of things, e.g., certain children are between the ages of 1 and 5 and others are not
• Stunningly fast at solving logic problems, such as what is the pattern in something: the number listed correlated to how many 90 degree angles were in each shape
• Reads fluently, such as several pages of a book with several paragraphs per page
Five Year Old Milestone 7B—Draws Conclusions from Proof
Starts: 5.8.4, give or take a few days
Most intense: 5.8.4 until 5.9.0
Irritable Period Summary
Nightmares and Fear of Abandonment
• Nightmares, perhaps of flying uncontrollably into outer space
• Completely distraught if you so as much leave the house to get the mail, “WHERE ARE YOU GOING?”
Still Plays Tricks and Punks People
• Might tell their sister they are going to put a movie on. They then hide the remote so their sister can’t watch the movie
• Might “photo bomb” a picture you are taking, such as by showing up with whipped cream on their chin
• When asked if they are happy and know it to clap their hands, they go on an angry rampage. It’s funny.
Annoying, often Aggressive, Physical Habits
• They are a bit like a “Mexican jumping bean,” like they can’t contain themselves.
• They might do cartwheels all over.
• Or they can’t seem to not run into things as they run around
• In your face, annoyingly. Hovers over you, shakes tables, gets in your face, or keeps accidentally hitting you as they walk by, as if they have no ability to stay contained in their own body.
• Screams excitedly, like they don’t have control over it
• Might say, “Mommy, mommy, MOMMY” a lot
• Or they constantly ask if you’ve gotten X for them yet
• Their whining can get really out of hand (more likely in some children than others)
• They “get bored” easily and complain about it, often
Intentionally Picks Fights
• Intentionally picks fights.
• They do things that they know is not fair and will make everyone mad, but they do it anyway.
• Their sibling might be doing a jigsaw puzzle and they grab the very last piece that has to go in, wanting to do it themselves. They know full well this is wrong, but they do it anyway.
• Or, as another example, you might not be able to decide between Restaurant A or B. They have no opinion, but when you pick A, they declare they absolutely, uncompromisingly wanted B. They scream about how “SO UNFAIR” it is that you are going to A.
• Many things might be “SO UNFAIR” right now
New Abilities Summary
• May grow all of a sudden
• Fills out more in a way distinctive to their biological sex
• Such growth spurts tend to come with a demand for more food, which is why you may have gotten “Mommy” treatment or “is it done yet?” constantly about food
Highly Interested in How Others Know Things
• Interested in making sure others understand something correctly, such as making sure the other has good directions to get something or go somewhere
• When they are wrapped up in a blanket, how do you KNOW it’s them? How do you know it isn’t their sister? What if they hid in their blanket in their sister’s room? Would you KNOW it’s them then?
Interested in the Instantaneous
• Very interested in what words like “instant” means. It means something happens right away!?
• Thinks about things like how many “milliseconds” it takes to do something
Justifies if Something is True Based on A Formal Process of Investigation
• Formally investigates a theory in a formal, methodical way, such as,
• If I drop three different balls from a height, what sound do they make?
• Or “what do cars do if they roll down the stairs?”
• Or, “what happens when I dunk Oreos in milk?”
• Uses proof to justify a position, e.g., “I know the earth is round because I stop seeing things in the distance”
• They can justify the pros and cons of two different materials. Paper is light but can blow away. Stone is heavy but it’s hard to carve into it.
• Loves to read books to gain information. This may cause them to improve their reading skills
• May formulate a hypothesis such as “if you put an egg in fire, it would explode!”
• Judges information as true or false based on past information, e.g., this book says the skin has two layers; this is “false” because another video said the skin has 3 layers
• They can think of something like, “what would happen if I didn’t have skin?”
• They can figure out that if you get three bouquets of flowers for $12, each one is $4. It’s that they apply math to the real world, on their own, that is impressive.
Deliberate and Sophisticated
• There is a very real change from their former, cheeky, prank pulling self to someone more demure, deliberate, and sophisticated
• Reenacts something, such as from a story, with stunning detail, such as a very perfected bow “like a prince” with full earnestness
• Or reenacts what a weird character from a book looks like, such as a hammerhead shark with a short, fat, flat head
• They may put a tremendous amount of thought and detail into setting up chairs that are “too high,” “too wide”, and “just right” for a Goldilocks play
• They deliberately arrange flowers. They are going to put them in “one by one.” And the red ones are going to be on the outside, the white ones on the inside, etc.
• Less enchanted by silly points or noises in a story. For instance, before when they read The Gingerbread Man or Little Miss Muffet, they ran all over the house getting chased by others or by scary animals. Now, they calmly read the story. They understand the bigger point of the story: The Gingerbread Man is being cocky and taunting and this causes him to get eaten
• More deliberate and methodical in how they do things. They can make up a joke or poem intelligently based on the pattern of the typical joke or poem format, e.g., can do a Reverse Russian joke such as, “In Soviet Russia, games play you!” But they can do it, say, based on the text they are reading, such as “In America, Mrs. Pig invites guests. In Soviet Russia, guests invite you!”
• Better about not internalizing shame as much (if they were prone to it previously)
Budding Moral Reasoning
• They can separate out “fake” from “real” now, about bigger moral themes. Cinderella is FAKE. Julius Caesar was REAL.
• They, as such, can separate out the scary during stories. They can handle some amount of scary stories and are likely to be thrilled by them.
• Can handle a book at about the level of Wizard of Oz or Dracula (the abridged versions). A book that is about 15-20 short chapters long in which there is a bigger, exciting point. They can come back to it each night, although doing it in 2 or 3 readings is ideal
• However, ACTUAL scary things may upset them on a deeper level. For instance, hearing that people used to be slaves. They can still handle it, but they are, appropriately, rattled by it. They like hearing stories of heroes who righted such wrongs.
Stays with Activities Longer
• They stay with activities longer, including ones where they have to learn something totally new.
• Perhaps they make all of dinner with you, cutting meat, pounding it, and frying it
• Interested in keeping areas around them clean
• Interested in many chores such as laundry and making their own sandwich
• Loves to sort items into categories or sort objects around the house
Five Year Old Milestone 8—Ambient Environment and Moral Codes
Most intense: 5.10.0 – 5.10.1
Irritable Period Summary
Lies to Get Their Way During Fights
• They lie to get what they want.
• Say a parent is giving piggyback rides. They may want to monopolize their parent’s time by always being the one to get a piggyback ride. They “lie” to get their own way: they say they “didn’t get a turn,” when they did. They just want to be the only one getting a turn
• Or they are in a fight with their sibling over a book. They claim they had it first, when they didn’t. They just want the book.
• They accuse of others of “not letting them win.” They just want to win, because
• Still plays tricks, such as hiding their things under towels
• May get really mad you asked them to brush their teeth, such a “BORING” thing
• All of this may cause big meltdowns
Aware of Being Maliciously Left Out
• They pick up on the fact that another child is playing games with them and may maliciously be leaving them out of play
• Distraught when they feel they are being left alone
Brain Goes Crazy
• Their short-term memory becomes bad. They might keep forgetting something you just said to them or taught them
• They may be very absent-minded. They want to write down the number 4,000 but they write down 500.
• They may be up late
• They may just run and run and run
• May directly tell you how they process their thoughts. Maybe their thoughts are being “cut” and “following behind them.” Because it’s their “memories.”
• They annoyingly lie to get what they want. They may become distraught when they realize how unfair a situation is, such as a child is not letting them play basketball on purpose. Or they rather frustratingly become distraught when you so as much check the mail
New Abilities Summary
• They seem themselves as a player in the larger environment. How do the rules and actors around them affect them or others? I suspect “feelers” are more into the “mood” of the situation and “thinkers” are more into the “rules.”
Notices the Ambient Environment
• They notice the ambient environment. Some examples:
• You just redecorated and there are floral arrangements in your living room now. This makes them feel “so beautiful” to be surrounded by flowers.
• They are at a restaurant with cool old jazz music. They are into the romance of it
• Likes picnics—in the dark
• They might like to follow along with someone doing a dance, especially if it’s a popular entertainer who’s all the rage
• If they get a new, charming nightgown, they might be utterly convinced that you hand sewed it for them (you didn’t)
• Very capable of noticing the nuanced details about how people behave or what factors are involved, and how such details change over time, e.g., “My sister is becoming less bossy but she is still awkward.” They give examples proving their point
Aware of Themselves IN that Ambient Environment
• It’s like they see life as a “chess game” and realize they are one of the players in the game. They are more wordless and even artistic in how they do this.
• They are dressed up as a ninja. You shouldn’t take a picture of them. Because ninjas aren’t supposed to be seen.
• They are on cue with their stuffed animals. You ask if they want to go to the pool and their stuffed animal Kitty cries, “Meow!?” Because cats hate water.
• May clean up their room on their own, knowing that guests are coming.
• They directly ask you, “Do you appreciate when I help you clean a room?”
• May see a younger child doesn’t know something and goes in to give the lesson. They are very patient and articulate in how they give the lesson.
• They might say they like having a friend around, even though they argue. Otherwise, who would they argue with?
• Can give a full dissertation on something such as what their happy and sad part of the day was. They may even beg to talk about things, because they want to elaborate on all that is in their head.
• They might whisper things to you a lot or give the most heartfelt, frame worthy hugs
• They might have a vitality to them that is strikingly new. You can “see” who they might be when they become an adult. You can see them being, say, a host on a cooking TV show or a jiujitsu champion. Or just how they might go about life, such as being a social butterfly.
• Might tell you what they want to be when they grow up, such as a cook or an engineer. They’ve been thinking about it for a while. Now they bubble over with excitement with what they have decided. They want to work towards this goal
• They may be sly, devious, or secretive in how they place themselves in the larger environment:
• You might offer that they could pretend to go argue their ideas, as if they are at the Parthenon in Greek times. They say, “No. I keep my ideas a secret.”
• They might say, “I’m beautiful! But I’m also DANGEROUS. So my beauty is a TRICK!”
• You might ask them now what three wishes they would use if they had a genie. They understand now the bigger picture and fun of this and may have endearing answers.
Aware of the Very Process of Learning
• Aware that a certain activity aids in X. They are aware that books teach them words, and they happily bubble over about it
• If they don’t know how to do something, say build a Lego set, they realize they can go read the instructions. They bubble over that this was a problem and they solved it by reading.
• If you don’t know how to do something, they admonish you that you should go learn.
• They actively ask to learn things. Perhaps they want to go back to that book series on math or history you used to read.
• Or perhaps there was a fun math game you did before that they want to try their hand at again.
Wants to Get Their Mind Around “The Big Picture”
• They are very appreciative of anything that helps them size up what they know.
• They might love a history timeline that shows, from X to Y year all the stories they have read so far
• Or they love a Boy/Girl Scout merit badge, showing everything they’ve done so far.
They May Follow Along with what the “Rules” of Society Are (“Morals”), Question Them, Etc.
• They may be highly interested in entire codes of behavior. For instance, the difference between Hammarabi’s Code and the 10 commandments or any other difference in two religions or systems of rules
• They ask intelligent questions about such rules. Such as, “Do we have to follow cruel rules?”
• They still utterly hate slavery or knowing people were sent off to war, unwillingly
• Willing to accept the complexity of moral dilemmas, such as in a story if a person has to choose between lying or killing someone
• However, states that following any such rules can be “frustrating.” Who wants to have to lie to save a baby from dying, such as is the story in some ancient legends? Surely God would send a note down saying this is Ok.
• You might read the same story from two different sources now. Note how the same story is told slightly differently.
• Expresses that learning how to be good is difficult
• They ask why people shouldn’t drink alcohol, which they saw on a sign once. You explain that alcohol can make people violent if they were previously angry. They vow to never drink alcohol when angry
• If you ask them to sit still, they do it with more verve and patience than you ever intended. They won’t move one single inch—not even to scratch their nose
• They start to get better at improvising solutions on the spot. If they are writing on paper and make a mistake, they might just turn the paper over.
Early Elementary Milestone 9—Deep Compassion and Responsibility
Starts: Between 5.11.1 and 5.11.2
Most Intense: Towards the beginning
Irritable Period Summary
Nightmares and Fears
• Nightmares, worried about getting nightmares at night
• Completely distraught over the thought that they might die
• Extremely upset if they find out someone dies, including a character in a movie
Wants Things to Go Well and Be Fair
• Very, very concerned that others are treated fairly. For instance, they may become upset if someone else, such as their baby brother, misses a turn when playing a game
• They may be concerned about death, and of others, especially the elderly
• A very heightened sense of responsibility
• May become exasperated if things don’t seem to be going well, such as if they forgot their coat somewhere or they think they’ll be late
• I put forward a hypothesis that they “see” emotions on people’s faces much more clearly. They utterly hate to see disappointment on someone’s face, especially a vulnerable person, such as a young child or an elderly person
• More playfully aggressive in how they interact with others (might poke their siblings or the like)
• Might “harass” you such as repeatedly hitting your butt (a most potentially annoying behavior if in public!)
• Frustrated more easily and lays the blame at other’s feet
• Seems more agitated at times
• Needs long and meaningful hugs at times
New Abilities Summary
• Underneath all of the behaviors in the irritating period is a sense of deep compassion and responsibility. It is positive growth on its way
• Cleans up messes on their own initiative, maybe even out of concern for others, such as they don’t want others to trip
• Deep sense of compassion and responsibility towards others, may verbalize how they do not want to hurt people
• May say “thank you” a lot more
• Gives their sibling a hug and says they’ll miss them if they go on an overnight trip
• Super into hugging, carrying, and taking care of small children
• Reflective about their actions. If they trip, after they are settled, they thoughtfully say, “Next time, I should pay attention better.”
• If they are reading, they may take over an activity among other children, such as directing them in a scavenger hunt
Relates Bigger/Moral Ideas
• They can relate high level/moral ideas to each other
• When they learn that Julius Caesar said, “I came, I saw, I conquered,” they recall that their bookmark said, “I came, I saw, I mined,” which is a spoof for Minecraft
• When they learn that a “Commonwealth” is a democracy, they say, “Oh, that’s just like the Greeks!” who started democracy.
• When they learn about apple trees, they realize one can get apples for free in nature. They note that we have to buy an apple at the store and say, “So basically they are scamming us.”
• When they read history, as a girl, they ask, “Where are all the GIRLS!?” They aren’t wrong.
• They may have sophisticated ideas on death. They are both worried and not worried. Worried, because they won’t be living. Not worried, because you don’t feel pain in death.
• They can needle out the relevant parts of a more complex problem to declare what they want to do with one and not the other. They know their birthday is coming up on X date. But they want it to be surprise. So, while they know their birthday is September 29, don’t tell them what date TODAY is. That way the birthday springs on them as a surprise.
• They show marked maturity. They might say, “When we’re adults, I don’t want to argue with my sister. That’s why when she hurts me, I don’t hurt her back, because I don’t want to fight.” This is again understanding two sets of times, now and the future, and how they want one to go.
Willful Control Over Their Thoughts
• They are capable of “pushing away” their memories if they don’t want to have something in their mind. Indeed, such as if you accidentally told them the date today, and they don’t want to know
• This willful control over their thoughts seems big to me
Can Answer Open-Ended Questions
• They can answer a question like “name an ocean that is not the largest ocean”
• They might like riddles such as “if tomorrow is Friday, what day is today?”
• They may love riddles and logic puzzles. An example might be, “If the green car did not finish last, the blue car finished after the green car, and the red car finished before the blue car, what order did they finish?”
• Can do open-ended problems better such as “make an animal shape out of these tangrams”
Identifies Game Strategies
• Potentially great and rather aggressive strategy when playing board games.
• They can easily see several moves ahead of their current move.
• They hold on to several competing requirement. They know, for instance, that they have to protect their piece while playing checkers, and at the same time advance their own piece
• They might tell you, “I see the strategy you are using,” as they play Connect Four against you
• They’ll actively disrupt the strategy you are using
• Might come up with a deal about what happens when someone wins/loses. They get your X if you win. You get their Y. It’s a bit of a shyster deal.
• They do more traditionally academic things and even like to use a pen/pencil more to work on problems
• Shows an interest in drawing well, such as drawing a cat.
• They may like doing more formal grammar lessons, where you find the noun in a sentence, correct a sentence, add the right punctuation mark, or pick the right word for a sentence. It can be like a mystery or a puzzle to them.
• Can be given a problem such as “How many days of the week have 6 letters in them?” On their own, they can work through it in a speedy fashion
• They might ask about facts and figures like, “When did the Greek civilization end?”
• They may go and get a book by themselves and read it out loud
• Can answer if something should be measured as length, width, or volume
• Can do much more complicated problems, such as 55 + 56 = 111. Before they could do 50+50 but now they deal with the details of the one digits better. Also, they can do it in their head.
Six Year Old Milestone 1—Conservation
Starts: 6.0.1 +/- a few days
Most intense: It goes from a “bit” bad to really bad a few (2-4) days in.
Ends: 6.0.2. or a little after. It’s a short irritable period but it feels long.
Note the next milestone may start congruently with this one. You may read ahead a bit, especially for girls.
Irritable Period Summary
Hates to Lose or Do Something Wrong
• Might be mostly composed—until something goes wrong. Then they are distraught
• My husband described this well, “they are on the edge, stable—until they are not.”
• Loses control of their emotions such as if they lose a game
• If they can’t put together a Lego set, it’s “the worst day of their life”
• If they make a mistake, they are wildly upset. For instance, if they accidentally draw something upside down.
• Very upset if you shake the table while they are drawing
• May hate to have their hair brushed. They seem more sensitive and touchy.
May Get Aggressive or Whiny/Sensitive
• How they handle their hatred of losing depends on the child. Some might get aggressive, others whiny—yet others might handle it well
• May get mean all of a sudden
• May be meltdown-y
• May harass siblings and won’t stop even if asked (loss of impulse control)
• Either way, there is a decent chance you are getting pretty annoyed right now
• They have trouble focusing on specific tasks
• If you point to something, say a duck on the side of the road, they can’t seem to focus enough to find it, even though it’s right there. And, if they can’t find it before you leave, a meltdown ensues
• Won’t focus on or do schoolwork
• Makes a lot of absent-minded mistakes. Indeed, like accidentally drawing people upside down.
• May not realize that a place they are jumping is slippery, such as there are papers on a table that they are leaning on, and they fall over more easily
• Stays up late
• Won’t let you leave at bedtime
• At night, wants to build or do things or wants to talk to you
• Brings blanket or lovey around
New Abilities Summary
• Develops the cognitive function of “conservation.” They understand that matter stays the same regardless of the container it is in
• To see if they have this ability, take water and put an equal amount in identical cups. Get their agreement that both cups have the same amount of water. Then pour one of the cups into a wide, clear bowl. Ask which has more water: the cup, the bowl, or are they the same? They may get the answer correct now: the cup and the bowl still have equal amounts of water
• Or, put three coins or disks in a row. Then repeat that row again, placing the coins exactly underneath the first row. Ask how many are in each row (three). Ask: does row 1 have more coins, row 2, or are they the same? They are the same. Now spread the coins in row 2 far apart. Ask the same question: does row 1 have more coins, row 2, or are they the same? They may answer correctly: they are still the same.
• When I did these experiments with my older children, both at first went to say the more intuitive answer. For instance, that wide bowl had more water and that the row with the spread out coins had more coins. But they both stopped themselves mid-thought before answering and then answered correctly.
• It was as if their rational brain grew “bigger” as to “rein in” the intuitive mind when the intuitive mind got too magical.
• That they also developed “willful control over their thoughts,” as described in the previous milestone, seems relevant to me in this new skill of conservation.
• This is also a child who just spent an entire year practicing with lies and tricks. Now—you can’t trick them! These experiments are a bit of a “trick.” And they don’t fall for it. Their mind is more formidable now.
Deception versus Rationality
• Other spontaneous things that seem related to this new “conservation” skill in which they realize things are not what they appear:
• Interested in sizes of things, e.g., can they fit into a tiny space of some kind.
• They are also interested in your perception of this: how do you perceive how things fit in each other? Can you still see them, even though they’ve attempted to fit themselves inside a pillowcase (and half of their body is sticking out)?
• They might ask you other questions about deception. What do you think of a food advertiser that uses fake food to sell their product, making you think it is real and better than it is, when it is fake?
• They also might accuse you of lying, just to, say, flatter them. If they sing a song and they don’t think they did well and you tell them it’s beautiful, they might say, “You’re just being nice.”
• Some very specific math skills seem to develop now, and seem related to this skill of conservation
• In the United States, the President wins an election by having the most electoral votes. Each state is allotted X votes. Now they can understand that even if a President won most states, it doesn’t mean he won. The other states may have added to more “points.”
• Can understand the idea that if you are driving in the van and you throw something at another person, it hits the other person. This is even though the van is moving. It’s relative velocity.
• Understands ratios, e.g., if you have 1 apple to 2 oranges, what is the same ratio for 2 apple to oranges?
• Or if you have a timeline of events that are captured in one book and it’s a long timeline, it must be a long book. If it’s a short timeline, it must be a small book. It’s the same ability to project ratios. (WHEN they see that the book with the short timeline captures many more events in that timeline, they may understand that, too.)
• Can understand and use negative numbers in addition and subtraction games
• Can solve a problem by thinking through it, such as finding what number added to -932,146 will make 6 (no joke—they can do this)
Confident in Their Brain and Aggressive in Learning
• May be very confident in their mind’s ability. “I learn math all by myself!” they tell you.
• May talk about their brain, e.g., it is “interconnected”
• May tell you their brain “isn’t full yet.” They have 13,000 things left. There’s room for their brain to grow.
• They may argue about what can do what. They learn rats can chew through power cables and they insist this can’t be true. Their frame of reference is their own teeth. In short, they feel quite smart and quite confident in what they can size up.
• They are much more independent and aggressive in learning on their own. I wrote about my son, “It feels like I’m talking to a young engineer that I am mentoring. I can explain something to him, and he goes off and does it.”
• You might print out a sheet of music for them, which is on the dining room table, under many papers. You can’t help them right now, but they rummage under all the papers to find it. So they can learn the new song.
Longer and More Persistent Memory
• They can size up things that happened over an entire year’s time. If you’ve been reading a book for a while, they might say, “It took us about a year to read this.” And they are about right. Their long long-term memory is forming.
• They more reliably remember the lessons they did the day prior. Not just the lesson of the lesson but doing the actual lesson itself. But indeed also including what they learned. What did they read yesterday? Oh, yes, how monks lived in monastaries.
• They may even ask to go over the lesson from the day prior, such as if you are learning a new song for a play and they want to look at the lyrics again. They ask spontaneously, without you inquiring.
• Before this, before 5.10 anyway, they don’t remember things like this. They likely don’t remember many of the stories you read. It is now much more persistent that they remember the academic things they do day after day.
• Though they may surprise you by remembering a story they read only once nearly 2 years ago, such as how “Secret Garden” is like the garden they are in now.
Specific and Exact in Their Large Knowledge Sets
• Strong interest in identifying animals and grouping them in the animal kingdom
• Very specific in their knowledge. That’s not a cardinal. It’s a NORTHERN cardinal.
Highly Creative and Detailed Open-Ended Projects
• Can do creative open ended logical patterns, such as making organized and neat shapes out of perl beads
• Makes up a highly creative story. They are the last man to survive the potato famine. They hand carved a boat out of wood and escaped.
Six Year Old Milestone 2—“Masculine” Hormone Surge
Starts: Between 6.0.2 and 6.1.0
Most Intense: 6.1.0 to 6.1.1 (still tbd)
Irritable Period Summary
• This one is very distinctly marked by a child that cannot fall asleep at night
• Wants to stay up late
• May refuse to sit down and do any kind of “homework”
• Clear increase in testosterone for both boys and girls.
• Boys and girls may show more interest in genitals
• May notice boys becoming faster at athletics
• Girls also become a bit stronger and more active
• May have a healthy outlet for this newfound athletic skill. They may go outside and swing every day
• Can’t/won’t concentrate, up late at night
New Abilities Summary
Sex Hormone Surge
• Both boys and girls show an increase in their more “masculine” side
• More “masculine” things such as an interest in success, e.g., “We’re gonna be RICH, baby!”
• More adventurous: may try new foods
• More confident, less robotic, less confused.
• May be more into physical touch, such as freely giving out hugs to many people
• Very sweet and nice, may actively help or serve siblings
• For boys, much stronger at athletic things
• Girls may also show an increase in their more masculine side.
• Your daughter may announce she is a “bully!” This is because she is beating people handily at a game, disrupting their wins and strategies. She is playing perfectly fair in the game and excited about her wins. I see it as the masculine ego forming. It is healthy. She is otherwise a perfectly sweet girl.
• Although “sex hormones” are typically associated with boys being tougher and stronger, the sex hormone surge in girls is not without strength. When a model struts down a runway, she is not without strength. You may see more of this kind of vitality in your girl. Though, she may be timid about it at first.
• Girls may start talking more about “flirting” and going on “dates”
More Pointed, Even Ruthless, in How They Solve Creative, Theoretical Problems
• There is a marked increase in strategic thinking. It is indeed more “masculine.”
• If you are being attacked by pirates, you should aim your cannon right at their mast. This will give a devastating blow. Your daughter came up with this.
• Thinks through a complicated problem or process such as “If robbers attacked us, I would hide the baby first, because the baby can’t defend themselves”
• Can make up complex story after story, such as the last man to survive at the end of the world
• Can understand and think through a process presented to them just then, i.e., the process of how to melt chocolate, “Oh of course, you put it in the mold, melt it, and freeze it”
Focused on Learning
• Focused again on schoolwork, may want to even be the master at X thing, such punctuating a sentence correctly
• May love to read through information you give them, such as a field guide of birds in your area or a worksheet on how to use apostrophes
• Explosion in independent reading—reads book on their own (about the length of The Three Little Pigs or Dr. Seuss) and retains what is in the book
• Continued strong interest in studying topics, such as about fighter jets or plants
• “I don’t know why plants have leaves” really means, “Why do plants have leaves?”
• Can handle both smaller and larger things academically:
• Can understand the idea of atoms (“the smallest things in the world!”)
• Can understand and gets excited for the idea of black holes
Uses Math to Size up What They are Doing
• As they make an art project, they might tell you there are x pegs to make up their perl bead creation or they are x percent done. It results in much more deliberate creations.
• They think of worldly issues, and they can bring some amount of math or technicality to it.
• Understands probability such as., “There is somebody in the world who has a birthday today”
Wants to Write Their Thoughts Down
• They want to write their thoughts or feelings down
• They might want a little book to write down “their 999 ideas.”
• Or they ask for a diary
• They want you to participate as they write things down. Maybe you both collaboratively make up a story. They start, “A man on a motorcycle says to a man on an airplane, ‘You’re late.’”
• Or maybe they want to share their secret in their diary with you.
• Some time around 6.1.2 to 6.1.3 you can expect a huge giggle fits, if given the opportunity
• Maybe over a book in which a character, “goes up to that big guy and punches him in the eye! Pow!”
• Or you tell them you want them to face you when you read to them, because you “don’t like reading to a butt.”
But Can Also Get Overwhelmingly Sad
• Moved by and may get emotional about historic stories, such as Rosa Parks (“WHY DID THEY CALL THE POLICE!?”)
• Fully understands weighty moral issues such as dropping an atomic bomb. However, doesn’t understand the need to make such an awful decision (“why can’t they just surrender?”)
Six Year Old Milestone 3—Free Thinker and Creative Design
Most Intense: 6.2.3
Irritable Period Summary
Tries New Things
• They might be silly or quirky on purpose like trying to write or read backwards or wear their hat backwards
• In doing a new thing, say they try to draw something new, they might be hard on themselves if they don’t get it right.
• They might seem sullen and disconnected from you.
• They might tear up easier. They may even say, “You ask me for a reason why I’m crying. But I don’t have one! It just makes me feel better!”
• More intuitive things hit them emotionally. A grown man, such as The Phantom of the Opera, so broken and upset by life events that he starts talking to his childhood toy of a monkey, may hit them on an emotional, incommunicable level.
• Try to resist the urge to ask them why they are sad. Try to understand it intuitively and help them wordlessly
New Abilities Summary
• Develops their own worldview, e.g., may tell you their thoughts on God or religion
• They may be highly perceptive about people and politics. They may note that a King demanding a Princess marry him is “Forcing it. It’s like he’s trying to crush Play Doh and make it happen. It’s wrong.”
• Identifies the background, unspoken meaning of social behaviors better. They might tell you or someone else, “Your idea is a myth!” They take the bigger picture in. They don’t take things at face value.
• Strong desire to create art in high detail, such as a perl bead of the earth’s 3 layers
• Makes up realistic designs to solve big problems, like a fish that can change colors and develops a nose to split atoms, etc. etc.
• Tell a story with drama, such as setting up the plot then revealing the answer by saying, “Wait for it … “
• A strong desire to be amazing at something, such as “Really smart at math!!!!”
Early Elementary Milestone 13—Patterns in Patterns
Starts: 6 years, 3 months, 1-2 weeks
Most Intense: 6 years, 3 months, 2 weeks
Irritable Period Summary
• Gets back out of bed or stays up late
• Goes back to favorite activity from younger years, such as playing with a certain toy
• Becomes clumsy
• Easily hurt and sensitive
New Abilities Summary
• Sees patterns in patterns, such as it takes three of the number 40 to make 120 and 4 of the number 30 to make 120 and 3 X 40 is similar to 4 X 30
• Extremely helpful, may help out with chores for a young child like buckling them into a carseat or enthusiastically help clean up
• Extremely considerate, such as deliberately moving out of someone’s way so they can pass
• Notices the flaws in their parents and confronts them about it, such as if a parent picks their nails or is late or messes up a schedule
• Very deliberate in deciding how to dress, such as putting on a collared shirt on purpose to go somewhere nice or putting on a unique shirt (maybe bright green) when going somewhere in order to be noticed and well received
• Can make up a new word when they don’t know a word to describe what they mean e.g. “equalism”
• Makes up a very detailed story with numbers such as a pilot crashed and X survived, etc.
• Can do something detailed and that takes persistence, like make an origami frog
Early Elementary Milestone 14—Tremendous Initiative and Follow Through
Starts: 6 years, 4 months, 3 weeks
Most intense: 6 years, 5 months, 2 weeks and may get worse until 6 years, 6 months, 3 weeks at least
Ends: 6 years 7 months, 1 week
• Slightly Aggressive
• Brings lovey or blanket around
• As it continues, gets much more aggressive
• Seems to take conflict/”justice” into their own hand and may punch or hit other children who “deserve” it
• Threatens others, “Do this or I’m going to punch you”
• As if they have no control over it, randomly pushes, slaps, or similar to other people especially other children, almost like it’s an involuntary “tick”
• The fights may get extremely overwhelming / beyond what you are used to handling
• Compulsively interested in things, such as a microphone which they were introduced to for the first time and will NOT stop playing with it
• May stomp off to their room after a conflict
• Becomes really quiet and seems to be deep in thought
• Loves to hide, say while on a walk
• Purposely defiant, such as you ask them to draw a happy face and they draw a sad face or asking them to practice lines from a play loudly and they purposely mumble
• This one is quite simply marked by a child who cannot back off
Most Intense Period
The beginning of it is marked by a child whose wheels are clearly spinning. The most intense period marks when the aggressive behavior starts to get bad and which gets increasingly worse.
New Abilities Period
• Marked by a child who takes on bigger projects and follows through with challenges
• Passionate about their favorite intellectual or creative activity, such as solving math problems
• Highly specific in creating something, such as cars lined up in a race in a sort of pretend movie
• Takes great initiative in their own education, may ask to do a complicated new skill like learn how to code or sets up their own drawing station
• Very clever at solving complicated problems. Shows tremendous endurance in working through complicated problems.
• Very ambitious like “Can I read ONE HUNDRED books!?” May love sticker charts which show their accomplishment, such as how many books they’ve read
• Likes to pleasure read
• May read books about the level of Golden books or start to read a full chapter in a chapter book
• Announces they like to be alone
• Very reliably does what is asked of them, like put their coat away
• Narrates everything, such as the details about how to get a bike started
• Can solve problems like 18+18 in their mind by reasoning it out such as “18 + 18 is just like 20+16 and that’s 36.”
• Loves, loves, loves math games and other games
• Reliably commits to solving difficult problems, fight through the problem until they get the right answer
• Drops jokes or rhymes at appropriate times. Like you mention Christmas they say, “Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas means a little bit more.”
• Takes a much bigger interest in writing. May start to write their own books, write their first paragraph, spontaneously start writing down “big words” in a dictionary that they make, and can handily do lessons about capitalization and punctuation
• Likes to play like they are an adult, such as reading road signs (at all times reading and saying what the sign says to help you drive) or finding their way around a grocery store
• Announces they “can’t stand” how cute little children are or they may want to sink their teeth into them as they are so cute
• Loves to snuggle and be with you.
• May be self reflective that when they are nice to other children, they have a better time.
• Walks around with a bee bop or a swagger or like they are “the man.” A child who simply loves to be alive.
• Very aware of what their memory is capable of. They might announce, “I solved that math problem because I had it in my memory!” Oppositely, they might say, “My memory is so bad. I am having trouble remembering things that I used to know!”
• Very adult like sense of humor. They might say “I thought you’d never ask!” Or “Are you KIDDIN me!?” Or their sister asks for a Princess movie when they like Star Wars and they say, “Well you’re in luck because Star Wars has Princess Leigh.”
Early Elementary Milestone 15—Adult-Like Responsibility, Humor, and Pride
Starts: 6 years, 9 months
Most intense: 6 years, 9 months, 3 weeks
• Out of sorts
• Distracted easily
• Recognizes they get distracted easily like “It’s so hard for me to not get my tablet out even though I know I shouldn’t.”
• Easily “bored”
• Slumps over because they just “don’t wanna”
• Sleeps in unusually late (10 am or later)
• Very sensitive and shy about private matters. If they get hurt or hit or don’t know something, they don’t want their friends to know and ask you to keep it a secret
• More easily hurt over simple things. They may get upset over something slight say at sports practice or not even want to go to practice
• Become momentarily confused. You might be in a store and they wander off and you call their name and they look all around and can’t find you or your voice even though you are right there. Or, they might not be able to tell which picture is of them in a black and white photo. Just sort of momentarily scatter brained often.
• Their face and head seem to get longer/elongate in the vertical direction
Most Intense Period
The most intense period is not marked by aggressive behavior but by a child whose mind is clearly going a mile a minute and just wants you a lot or does things like stay up late to talk
New Abilities Summary
• The strong responsibility and follow through seen in the last milestone is seen in this one but it’s more refined in execution
• Write sentences and very concerned to get everything in the sentence correct
• Handily takes on very complex math problems like “Something times 3 makes 51. What is it?” And throws themselves into it
• Very, very funny and adult like sense of humor such as, “I’ve seen a lot of things in my life in my 6 years!”
• Intently reads books as to extract information, such as a book on survival in the woods
• Take overs certain situations such as grocery shopping: gets the cart, the stuff, puts it on the conveyor belt. You get the impression they might be able to live on their own now.
Early Elementary Milestone 16—Socially Sensitive and Perceptive
Starts: 6 years, 11 months, 1 week
Most intense: 7 years
Ends: 7 years, a few days
• Incredibly daring. Wants to do BIG and dangerous things, like canoeing. Might do something highly risky like all of a sudden jump into a lake
• Very socially sensitive. May get all of a sudden shy to enter a room with a lot of people
• Understands the social implications not just of words but of actions, e.g., may tear up if they find out someone threw something of theirs away, saying, “We found my drawing in the GARBAGE CAN.”
• Totally zones out at times, like you can say something 800 times and it doesn’t get through
• Loves having attention on them. Like you suggest getting a pet and someone has to feed it and they go “Oh man! Why is everyone looking at me!?” Games like duck, duck goose feel deeply satisfying to them at this age, where THEY are picked as the “goose”
New Abilities Period
• Very capable of doing something more socially independent, where you give enough patience, time, and guidance to make it happen. Like, with clear instructions, they go to a drinking fountain station in a crowded restaurant and get you some more water
• Very self aware of the activities they are doing. Like “Hey dad. Come work on this drawing with me. Let’s add more detail.” Or they say something like, “I like mystery stories. They help train my brain.” Or they slyly tell you, as if it’s a scandal, “Last night I read a book in my bed!” Or they matter of factly tell you what they are scared of and what gives them nightmares. It’s as if they can get outside of their body and look in at what they are doing and they are evaluating it.
• Understands the viewpoint of others on an intellectual level. Like “Ok, mom. I have a theory. It’s JUST a theory.” Like, “Hey mom. I have this idea. It’s just an idea. I know others might disagree.” Or similarly says something like, “Ok, I’ll do something if it seems important to you.” If it SEEMS important. To you.
• Can be very daring socially, such as inserting a joke somewhere that changes the course of the topic/mood of what is going on
• Contemplates life from a perspective of what is going on outside versus who they are internally. They might say something like, “I finally feel like I’m seven.” Or perhaps says something like “I feel good. But that may be bad.”
• Is clearly deep in thought at times. Might sometimes shake their head, with the wisdom of a seasoned expert, “I hate [that restaurant/that thing].”
• Capable of more independent school work. They can use for instance an Almanac and handily find things based on the Table of Contents, look up answers in the back of the book, understand what is being asked of them on each page, etc.
• Constantly thinking in terms of proportions. Like, “I think I got three times taller since last year” or “A rocket could go around the world in one day and get to Atlanta in 4 seconds.” The details might be wrong but the sense of scale is right.
• Capable of unit conversions. Such as, if there are one million raindrops per second, how many are there per minute?
• Takes initiative to do something like make a Mother’s Day gift for you
• Amazed at “how big” their brain is and how much stuff they have in it
• Starts to memorize many nuanced facts like, “I read in Chapter 11 of Volume III of my favorite book that … “