Wondering why your 5 year old keeps pulling pranks? Why your 6 year old 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. An Age Calculator appears underneath the quick links.
This Five Year Old Milestones were last updated on January 6, 2022.
The Six Year Old Milestones were last updated on August 6, 2023.
Five Year Old Milestone 2A: 5.0.3
Five Year Old Milestone 2B: 5.1.2
Five Year Old Milestone 3A: 5.2.2
Five Year Old Milestone 3B: 5.2.4
Five Year Old Milestone 4A: 5.3.2
Five Year Old Milestone 4B: 5.4.2
Five Year Old Milestone 5: 5.5.1
Five Year Old Milestone 6A: 5.6.0
Five Year Old Milestone 6B: 5.6.2
Five Year Olds Milestone 7A: 5.8.0
Five Year Old Milestone 7B: 5.9.0
Five Year Old Milestone 8: 5.9.3
Five Year Old Milestone 9: 5.10.1
Five Year Old Milestone 10: 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
Six Year Old Milestone 4: 6.3.1
Six Year Old Milestone 5: 6.4.2
Six Year Old Milestone 6: 6.5.2
Six Year Old Milestone 7: 6.6.1
Six Year Old Milestone 8: 6.7.2
Six Year Old Milestone 9: 6.9.1
Six Year Old Milestone 10: 6.11.0
Notes on the Work
The Five Year Old Milestones were finalized added to The Observant Mom app. You can find The Observant Mom app on Google Play or The App Store. I wrote up my analysis of five year olds, with some overarching parenting advice and educational activity ideas here, The Misbehavior and Growth of Five Year Olds.
The Six year Old Milestones are otherwise still a work in progress.
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:
Five Year Old Milestone 1 (5.0.1+-5.0.2)—Theoretical Application
Starts: A few days before 5.0.2
Most Intense: 5.0.2—and, yes, it’s intense.
Irritable Period Summary
• At first, they are just a bit demanding and might ask to be with you.
Taunts and is intrigued by other children
• They might take something from another child on purpose, entirely so they will chase them. If you ask them about it, they say, “Because I want to have fun with them!”
• They can also be intensely intrigued by other children. “What are you making?” they ask their classmate, as they do arts and crafts.
Wants things now, bossy
• They might get upset that adults aren’t getting their snacks fast enough, didn’t get the exact snack they want, etc.
• Or, if you don’t get them what they want, they go ask Daddy (or grandma, etc.)
• Very bossy and defiant overall. Won’t take a bath, won’t go to bed. They might yell, “I SAID NO” a lot.
• This milestone can be extremely intense at certain moments. It is marked by a child who becomes supremely bossy in getting others to do what they want, to the point of aggression.
• To get a child to slide down a slide, they might go over and stomp on their hand.
• They might make a huge scene at a restaurant because they want their sister to go sit in your vehicle all through dinner.
• In all this aggressive behavior, they might say something like, “Five year olds don’t know right from wrong.”
• Or, “I don’t know how to get kids to play with me.”
• Or their behavior clearly indicates, “I want to make sure I have an exact seat at the restaurant, but I don’t know how to communicate that.”
• The confusion they express is genuine. They genuinely are trying to figure out how to play nice, gain cooperation, and get their simple needs satisfied. They are just very bad at it at first! Lots of instruction, education, and patience will help.
New Abilities Summary
• This is a pretty clear Gathering and Sorting Stage of a hill, what some might call a Learning or “Why?” stage. It’s marked by confusion, testing, learning, and a child who can’t back off. At this stage, they learn just to learn, ponder just to ponder, investigate just to investigate.
• Theoretical application: they have ideas, rules, or knowledge in their head that they can apply correctly at the right time and place.
• They have been taught things and can hold onto the information mentally. Now they can hold on to that information and apply it correctly, later.
• You showed them how to stab a potato with a straw more efficiently by plugging one end of the straw with your finger. They use this later when they put a straw in a juice pouch. They even thank you for teaching them how to do it.
• They can play a game with many more moving parts better, based on the rules. In baseball, for instance, if the ball goes in a place that is not their designated area to get it, they show restraint and don’t go get it.
• If you point out that doing what other children want to do might get other children to play with them, they apply it. When they see that children are jumping for fun, they say, “Oh! I could go jump with them then!”
• They might say something like, “Oh, I wasn’t expecting that!” a lot. Because they know, in theory, what to expect—and what happened was different.
• When they had the meltdown at the restaurant, it legit was because they knew they were going and wanted a particular seat. In other words, they had an idea in their mind and wanted to make sure it got applied. It was their new skill forming, just going poorly at first.
Their ideas are made a reality in their pretend play
• They are more committed to their projects and have clearer ideas about them. If painting a pumpkin, they commit to making it all yellow, “so it’s as bright as the sun!” In other words, they had an idea and made it reality.
• They might recreate a movie scene in their pretend play, such as tying up Lightning McQueen, as he is in a scene in Cars.
• If a creation of theirs gets destroyed, they might be upset about it, but they otherwise calmly recreate it. They remember what it looked like and can recreate it quickly, i.e., the mental picture of it is in their mind and they can use it to recreate it later. They even tell you they are likely the only one who remembers how it was.
Ponders just to ponder
• They like to ponder about things, just to ponder about them. They might wonder what 2 + 2 + 2 is.
• Or they ask another child what they are doing.
• Putting any idea in their head at all will make them just think and think about it. Indeed, if you point out some simple addition, they’ll run with it.
• Or if you show them how a certain toy works, they again run with it.
• The wheels are turning!
• They are chummier with other children.
• They might help other children put on their shoes.
• They are interested in other children.
• They love to play games with other children.
• As noted in the Irritable Period, they even taunted other children and expressed their frustration in not knowing how to get other children to play with them.
An increased realism in their thinking and play
• There is a marked increase in how realistically they size up the world.
• They tell you, as if it’s rather novel, that a bear is ACTUALLY the size of a bear.
• They note sometimes that things are “realistic!”
• They add very exactly with their fingers, 3 + 4 = 7.
• They can be found sizing things up, perhaps how a clock works.
• They openly wonder how grocery stores get stocked with food.
• They size up the world with numbers, even if they are off. They have “2086 popcorn.”
• The art they create becomes neater and more realistic. Rainbows have nice, neat color bands, etc.
• This realism is a Clarity Stage. After the Learning or “Why?” Stage, where they show confusion but a genuine desire to learn, they gain well-earned Clarity. It moves quickly into a Creative Stage (the next milestone.)
Surviving and Thriving
The Misbehavior and Growth of Five Year Olds
Five Year Old Milestone 2A (5.0.3-5.1.1) — Swag and Stunning Solutions
Most Intense: 5.1.0 to 5.1.1
Irritable Period Summary
• This milestone starts with noticeably possessive behavior. They have a strong propensity to feel like something is being “taken away” from them, even though that thing seems like it shouldn’t be terribly important to them.
• They pick out a picture frame at the store. You take the stock photo out to put a new photo in. They are very upset you took the stock photo out. It’s the beautiful photo that they wanted. They are reasonable, however, about simply putting the photo back in.
• They might hate to think that your love/attention is elsewhere. If you notice another girl has “really pretty hair,” they get upset, wondering if you think she has prettier hair than they do. What they want here is your admiration; they are possessive of it. But, again, they are pretty reasonable when you explain more than one girl can have pretty hair.
• They might get possessive over any game where you are trying to capture or get something. For instance, in “Pass the Parcel,” you keep passing a gift until the music stops, at which point you unwrap one layer. They might get bossy, even manipulating the rules, to make sure they get it.
Upset easily, stays upset, demanding, cannot tolerate frustration
• You packed the entirely wrong snack for their day out. They wanted [x] snack not [y]. They don’t have [x], and they are very, very upset by this.
• They might get wildly upset, perhaps because they can’t do a puzzle.
Sleep and other issues
• Between this and the next milestone, the demanding, intense behavior can last a while (a few weeks). It might be mild or intense for any given child, but it’s a couple weeks’ worth of whatever it is.
• They stay up late, and they do it night after night. They do not seem tired in the least.
• It might be nearly impossible to get them to go to bed.
• They want to talk, well into the night.
• They might get out an old lovey again (such as a favorite blanket or stuffed animal) to bring them comfort.
• That they can be so demanding for food might suggest physical growth.
Inserts themselves into what others are doing
• For several weeks, something is definitely “up.” It seems to be marked largely by a desire to be in other people’s, especially other children’s, business. The exact behavior will vary by child, ranging from mild to intense.
• They might chase children around to kiss them or play with them.
• They easily make friends at the playground.
• They might want to sit by you a lot.
• They might be in your face a lot, sending you into an exasperated state.
• They might get deeply upset if they ask someone, say a teacher, for a hug, and the teacher says no. They can get and stay upset for a long time now, well into the night.
• Demanding of more and more things. Takes your stuff especially, such as your phone.
Practical joke playing
• They play jokes on others, in which they purposely say something is something it’s not.
• They hand their sister an empty snack bag and tell them it’s for them.
• They might take their sister’s shoe and hide it in the bathroom.
• It’s just kind of long, whatever it is, and it extends into the next milestone. This is why these milestones are split up into 2A/2B.
New Abilities Summary
• They have a much stronger “vibe” to their personality.
• They have been growing in their theoretical thinking and now there is more if/then logic to it. They, as such, come up with some new, stunning solutions.
Has a stronger “vibe” to their rapidly growing personality
• They adopt a personality that has a strong, visceral vibe to it. It will be highly unique to your child.
• They might bop their head, with great precision, to the beat of a song.
• They might dress up as a princess, in a very sultry way.
• Or, every single time they see a pirate ship, they go put their pirate hat on. They also go to the grocery store as a “pirate.” It’s quite funny.
• A more “responsible and in-charge” child might take on the role of “empathetic decision maker” or “helpful big bro.” When their sister needs help, they run over to help her.
• They have a stronger propensity to yell things across the room, and with a bit of humor or swag. “Hey DAD! Do you know what 3 + 4 is!?”
• They might make up stories where they heroically kill monsters.
• They tend to slip into a “role” like this before they decide they are going to take over life a bit by learning more and doing more. Their biggest developments usually (ok, always) start with imagination and a bit of “swag.”
Awed by beauty/heroism/funny things
• They might like videos of epic heroic things, such as a navy going into the battle of their lives. Background music is a must.
• They might be enamored by all the pretty colors of Christmas, Halloween, and spring or perhaps the beauty of the sun setting.
• Some other children might find it uproariously hilarious to “poke brains out!”
Longer attention span
• They have a longer attention span as they engage the world. They can stay with challenges with more complicated challenges for a longer amount of time.
• They can play a game that takes 45 minutes now, such as Chinese Checkers.
• They might try their hand at a jigsaw puzzle with 300 pieces, making impressive progress.
• They can play a game like Flag Frenzy. In this, there are cards with 8 flags on each. One flag will always match another flag on another card. They love this game and are good at it.
• They can impressively stay in character for a longer time. They can stay in character for a Halloween costume of “zombie” all of Halloween night, for instance.
• They can also wait more patiently. If they want to show their dad something, they can wait and in fact, within a reasonable amount of time, they won’t do anything else until they see their dad.
• If they ask to do something, you can ask them to wait a bit, and they understand and wait patiently.
Stunning, new solutions with if/then logic
• Before they applied solutions as were taught to them. Now they put a little bit of their own thought into them. Their solutions have if/then logic to them. They can also now discuss their ideas.
• They legitimately think about what they are doing. Why do they have to keep wiping 5 times, as you previously suggested? If they are clean, they can stop wiping.
• They think of the problems at hand and what is needed to make it work. You might get a dog, but first we really should put in a fence.
• They might ask for an allowance. They might want to buy something they saw somewhere, and they want to save up for it. They can plan like this into the future a bit.
• They can stunningly come up with their own solutions to problems that you would have never thought of. For instance, when doing an experiment, to make a cup more rigid, they suggest putting two cups together, nestled.
• Or they might think about how colors go together, like pale colors for spring season and oranges and blacks for Halloween. They mix and match them to their delight in their wardrobe and coloring. They perhaps match a pretty black coat to pretty pink ballet shoes.
• Their drawings show more creativity and duality, such as they draw both day and night.
• A pop of pink shows up in unexpected places in the things they draw or make.
• You can leverage this new desire to try new solutions when they are upset. Show them that when one thing doesn’t work, they can try something else.
Plug and play solutions
• They can apply the essence of one solution to another situation. You can think of it like an algebraic equation such as y = 2x. They can try out a different “x” when they see the pattern applies.
• For instance, you do an activity with them where you shoot marshmallows out of a tube, as a sort of sling shot. They come up with the idea to have a “trampoline shooter.” To shoot themselves. Off a trampoline.
• They know they are about to dress up in a costume for Halloween. They have the idea to dress up their toys for Halloween.
• They substitute words. They might say “Oh my … goodness!” They know “Oh my God!” is sort of taboo, and so they purposely emphasize the “goodness.”
• Or they say, rather hilariously, “What the flip is happening?” They are purposely putting in “flip.”
• They might similarly play around with words such as by changing the name of the store “Dollar General” to “Dollar Duck.”
• They enjoy lessons about words in general. You might do some of the Montessori grammar commands with them. For instance, put objects in a pile. These are “nouns.” Then perform some actions, such as kick your leg. These are “verbs.” (Or, as I prefer, these are indeed “objects” versus “actions.”)
• This new “plug and play” playful behavior might be why they play practical jokes, giving their brother an empty snack bag and saying it’s full.
Proactive and independent
• They are proactive and independent. They might go get all the stuff they need to paint, which is notably responsible and proactive.
• Or they run over and help their sister when she is struggling with putting on her shoes.
• On their own, they try to help their baby brother stand up.
• You are at an abandoned outdoor theater and their older siblings are putting on plays. They tell you to sit down and watch, because they are putting on a play, too.
• The impressive part here is that they’ve never done these things before and yet they do them, on their own initiative.
• Perhaps the willingness to apply new solutions makes them more independent and responsible.
Notices relationships in numbers
• They like to notice relationships in numbers. They notice how numbers relate to each other as you move up and down number scales.
• They might love to note how to get from 16 to 20 you move 4.
• Or they spontaneously notice that have 20 cookies and if they took away 1, you would have 19.
• They can stick with you if you write numbers out up to 100. They might even do it on their own, take turns writing with you, or perhaps just like to watch.
• They are very, very good at adding and subtracting. They can easily add numbers with a sum up to 20. They take pride that they do this “in their mind.”
Kind and considerate, wants things to be harmonious
• They are kind and considerate, in almost an exaggerated way. They apologize profusely when they take a long time to do something, giving a very detailed explanation as to what happened.
• They get others involved in problem solving. Their sister keeps eating food that’s left out. They suggest you keep this food up high, “but perhaps you should talk to daddy about it first.”
• They ask to go outside, “if that’s ok with you.”
• They compliment their sister for being so responsible, after she threw away a wrapper.
• They thank you for taking care of them.
• Another adorable thing is they might say they want to do things “as well.” Their siblings are getting a certain thing for dinner. They would like that thing “as well.” It’s just adorably matter-of-fact and polite.
• How they do things “as well” also shows how they compare solutions to each other. It also shows how their strong desire to merge with other children ends up teaching them new skills.
Negotiates and well
• Perhaps their ability to apply slightly amend solutions, their interest in numbers, and a desire to be harmonious helps them to negotiate—and well.
• When you ask them to do something, they negotiate back, by modifying it slightly. You tell them they can watch one more video. They tell you, “No! Three videos!”
• They push to get a bigger allowance.
• They might agree to do something, but at a particular time.
• They might even stick their hand out, “Deal?” after they make their offers.
Impressive self-awareness, including that they can be wrong
• They are aware of their talent. When asked to clean a room, they say, “Oh yeah! Oh yeah! Fixing things and cleaning up the toy room are MY KIND OF WORK!”
• They are also impressively aware that they can 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.”
• They actually enjoy when they are wrong. When they do something wrong, they roll it off their tongue, “I did that incorrrrrrrectly!”
• They, again, apologize profusely when they take a long time to do something. This also shows how they assume more responsibility for their potentially “wrong” behavior.
• That they realize they can be wrong is also a sort of “if/then” thinking. They are conscious that one thing could go this way or that, could be right or wrong.
• They are really noticing relationships between things and trying to get things right!
Surviving and Thriving
The Misbehavior and Growth of Five Year Olds
Five Year Old Milestone 2B (5.1.2-5.2.0)—Correlated Relationships
Most Intense: A few days around 5.1.3
Irritable Period Summary
Some possessiveness and bossiness
• They can be possessive and bossy.
• Sometimes just won’t back off. You might have to yank them off of their sibling.
• They might try to get kids to stop throwing rocks by throwing rocks at them.
• They need a LOT of stimulation right now. They get “so bored!”
Physical growth and sleep issues
• Around 5.1.4, they physically grow.
• They might come into your room at night, after having scary dreams.
New Abilities Summary
• They play around and figure out how two things correlate.
• They see how relationships change over some variable, such as how any variable [y] can change over variable [x].
• They continue to be yet more “romantic.” In other words, they might chase other children around, demanding to kiss them.
• This milestone starts with an impressive increase in long-term memory.
• They remember a place that they haven’t been to in a year, such as a special Christmas holiday show. When you go again this year, they say, “Oh! We’ve been here before!” This is pretty big. They don’t just remember it. They know they remembered now—back to a year.
Extracts information told to them just then
• Perhaps due to this memory increase, they impressively hold onto information presented to them just then.
• You can give them instructions about something, say where to find something on a map, which is part of a game they are playing. Later, they impressively play the game and do well—because they memorized the map.
• Similarly, they can be found reading a technical book and they aren’t just reading to read but reading to learn what the book is presenting.
• They can impressively follow along, listening to complex, abstract explanations, such as a technical problem a parent had at work.
• Their knowledge set increases. They go on and on with the impressive, detailed set of knowledge they have, perhaps of mechanical things, battleships, or insects.
• The most notable skill at this milestone is how they take it upon themselves to find relationships in things.
• You might hear them counting how many flags they see as you drive, “1, 2…3,” and then they announce, “I get it! You put flags at restaurants!” They made the connection: that’s where flags go—at restaurants. Given the data they have available to them, they’re not wrong.
• They notice that their bathroom is just like the bathroom at the vacation rental you were at (which you were at months ago).
• You notice how good they are getting good at, say, swimming. They boast, “That’s because I practice!” They thus noticed the relationship between practicing and getting better.
• They’ll see the relationship in words, e.g., “care less.”
• Or they might notice relationships on their own. “Boat pipe.” It’s like a pipe on a boat! (I don’t know where they heard “boat pipe” either.)
• They love activities where you compare words, such as “carefully” versus “carelessly.” For instance, stack a tower “carefully” and then do it “carelessly.”
• They apply this, as well. After you learn “careless,” they go over and unlock the door. It is now “lockless.” (This might be where “boat pipe” came from. They made it up.)
• They can also do some literal algebra. They can be told that a [square] plus a [square] equals 4 and both “squares” are the same, what are they? (The answer is 2.)
Can think of paradoxes, notices abnormalities
• They can think in terms of more complex paradoxes, such as, about Taco Bell, “Is it a taco made of bells or bells made of tacos”
• They notice that if they were upside down, others would see them as upside down.
• 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.” Because this is abnormal.
• They are noticing many relationships!
Investigates scales or things that slide
• They 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).
• They want to slide across the floor and see how far they go.
• They might actively ask to build a ramp, so they can roll things down it.
• Or they build two imaginary cars: one fast and one slow, and they move differently.
• They also might wonder about how things are measured over time. For instance, if a baby is one day old, does this make them 0 or 1 year old?
Thinks in terms of a scale
• Their requests and observations often go up a “scale.” For instance, they tell you they want more clothes, and they want 10 shorts, 11 pants, 12 rain jackets, 13 socks, and 14 underwear.
• They classify things based on how many things they have and in order. A certain type of boat has 0 boilers, another has 1, another 2, another has 3, and another has 4.
• Or they tell a story about how when they were 0, they were born. At 1, they were KIDNAPPED. At 2, their parents found them again.
• They might tell you that today is “Big and Small Day.” You celebrate the tiniest of things and the largest of things. Like lady bugs and elephants.
Notices how things change over a scale
• They notice how things change over a continuum: how [y] thing changes as you change [x].
• They might notice that as they move towards or away from a light source, their shadow gets bigger or smaller.
• Or they notice that the reflection of their head gets bigger or smaller as they move a spoon away from them.
• Or that their voice gets louder as they get closer to something
• Or that you appear smaller as they move away from you. They show you this, as they walk backwards from you. They are very excited about this discovery.
Understands and uses things that go up and down a scale
• As their understanding of scales solidifies, they become 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.”
• They can put their bodies in specific positions. When the gymnastics instructor asks them to put their arms at a 45-degree angle, they don’t put it at 44- or 46-degree angle. They put it at 45.
• A more analytical child can put things in a specific order, such as putting movable numbers in a line of all even and then all odd numbers. They might love to think about skip counting by even or odd numbers.
• They might literally love following along with a sheet of music, thus going up a scale!
• They might draw elaborate pictures that show gradient, such as a large ocean with the type of fish that would live on the very bottom, middle, and top. They fill the whole ocean with blue color, if they can, and they draw the sea creatures in sharp detail.
• They can extrapolate a solution working for them to something that might always work. For instance, “Hey, when I carry this bowl of cereal carefully, it doesn’t spill. Maybe I can be careful all the time!”
They start to “keep score”
• They start to “keep score.” In a game you didn’t even know you were playing, you have 0 points and they have 1 point.
• They use a metric to see who “won.” If you and they are drinking a drink, they measure to see who “won”—who drank all the liquid first.
They and their projects are smoother and more patterned
• Before, their art was getting nicer and neater. Now it gets more “smooth.”
• They color an entire page and it’s very well-coordinated.
• They ask to make pizza—so they can decorate it how they want.
• They draw or make a flag such as the American flag, in an app, and it’s about right with where the basic squares and rectangles go.
• Or they, the funny man they are, perfect a joke or a way of saying something. They have a “Yo!” to rival Rocky. They themselves are very “smooth.”
• They also might really work on their personality in a way that is hilarious. They walk around with a swag, “Hey, BRO!”
• Or they joke when things happen, “See ya later, JERK!” They are very funny.
Continues to “negotiate,” yet more bossy about it
• They continue to negotiate, making “deals.” Now they might be a bit more bossy about it. They declare themselves the parent. They order you to clean the bathroom. You obey.
• Or they order you to put on a play, say Cinderella. They want you to be Lady Tremaine telling them to clean up.
Blunt and hilarious
• They also get very blunt in a way that is hilarious.
• You are rolling up pepperoni and cheese with them. You say, “Oh, it’s like a pepperoni cheese sandwich!” They tell you, flatly, “That’s because it is.”
• Or you got them a whole pack of a snack they like. Your spouse is telling you there are only so many snacks left in the pack but they can’t quite remember how many. They look right at you and very pointedly say, “6.” There are 6 snacks left. And it’s for them.
• Throughout this milestone, they are also more “romantic.”
• They note who or what they “love” more.
• Maybe that they “love the baby a whole lot more!”
• Or that a boy they saw, “looked kind of …good!”
• They might start going on and on about another opposite sex child, outside of the family.
• They might chase another child to make them give them a kiss and want to “hold them and love them forever!”
• They can be extremely boisterous, wanting to join in with others, and they are very chummy, dancing around, participating.
• They might explore themselves down there.
• It really is as if some kind of “romance” hormone washes over them.
Intentionally tricks people
• Towards the end of the milestone, they also start to trick people. It’s probably the next milestone, in which they outright think they can warp space and time, brewing.
• They might hide something in a toy chest, of which they have two of. They ask which one you think the special thing is hidden in. You guess correctly. So, they switch it before opening it, to show you that you’re wrong.
• Or they make up a story where they want to hit you with a “torpedo.” They trick you with a dummy torpedo, ordering you to look at the dummy one. Then they hit you with the actual one. Tricked you!
• They tell you a bean bag is a smoothie.
• They tell you they need more of a drink—except their drink is full. They did it on purpose, as a little joke.
• When reading, they purpose switch words. When they see, “Shane is sad!” they purposely read, “Shane is happy!”
Surviving and Thriving
The Misbehavior and Growth of Five Year Olds
Five Year Old Milestone 3A (5.2.2-5.2.3)—New Dimensions
Starts: 5.2.2. It starts off mostly with some sleep disruptions and obvious new skills.
Most Intense: Around 5.2.2
Ends: Some issues up to 5.2.3. Some clinginess can be expected all the way until the next milestone.
Irritable Period Summary
Sleep disruptions, holograms
• They stay up later at night.
• They might want to do something late at night, such as talk or go outside.
• Or they might fall asleep early and then get up early the next day.
• On one particular night, towards the beginning, they might have major sleep disruptions. The next day they are likely to be extra demanding.
• If your child shows head shape changes (their hair style allows you to see it, etc.), there should be a noticeable one.
• The day before this head shape change, they might show they see a “hologram.” This is an image projected by their mind in which they imagine something that isn’t there.
• They might show you a “deep ocean” that acts as a sort of moat and protects them inside a room. You can’t get across it.
• This type of hologram imagery and sleep disruptions are very typical of the start of a hill and the start of many milestones.
• Sleep issues almost always coincide with physical growth.
• They get bigger and their head shape might change again as well.
Talks about their brain
• They might say “my brain!” as they work through something difficult.
• They might describe their brain as “growing and growing!”
• Sleep issues and brain talk are usually a sign of major mental development.
Can get sad or moderately upset
• At the beginning of this milestone, they might just be sad sometimes.
• They might throw things when upset.
• They might be difficult when out, refusing to sit in their seat, etc.
• They are likely to just want to be near you.
• They linger on you a lot more, right on your arm.
• They might get wound up every time their dad gets home from work.
• They might want to rough house with their dad a lot.
• Or they might kick your shin underneath a restaurant table. Just to make sure you’re still connected with them.
New Abilities Summary
• It is marked distinctly by them being able to imagine they are going to a new dimension, in time or space.
• Coinciding with this are wild imaginations, where they wonder about warping space and time.
They believe they can alter time and space
• They believe they can warp space and time to their liking.
• The house is going to collapse on you. Will you die? No, you’ll be the size of an ant.
• They wonder if rocks can stop lava or if trees can be made of rocks.
• They think they are almost 6, when they aren’t.
• An especially socially intelligent child might tell their dad that today is December 7, not December 12. That’s because today is December 12, which is his birthday, and they want to surprise them with a surprise birthday.
• They lie and they seem to do it without being able to help it. They accuse their brother of something he didn’t do. They burst into tears a few minutes later, admitting it was a lie.
• They start imagining wild things, in new dimensions.
• You might “go through a portal” to a “different dimension.”
• There are “bunkers” in your house that you can go hide in.
• Or they might make up a story that you are about to go explore a deep cave.
• Their imagination is in high gear and involves things magically changing from one state to another. They might, for instance, build a tube contraption that changes sharks into gold.
• Or they might make their “dream ship” in Minecraft.” It cleans the ocean of all garbage.
Projections over time
• They can imagine how things will change over a continuum.
• They can project the course of something over time. For instance, by the time you get home, it will be dark.
• They predict what’s next in time for a cycle. Clouds just came out—maybe worms will come out when it rains.
• They also start to imagine themselves at older ages.
o For instance, by the time they are 7 years old, they will outgrow their car seat.
o Or by the time they are 9, they will be as tall as their brother.
o 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.”
Loves adventure stories
• They LOVE to listen to adventure stories. Afterall, they can imagine themselves in a new dimension. They can also hang on to every word told to them. They can listen to adventure stories for a long time now.
• Now is a great time to start reading history or anything else where they can imagine themselves in an exciting, different place. Don’t underestimate them! They’ve very suddenly changed at this milestone.
• They might enjoy something that goes with them as they transport back in time. Perhaps a favorite stuffed animal or a radio that magically lets them create what they want comes with them.
• This is a great age to introduce to them various cultural folk or fairy tales. They might, for instance, be super into Santa now.
Can handle two opposing scales or requirements
• Previously, they loved to think of how things change over one scale, such as how walking away from a person makes that person look smaller. Now they compare two opposing scales.
• For instance, they might notice that when the van moves one way, objects in it move the opposite way.
• They can attempt to satisfy two people’s requests at once. One person wants them to x. Another person wants them to y. They come up with a sort of middle ground, trying to satisfy both.
• They can compare something in the past to something in the present. Is today the best day ever? Or was their birthday the best day ever? Today is, because their birthday has since passed.
• They can understand some basic economics, such as some money or other goods are needed for consumption, some for trade, some for savings. After you show them this, they proceed to incorporate it into their imaginary play. They, as such, recognize that you can use money for more than one purpose.
• They can figure things out with more moving parts (i.e., more than one). They can figure out how to take videos in fast motion on their iPad.
• They ask intelligent questions about which way to put batteries in, which is dependent on direction and based on the diagram found in the compartment that holds the battery.
• They can understand that something is taller and wider than something else, but they can’t understand total area. As such, water filled to the same height in two bowls that are different widths have “the same” amount of water in them (even though they don’t). However, they do note that one bowl is in fact wider than the other. Basically, they can see height and width, separately, but they can’t put them together yet to see that taller and wider means there is more.
• They can hang on to every word said now (as from past milestones) and they just seem generally more excited about things. They can become highly cooperative about things they previously were difficult about.
• They gladly go to a doctor’s appointment and are entertained the whole time. They listen to the doctor’s every word and they, themselves, want to make sure they follow the doctor’s orders.
• While at the doctor’s office, they take a pen to look at it. They then politely put it back.
• When they see you are sleeping, they back away. They “want to respect you.”
Surviving and Thriving
The Misbehavior and Growth of Five Year Olds
Five Year Old Milestone 3B (5.2.4-5.3.1)—Long-Term Working Memory
Starts: A bit before 5.2.4
Most Intense: 5.3.0 to 5.3.1
Irritable Period Summary
Sensitive, due to a distorted sense of size and fear
• They become hypersensitive. They think catastrophe is around the corner all the time. They think things are going to fall over, people are going to trip, etc.
• They perceive other children as “taunting” them, even when other children aren’t.
• Scared and annoyed by loud noises
• In talking to children, they have a distorted sense of what will happen as things progress over time. They might think they are going to grow so tall they’ll bump into the ceiling of your house. Imagine thinking this would happen. It might explain why they are so hypersensitive and fearful.
• They can be up very late at night, two hours later than normal, asking someone to be with them.
• They might not back off other children.
• They won’t leave a particular adult alone.
• They are extra clingy.
• They won’t do any of their normal bedtime routine.
• They won’t get ready for practice.
• Says, “n.No!”
• They get particular about what they want to do. They “hate” the restaurant you chose to go to.
• They are mostly defiant and stay up late.
New Abilities Summary
• What I mean by “long-term working memory” is that they draw a conclusion about something and then also persistently remember what their conclusion was.
• There is an increase in working attention span.
• They get competitive.
• They like to group numbers.
Very long attention span, committed to doing something for hours
• There is an increase in attention span in the projects they commit to. They can spend HOURS on a project. They can spend up to nine hours on a project in one day, such as a LEGO project.
• They can stay with their creative efforts for a stunningly long amount of time, adding tremendous detail. They even tell you they “spent hours and hours!” doing something. And they did. Perhaps they drew an elaborate, fancy, really slick looking ship in Minecraft.
• They can stick with you, patiently, as you show them how to do something semi-complicated and even particular, such as cleaning out a pencil sharpener.
Draws conclusions and remembers them (long-term inference)
• They conclude things on their own, based on a certain amount of logic (inference.) More, they remember what they noticed well after their observation.
• They notice only one vehicle is in the driveway. Later, when they see their dad, they comment that they must have taken the other vehicle.
• They noticed that you left a video on in the morning. They conclude you must have been doing that workout video last night. When they see you later, they mention it.
• What they learn now can last. For instance, you might teach them something obscure at this age, such as what a “stalactite” is, and they remember this obscure thing four years later.
Realism about imagination
• They know not only that their imagination is pretend, they want to make sure you know it’s pretend, too. They might say something like, “I know, I KNOW this is pretend, but I’m trying to explain something…ok?”
• They tell you about a dream they had about a big ship and then tell you what the ship would “actually” be like.
• This is a sign that clarity and realism has being brought to their initial imaginations, which otherwise kicked off enormous mental growth.
Competitive, possibly aggressive
• They get competitive over things, such as who gets their seatbelt buckled first or who completes a drawing first.
• They take great pride in being fast.
• They hate to lose or even to come in 2nd.
• They show a greater interest in playing and even winning board games that require some amount of longer-term attention span and strategy, such as checkers or Rummikub.
• They might get aggressive or bossy with other children, perhaps from this competitiveness.
Groups numbers and actions
• They like to skip count by 10. When counting to 100 or 120, they very much enjoy how you can group the numbers and then count them faster.
• They like how, instead of saying, “very, very, very, very…” (and do say it like this for them,) you can just say “100 verys.”
• They also might like how you can keep doubling a number and it gets bigger quickly.
• An analytical child might also like work with angles, chunking up the angle by 10 degrees as you go from 0 to 90 degrees (say as you swing a door open).
• They might break up their stories into chunks. As they reveal the new outfit they are trying on, first they show you their hand, then foot, then leg, then arm, etc. Their drama is cranking up, big time.
• They start to get more forcefully judgmental. They might say things “suck.”
• Things are “1,000 awful.”
Surviving and Thriving
The Misbehavior and Growth of Five Year Olds
Five Year Old Milestone 4A (5.3.2-5.4.0)—Drama and Heroic Thought
Most Intense: 5.3.3 – 5.4.0
Irritable Period Summary
• Slightly before this milestone starts, they get bigger. They are noticeably bigger and more muscular.
Sleep disruptions and nightmares
• This starts off noticeably with sleep disruptions and/or nightmares.
• They might abruptly go to bed unusually early and then also get up early.
• They might have nightmares, perhaps about something like tornadoes.
• They might want to talk a lot before going to sleep, perhaps about cutting one of their stuffed animals open and all the stuffing falling out.
• During the intense period, they might not want to go to bed or beg you to be with them at nighttime.
• During the intense period, they might also get up super early or fall asleep early.
• They might have new fears.
• They might not like something they see in a movie, even something simple such as a character going down a hill on a sled.
• Again, they have little sense of how long things will go on, and they might think the person will go so far sliding as to hurt themselves.
• Lingers on primary caregiver, siblings, or others
• Wants hugs more often
• Cries more easily
• They want to be by you—a lot. During the intense period especially, if you can’t be by them, they might get very upset by it.
• They can’t find things right in front of them. They want to know where the remote went, but it was on the couch, in very plain sight.
• They might find things “disgusting” right now or “hate” things.
• They “hate” being 5 and want to be 6.
• They might call people “dumb” or say things “suck.”
• They are, after all, quite developing their own mind now!
• They always have to be first.
• They are all but obsessed in seeing what thing is taller than what: is their cup taller than yours?
• They want to race a lot.
• They might have been nonchalant about things for a while, but they are back to being choosy. They might want a particular color plate, etc.
• They are choosy about what they get to do. THEY get to choose their own drink, they inform you.
• They remember that that one snack is for them. No, their sister cannot have it, even though they don’t even really want it.
• Won’t get ready to go to practice
• They get far more physically aggressive, in a playful way, with their legs and arms especially.
• Playfully aggressive, e.g., “boxes” you
• They might kick their legs a lot, in sleep and in the day, in a way that is playful.
• They might walk around like a “crab” (on all fours but on their back) or shuffle their feet like a penguin.
• They need space for their new physical adventures and might demand you “get rid of all this stuff.” This is so they have room to jump, play, swing things around, etc.
• Might not back off of other children
• Occasionally angry and aggressive (near the intense part)
• This milestone is on the longer side, but the behaviors are quite mild except near the most intense part
• Always wants to be by you, belligerent about going to bed or wants you at bedtime.
New Abilities Summary
Imagines external things that help them
• Wild imaginations tend to start new brain growth. In this one, they imagine external things which do powerful things for them. They might:
o Describe invisible computers that are really tall, wide, or very small that they send messages to
o Have an imaginary computer, which sets up cameras everywhere for them, such that they can spot any robber in their house
o Make up a story that they are an archaeologist and have a “book that has all the answers to everything.”
• Pay attention to what your child finds which has answers for them: a book with all the answers? A computer that can spy on bad guys for them? This is a great clue to their personality, what they are naturally interested in, and where they will go later to find answers.
Talks about how their mind works
• They might describe more about how their mind works, e.g., their mind “stacks” things.
• Some children might even say their eyes are like a camera and their brain is like an iPad and messages are getting sent from their eyes to their brain.
• This tells you a lot about their new brain growth. They are aware of how they are surveying the scene around them, as if it’s a camera on an iPad, and processing it, in a more “I’m on top of it” kind of way.
An outstanding memory, with many details
• Their memory is outstanding in the amount of detail it can hold onto and deal with, on the spot.
• They might, for instance, draw an entire mechanical machine, from memory, on the spot.
• They ask stunningly intelligent questions. They overheard you talking about how objects in motion tend to stay in motion. They come up to you, explaining how planes keep flying in the sky, i.e. they stay in motion. They might be a tad wrong about what was meant, but they were clearly paying attention to this relatively advanced physics concept.
• There is a noticeable increase in their vocabulary, what words they know, and what words they can read.
Can read without context clues
• They can read or spell letters without any aid or clue to help them whatsoever.
• They read the word “coffee”—on a liquor bottle.
• They read “Super Target,” on the sign of the store, without ever having gone to the store.
• They can type out a word into a search bar, on their own, such as “Hex Bugs.”
Explosion in self-initiated learning and projects
• They’ve been happily joining in with you and others as you teach something or play something for a while. But now they are far more forward about it, initiating projects and also inserting themselves into any and all learning.
• If you do lessons or other activities with other children at [x] time every day, when it’s time, they personally turn off the TV to come join. There is no them not joining.
• They add items to your “To Do” list. Be sure to fix the paint on the fence.
• They personally initiate what plays they want to act out, perhaps of something you just read.
• They impressively initiate and lead a game, perhaps a complicated hide and seek game involving clues that people find.
• They might draw out story after story, creating entire scenes.
Creativity on turbo gear
• They explode in coming up with imaginative, creative things.
• They might decorate the couch to be a “ship.” They get the materials for it. A dangling string is the anchor, a tube is the torpedo launcher, etc.
• Any tube given to them gets turned into something that can launch things.
• Again, they might draw out many stories. A dragon starts a fire. A superhero fights off the dragon. The dragon dies. They draw this with pictures, nearly comic-book style.
• They dress up their toy dolls in fashionable dresses made out of Play-Doh.
• They might make their own LEGO creations.
• Again, these are all great clues to what your child’s natural talent and interests are!
Wants to build indestructible things
• I expect this is not all children but enough to note it. I expect this applies to more “mechanical” children who really like to build 3-D objects.
• They want to make things “indestructible.” They build a “ship” out of blocks, and they want you to knock it over to see if it’s indestructible.
• They might happily put on a play about the Three Little Pigs, wanting to build a house that doesn’t blow down.
• They might similarly think of ways to make sure their ice cream doesn’t melt. Perhaps if you turn off the lights, it won’t melt as quickly.
• They come up with solutions to make sure the Earth doesn’t get hit by asteroids.
• They not only want to do these things, but they want to do them quickly. There is a sense of urgency, like bad things will happen otherwise.
• They love certain YouTube channels, where things change by magic (video editing makes this possible).
• They might do their own magic. They break a cookie in half, loosely assemble then, then break it apart for their magic trick.
Loves deep, heroic, moving things
• They like things that are “deep.” For instance, you ask about their favorite part of the day and they close their eyes, as if in deep thought and emotion, as they think about it.
• Loves triumphant songs, e.g., The Ants Go Marching
• Or they directly ask you to put on the “Peanut Butter Jelly” song (a very fun, upbeat song)
• They ask you to play music while they work on their projects.
• Strong interest in playing an instrument and in a moving way. They might make up their “sad song” or want to play Yankee Doodle on the trumpet.
• They love to say, “Chug, chug, chug!” as someone chugs a bottle of water.
• They “talk smack” to you or others.
• They exuberantly pretend to fight when re-enacting a story.
• They love the idea of getting gemstones or becoming rich.
• They love to get caught in the rain.
• Loves acting out real adventure stories, e.g., escaping Roman persecution in catacombs
• Or, as their sister makes up a story about escaping jail and then pretending to be the jail guards at that very jail, they totally get the whole thing and play along happily. They add to the plot: the escapees (them) are now invisible, so you can’t see them.
A great actor
• They have incredible poise and timing in the things they act out.
• As they are pretend running behind you, they do it in slow motion, very convincingly.
• As they cut up mushrooms for you, they do it with the poise of a seasoned chef, here not to just cut up mushrooms but to put on a show.
• When your daughter is asked to play a woman who pretended to be a man to be king, she gives her best, “Yes, sir!”
Can (somewhat) handle losing, a true competitor
• Before, they ALWAYS had to win. Now, they can handle losing.
• And, as they lose, they learn. They play a game—and lose—but come back for more. They are getting competitive in the true sense of the word.
• Wants to get stronger, or smarter, etc., e.g., uses weights and announces they are getting strong
Curious about how others perceive things, especially them
• They are very aware of others and how they perceive things.
• When they point to something they now ask, “Do you see what I am pointing at?” They want to make sure you in fact did see it, as they explain what they are explaining.
• When they partake in pretend play, they might ask, “We all agree to pretend about this thing, right?” They pretended to fill up a toy car with water in a water bottle, but they didn’t actually empty the water bottle. You can all agree that we pretended to do that, right?
• They are especially aware of how you might perceive them.
• When you laugh at something, they want to know what you are laughing at. Was it something they were doing?
• They are aware of how others perceive them and they purposely try to make others laugh. They do the “dab”—while wearing a robot arm.
• They overhear you say you are staying near them to keep them company, even though you want to go to bed. As such, they move off of you…to let you go to bed. They don’t want to be in the way.
Notices that things are both tall and wide
• They start to take an interest that things can be both tall and wide.
• They note, excitedly, that as they eat food, it will make them BOTH taller AND wider.
• When they describe their imaginary computers, they describe at length how tall or wide they are. Some are “1,000 houses” tall, others are the size of a foot, and others are about as tall as an adult. They go through several variations of this where some things are big, tiny, tall, or long.
• They are starting to notice that these two dimensions, width and length, can be different. They aren’t terribly good at holding onto to these two dimensions at the same time yet, however.
• If you do the Piaget experiment where you lay out 3 coins and ask them how many there are, and then lay out another 3, and again ask how many there are, and then spread out the coins in one of the lines, they won’t see the two sets of coins as both remaining as 3.
• In working with children, it seems as if the spread-out line goes out of their peripheral vision, such that one of the coins is no longer seen by them. Or, they only see the lines as such, without counting the coins. They quite simply seem geared right now to see 4 points as a square or rectangle, as a sort of collective whole. Anything else simply confuses them.
• If they set up something small, say just their shoe or foot, they think it creates a “wall.” In other words, they believe their mere foot is about 6 feet tall. It’s as if they can see width, length, or height, but these can metamorphosize to be any length whatsoever in their mind.
• For now they just notice THAT there can be two dimensions to something. In upcoming milestones, they will add detail and gradient to this. But, first, they must play around with the idea of two different dimensions in crazy ways. This will be the next milestones.
Surviving and Thriving
The Misbehavior and Growth of Five Year Olds
Five Year Old Milestone 4B (5.4.2-5.5.0) — I Can Trick You!
Starts: 5.4.2 or a bit before
Most Intense: 5.4.3 to 5.5.0
Ends: A few days after 5.5.0
Irritable Period Summary
• They can be demanding of your attention. They want you to constantly see everything they just did or built.
• They want to be physically close to you (cuddling, etc.), a lot.
• You might be getting “Mommy, mommy, mommy!” treatment.
Nightmares, fears, sleep issues, entrapment
• They might be up late at night.
• They might want a particular caregiver at night.
• They commit to doing something late at night and they end up falling asleep.
• They might want to go on a walk late at night.
• Or they might wake up unusually early one morning.
• When they get up early, they tend to be upset, sad, or tell you they had nightmares. However, they heroically try to insist they aren’t sad or saved people in their nightmares.
• When they burst into your room early in the morning, unable to sleep, they might tell you that they had a nightmare, perhaps about cars going over cliffs. However, someone saved them, and they tried saving you.
• They might get scared being out at night, but when they feel safe, they gush about how concerned they are that other people don’t go through what they went through. There are fears, but they also have heroism/concern to make up for the fear.
• Sometimes these fears seem to coincide with entrapment: the desire to be in something. At this one, they like the idea of being in something huge, like being in a huge diesel engine.
• They’ve pulled a few tricks on you up to now, but now it’s just in turbo gear. These tricks are also much more pre-planned and deliberate. They might:
o Fill up a cup with salt and tells you it’s milk
o Hand you an unsharpened pencil and tells you it is ready for use
o Pretend to be sleeping
o Pretend to be a ghost—and did they trick you? Don’t worry. They weren’t actually a ghost.
o Be warned: They might even conspire to steal your car keys!
• These pranks and tricks might turn annoyingly aggressive, such as trying to trip their sibling by tying shoestring in front of their door.
• As this milestone progresses into the intense part, they can also “lie” quite a bit.
Aggressive or whiny
• They might get aggressive and fight with their siblings, such as over who gets a particular color toy.
• Or they might scream a lot or demand you a lot; it depends on the child.
• They can be aggressive, whiny, or upset.
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 start to experiment with two things at once.
• They take a tremendous amount of initiative.
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 also make up a game for you to play, such as finding your way through a maze.
• Playing Hangman, doing a treasure hunt, and any other game where you try to trick each other might be a huge hit.
Experiments with doing two things at once or doing two different things
• They start to try to do two things at once.
• They might start to try to cut with both a fork and a knife.
• They might like to try to balance two things together: bottles on top of each other, crayons perpendicular to each other, etc.
• They might combine two dance moves together.
• They might experiment running with their socks on and off.
• Or, upon hearing it looks different, they compare what their skin looks like with lights on or off.
• They are very curious in general and experiment in general. If a video comes on about eye color, they all of a sudden become very interested in eye color.
Combines things, doubles things up, cuts things in half
• Things get combined, doubled up, and cut in half a lot.
• When they see words, they mash them together. If they see two signs of something, they combine the words on the signs and read them off as one.
• They combine ideas. If they see a radioactive sign, which has yellow and black stripes, and then see a tiger, they might combine these to have a “radioactive tiger.”
• They double things up a lot. They don’t just shoot you with one pretend gun, but two. A “raft” (a blanket) on the floor needs another raft on top of it.
• They don’t just wear one headband but two.
• They notice things doubled up, too, perhaps that they have two shadows at any given time.
• Numbers randomly get doubled when they add as well. 30 + 20 is 80. When you ask them about it, it’s because 30 + 30 + 20 is 80. They randomly doubled the 30.
• They also might spontaneously add three numbers together like 5 + 2 + 2. Given they previously could do 5 + 2, this is like adding one more dimension.
• Things also get cut in half. The two separate halves might take on a life of their own.
Intellectually curious about two separate realities or dimensions
• They think about satisfying two requirements. If their house was invisible, robbers couldn’t find it, and that’s a good thing. But, if you had a cat and the house was invisible, the cat wouldn’t be able to find their way around. Hrm.
• They might make up something quirky like that someone is the “Queen of Queens!” She is the queen of a city named Queens. We see here already exploring two different dimensions, one a name and the other a location.
• They might say people on TV are on “another planet,” and theirs is the “normal” planet. There are two fundamentally different “realities,” but they can hold on to them, intellectually, at the same time.
• They are interested in videos or books exploring a totally different reality, thus two different realities. What if the world had no cats?
• They can play a game that, intellectually, has more than one moving part, such as Clue, the murder mystery game. They can handle their set of cards while simultaneously trying to figure out who committed the murder, with what, and where.
• They can follow along with the idea that 1 is to 5 what 2 is to 10 what 3 is to 15 and so on. They in fact draw it out on paper like this, spontaneously. Two dimensions increasing in their own way at the same time and same rate.
• They explore a lot with two dimensions at this milestone. At the next one, they use the information more readily.
Creates and draws things with shapes
• There is a strong desire to draw things or cut things into the shapes they want.
• They might draw out a computer game they know, but on paper, and you sort of play the game on paper.
• They might draw exact replicas of your TV remote. The rectangular shapes of the buttons and the remote are roughly to scale.
• Similarly, they might draw the apps from a phone or tablet.
• They might cut out a hole in a paper ship. They then hold it up and explain that torpedoes now can’t attack it, as they will just go right through the hole.
• They also might tell a story or make up a game with what they draw or cut.
Makes up games
• They, again, might draw out a computer game they know, but on paper, and you sort of play the game on paper.
• They make up a game for you to play, such as going through a maze.
• After playing a regular game, such as Monopoly Jr., they want to play a new version of it, based on a new way of playing that they made up.
• Or they make up a game where things stick up, propped up by them somehow, and you have to throw something to knock them over.
• They learn how to make knots and then want to make one of their own. The new knots they create have kooky names.
• They might make a fly trap. Their sister is the bait.
Delights in their own intelligence, success, or quirkiness
• They have a strong sense of who they are and how smart, adorable, or quirky they are, as derived from mischievous behavior.
• They get how others might “see” them better, and in a way as to what their playful essence is. For instance, they pretend to be a quirky professor and then, in character, ask, “Me? Odd?”
• They say things in a “deep” way, knowing it’s “deep.” 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 wonder about how cool it would be to get all the gold from a pirate ship—as a kid. Not just that they got it, but that they did it as a kid. I mean, they’re a kid. It would be funny!
• They pretend to be a ghost and then announce to not worry, they were only pretending. We all agree they are quirky and funny, right?
• They love getting caught in the rain. They sense the romance of it.
• They take delight in thinking about “how mad!” they can get.
• 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!”
• They might literally notice that they see their reflection in the mirror. There is an increased self-awareness at this milestone.
Takes a stunning amount of initiative
• They might flag down a waitress on their own, without asking, to ask for a new drink.
• They might set up all the stuff needed to play an outdoor game, such as the goal posts for soccer.
• They ask to make a book or put on a play.
• 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
• They might become interested in saying a few things in a new language.
• They separate from you more. They surprisingly go and sit with other children at dinner, whereas before they always wanted to be by you.
Symbols and shapes “pop out” at them
• They are on turbo drive in how they see abstract symbols, such as letters.
• As they drive around, they notice every sign and read them (if they can read).
• They see symbolic representation, even when it wasn’t intended. For instance, they see a toy parachute made of yellow and black triangles. They note that it looks just like the sign for “radioactive” (and it does). I think any kind of symbol just “pops” out at them that strongly.
• They might want to go outside and see what the shape of their house is.
• I believe that as children transition from seeing just one dimension to seeing two dimensions at once, e.g., length and width, at first by seeing it as a sort of whole instead of as isolate concepts. So, they “see” squares, rectangles, and other symbols everywhere. They become fascinated with the idea at first, then actively curious, and then they tackle the idea to the ground. Children are very “black and white” in their thinking at first. They draw stick figures, they think of pure symbols, they see the world mostly as shapes at first, etc. Hence, they see shapes and symbols everywhere now. It “pops” for them.
• Note: I believe they are designed to “see” things in perfect squares or rectangles right now. If something is NOT a perfect square, it might upset them. So, if four of you are playing catch with four people, you all need to stand in a perfect square, otherwise they get upset.
• They have a strong interest in doing math equations.
• As noted, they spontaneously want to add 3 numbers together, e.g. 5 + 2 + 2.
• They also, as noted, randomly double the addition of some numbers. 30 + 20 becomes 30 + 30 + 20 in their mind.
• They seem to do this especially with the number 30 in particular. Numbers that go over a certain threshold seem to confuse them. They’ll get 10 + 10 but again, not 30 + 40, as if adding numbers that go over 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 they added 100 more. They can get 50 + 51, but not 50 + 60.
Five Year Old Milestone 5A (5.5.0-5.5.3) — Apples to Oranges—Compares Two Dimensions
Most Intense: All throughout but it’s mild. It gets more intense at the next milestone.
Ends: It rolls right into the next milestone, at 5.5.2
Irritable Period Summary
Sensitive, needs connection
• Tears up more often
• Wants to “spend time” with primary caregiver more often
• Hugs you in a very emotional way
• Says “I love you” more
• They might become distraught that an adult left the house, before they were able to say goodbye.
Hard on themselves
• It’s not all children but some children can get hard on themselves.
• They might feel ashamed that you have to help clean them up.
• They might be hard on themselves because they can’t spell a word.
• Tells you to “not look at them,” because they know they are doing something you don’t like.
• They just get very clingy and ask lots of questions.
New Abilities Summary
• They can contemplate things in two entirely different dimensions, such as one thing is long and another is big. This is why I named this milestone, “Apples to Oranges.”
• They also get very competitive and goal-oriented, in which they like to advance to the “next level.” That they can readily imagine things in a totally new dimension might explain this new skill.
Apple to oranges: compares things in two different dimensions
• They compare things to each other using two different dimensions. The sun is bigger than the Earth, but Pluto is further away. As such, they are noticing the dimensions of size versus length.
• They might notice they can do two things at once. They can walk AND daydream at the same time
• They might even say “at the same time” more often now.
• They can spend a long time comparing two things, such as one version of a map, say of the United States, to another, which feature slightly different things in a slightly different way.
• They love to look through any kind of visual encyclopedia, in general, comparing and absorbing a massive amount of data.
• They decide what is similar enough, as well. Wendy’s and McDonalds are “the way same.”
• “Grass” and “glass,” sounding so similar, are also “way the same.”
• Has LOTS of questions: perhaps about how houses are made, how ships are made, does glass stop sound, etc.
• Literally asks, “Why? Why? Why?”
Very clearly eavesdropping on you
• They are very clearly listening to you, even when you don’t think they are.
• Late at night, you find them listening to your conversation. They are overjoyed when you tell them they can come be part of it.
• They suddenly drop impressive knowledge or understanding about something, perhaps that a “force” is buoying them when they float in the bathtub. They were clearly eavesdropping on the physics lessons that your older child was participating in.
Talks about gold or treasure
• They become fascinated with gold.
• They might talk about magically changing things into gold.
• Or perhaps that they have a “treasure bomb,” which, when it explodes, will throw gold everywhere.
• They might really like a holiday like St. Patrick’s Day, with its focus on pots of gold.
• Or they might become interested in pirates, who also notoriously look for gold
• This kind of fantastical thinking where they simply imagine themselves attaining something magically (simply acquiring gold) often kicks off major new mental development.
Likes receiving information or power from something external
• They like to talk to something external and feel it’s powerful.
• They might set up a mailbox for themselves, to receive letters.
• They might pray.
• They like how the wind makes them feel more beautiful or powerful.
A meta understanding of their brain
• They not only use their brain but understand they have a brain now.
• They might say, “My brain can like…make me talk. It also controls my eyeballs.”
• They might ask, “Does my brain have a brain?”
• They might describe how their brain works, e.g., it’s “going crazy” or is like a “gear box with pistons pumping”
• Their indirect actions or comments might also hint at how much they realize they have a brain that controls their actions. As they look for something, they say, “Scanning, scanning,” emphasizing just what their brain and eyes are doing.
• Their hand itself might be a “map” that updates like a GPS as you drive around.
Confident and in-charge
• This heightened awareness of their new abilities often comes with a bit of “swag.”
• They might “feel like a mom” when typing at your computer.
• They might hilariously laugh, “I’m a Captain!!”
• They announce how easy finding things is for them.
• Any lesson where they pick up anything might be turned into a chance to prove how strong they are.
• Manhandling a kite in strong wind ain’t no thing for them!
• They play their own tune at the piano, thank you very much.
• They quite think they are the “expert” at things, and they quickly rebuke you if you say otherwise. Say you called them a “Multiplication Monster.” They are not a monster. They are an expert.
• They are very hands-on and even somewhat in-charge of any activity you do with them, such as cooking, a science project, playing a musical instrument, etc.
• They get more competitive and can focus better.
• They like to be peppered with challenges, such as math problems.
• They are more focused on any work done on paper, such as workbooks.
• They can stick with doing many math problems and they like to do it in a stepped way, e.g. 5 + 5, then 5 + 6, then 5 + 7.
• Other children might intuitively see your child’s new love for games and invite them into a game they are playing, as well as teach them how to play.
• Things are again “so easy!” for them and you are a “noob” and they are a “hacker.”
Enthusiastic to help
• They ask to help clean up.
• They might even say they are a “crew mate” or “helper” and “That’s what crew mates do! They finish their task and then they win!”
• They are excited to help plan something upcoming, such as a holiday.
Notices different perspectives as such
• An impressive and reliably predictable development at this milestone is that they can see that the same thing looks different from two different angles, and they have an appreciation now that this is due to the different perspective, as such.
• They might notice that an open gate looks closed if you look at it from a certain angle. But if you move over a bit, it indeed looks open.
• They might note that a person in a movie being filmed would look different to the camera man than they do to us.
• They might talk to you about optical illusions.
• They also start to like and even initiate games where you someone else has a different perspective of something. They might play Peek-A-Boo with a baby or like to play charades.
• This new heightened perception about different perceptions happens rather noticeably and reliably around 5.5.2.
• They ask you if it’s ok to turn on the TV before they do. Are you done with all other things before they are allowed to do that? They are cognizant of whether or not it’s the right time of day and if they will burden anyone by turning it on.
• If they are playing with another child and the child says stop, they do, on their own, out of consideration for the other child. Say they were spinning another child on a carousel ride and the child asks to stop. On their own, they do.
• Perhaps their heightened sense of other’s perspective drives this new, better consideration for others.
Five Year Old Milestone 5B (5.5.2-5.5.3) — Conscious Understanding of Why Things Work
Most Intense: 5.5.2 until a few days after 5.5.3
Ends: A few days after 5.5.3
Irritable Period Summary
• As the last milestone rolls into this one, they get more aggressive.
• They playfully punch you more, if they don’t like what you are saying or doing.
• When playing a game, say trying to find all of a particular thing, they take it upon themselves to “punch” that thing every time they find one.
• At some point, they might want an extreme amount of control over a common situation. They might stubbornly want a say in bigger decisions, such as where, when, and how to cross a road
• They are very capable of understanding things without the help of anyone or any aid now. Their mental fortitude and ability to think on their own is incredible. This might explain their intent to make decisions all on their own, such as when, where, and how to cross the street (which can be a bit dangerous and frustrating).
Wants your or other’s attention
• They might get clingier and want your attention more.
• They might want to talk to you late at night.
• They might harass their siblings a lot.
Sad more easily
• They tear up more often.
• They get sad more easily.
• They can be aloof, separate, and contemplative at times.
• If asked not to do something, they might sit down and just cry.
• They are up late, wanting to talk.
• They might want to go on walks at night.
• They might show yet more aggression at night.
Growth and its issues
• They get noticeably taller and less “chubby.” Their legs are much thinner, and they look more like a “string bean” (because they are thinner and their bones are longer).
• However, some features also fill out. They are taller and thinner, but they have more substance to their calves, butt, and shoulders.
• This growth spreads out weight to all extremities of their body, and, as such, their center of gravity is a bit different. They thus might get dizzier when being picked up and spun. As such, they might not like doing this as much anymore.
• Their head shape changes.
• I know it sounds bizarre, but their skull also seems to get harder.
New Abilities Summary
Imagines many things
• Major new development coincides greatly with new imaginations. At this milestone, they might:
o Have imaginary things in their pocket that they keep pulling out
o “Eat” food that doesn’t exist
o Talk to imaginary friends
o Go “bowling” with some imaginary pins
o As the milestone progresses, the imaginations get more complex:
o Their closet is filled with 500,000 My Little Ponies that will fall on them if they open the door.
o They imagine your house lined up with pufferfish (or the like), which will poison zombies trying to attack your house.
o Ponder that if the bottom floor of your house was a farm, you could get food easier.
• This imagination is a sign that a new hill (a cluster of milestones that all work on a related core skill set) has started. It kicks off an intense learning stage, i.e., an intense “Why?” stage, which is indeed seen at this milestone.
Worried about handling existential threats
• Coinciding with this kind of imagination is often fear. It’s as if the child becomes scared of something and then makes up for it in imagination. Their fears become ever more realistic at this milestone.
• They might have ideas on how to hunt animals or the like.
• They might be worried about something scary they saw on the news. However, they have ideas of how to solve the issue.
Uses two dimensions in thought, speech, action, and creativity
• As the last milestone passes into this one, they go from asking questions and noticing things about two dimensions to using them. They aren’t just experimenting with two dimensions. They are using them and explaining them.
• They leave one sock on and one sock off. They explain their barefoot gives them better speed but the foot with the sock on it gives them better “sliding speed.”
• They can do an activity involving literally two dimensions, as well as two steps. They can find the letter on a grid, say “A” is at E1 (where column E and row 1 intersect). They can write that letter down and go on to the next one to find the secret word.
• They use two adjectives more readily. Someone is “the most evil, most violent character in the world!”
• They tell you they “love” both hot and cold and want to know if you do, too.
• They more astutely notice when two things come together that end up being funny, such as a video of cats playing soccer. It’s cats. Playing soccer.
• They like making up fun challenges with their bodies doing two things, e.g., jump off a curb and spin before you land!
• They are likely to love “parkour,” where you traverse an open gap between two objects, even if just in video games
• They know they are “too skinny” for certain pants. Before, they would have said the pants are “too big.” They can compare their size to the size of the pants, thus using two dimensions.
• They put two things with different dimensions together creatively. They might want to put a colorful rainbow sticker on a remote. This way you can find the remote. The rainbow sticker had an attribute, color, that the dark remote did not.
• They understand when their video games have an “upgrade,” which is an impressive new awareness of how things operate. It also shows they notice separate dimensions (the past version to this one).
• They can note how a game like Minecraft operates differently than real life.
• They start to understand what’s in the news better. As if understanding that “out there” is a real thing, they can absorb what they hear on the news and apply it in everyday conversation. They might also want to be the hero to solve whatever is currently threatening humanity.
Strong interest in reading
• They have a strong interest in reading, and they verbalize as such.
• They actively ask for books that will “teach them how to read.”
• When asked what they want to do, they might say that they want to practice reading.
• They might show you sticker charts that track the progress of how much they read, which is perhaps them telling you they want to read.
• They love to learn to read, by reading. They’ll follow along with every word as you read to them
Deals with numbers as a group
• They can see numbers in a group and have been able to for a while. They can see “ten” as ten, without having to count each one. Or they might have previously said, “I’m five, a whole hand!” Numbers can be grouped off and held as a whole in their mind.
• Now they can use those groups to see a whole. After you show them how to divide, say, 20 pieces into 4, resulting in 5 each, they become obsessed with figuring out how to divide 15. They work on it and work on it. And then you hear them say, quietly, “4, 4, 4, 3.” They figured out that three fours can go into 15 and there is a remainder of 3.
• Breaking it up like this can help them add. When adding 8 + 5, you might present it as 8 + 2 + 3.
• They can, again, hold on to things in two totally different dimensions and use them!
A more conscious understanding of why something was successful or works
• As they do things and design things, they don’t just do it, but know why one way is successful or another way is not.
• As they build a tower, they explain to their sister, “You have to build a wide base.”
• Before they dump a box of small cubes on their head, they say, “I am going to be funny!” Then they do it. They know doing this thing is “funny” and that’s entirely why they are doing it.
• Or they take over and give a mini monologue, to be funny. “Everyone, calm down, this is your captain speaking.” They seem to know that they are doing it to be funny.
• They might say, “When the wind blows, it makes me feel even more beautiful.”
• When they get a math problem right, they might say they did it successfully, “because of my thinking.”
• They bubble, “I’m so confused!” But they say it happily, because they can handle it.
• If tasked to pick out something, say a Halloween costume, they look through every possibility and carefully mull over their decision before picking the perfect one.
• They say something stunningly mature like, “If I’m a beginner, I have to make mistakes. Otherwise, how will I learn?”
• They make a trap in Minecraft and want you to name it, “This is totally not a trap.” They have a more “meta” understanding of what they are doing and emphasize it: it’s TOTALLY not a trap.
• When you do something to make them laugh but they are upset and you ask if they thought you were funny, they might say, “I’m laughing on the inside.”
• They can draw out the design of their own idea. Say they want to decorate something with rainbow colors. They draw it out to explain it to you.
• They pick up weights and exercise with them and explain that they are getting stronger.
• They directly advise you to read to get smarter or exercise to get stronger.
• They openly talk about what to do should they find garbage on the floor.
• They can explain how a game works. Ask them, say, to explain how Red Light Green Light works. They say, with hand gestures, “So, basically, you have to stop when they say red.” It’s the “basically” that gets me.
• They can even lead a game of Red Light Green Light, with a bit of instruction.
Very deliberate, considerate, and wants to help out
• If navigating a small gift shop, on their own, they wait for an entire family to pass, before continuing down the narrow aisles.
• If they see garbage out, on their own initiative, they put it in the garbage.
• If their little sister needs help painting her pumpkin, they stop everything to reach over and help her.
• They very willingly help clean up messes. They also remember that you are going to do the same thing again tomorrow, so, the next day, they go and get the cleaning supplies in preparation.
More persistent in staying in character and conversations
• Before, they were getting competitive, goal-oriented, and “with it.” Now, they have more endurance and persistence when doing just about anything.
• They can stay in their Halloween character, with impressive detail, all night.
• With a bit of direction, they can stay in a new, made-up play for the entire duration of the play, in fact several renditions of it. So, they can stay with it for several hours.
• They have entire movies or stories memorized and can act them out in plays.
• They stick with playing a game of charades.
• As they talk to you, they can “stay in” the conversation longer. They might be saying something while another one says something else, and they stop, mid-sentence, to ponder what the other says. Like, “Well I was going to do that as wellllll….” as the other person explains what they were doing in a game, and they ponder what the other person says, and update what they say.
• Or, as noted, they might have a constant stream of consciousness about something, e.g., “Everyone. Stay in your seats. This is your captain speaking.”
Can stick with activities and take instruction well
• They can stick with an entirely new activity longer, say gluing cotton balls to paper to make them look like clouds.
• They can read and take instructions really well. They might read what to do on a piece of paper and do it
• Or they might take instructions from a teacher or coach really well.
• They like to finish what they started, such as a book.
• They can, again, follow along with every word as you are reading with them.
• They want to try to keep up with adults even when they can’t, such as walking on a long walk
• With your help with carrying some things, they can otherwise help make all of dinner. They can accurately measure out the ingredients, help turn things on, and carefully transfer something to another place. Under your direction, they stick with all of it, being very accurate and careful.
• They love the idea of “challenges” or “getting to the next level” in a competition. They worked hard and moved from x to y level or earned, say, a new tool in a game.
• Today might be “Challenge Day.” They want you to stump them with math problems.
• Perhaps their ability to understand “another dimension,” as well as their new tenacity, helps with this new goal-oriented nature of theirs. They are where they are at now, a beginning, and they can imagine themselves as something different, a new dimension, in the future, as an expert, as well as work towards it.
Can play without you for longer
• They can play entirely independent of you for a long time, even in a new or busy situation.
• If you go to an indoor playground, they can entertain themselves for the whole hour you are there, and they don’t demand you be right by them anymore.
• If no one will go outside to play with them, they are willing to go outside and play by themselves, waiting for the others, for an impressively long amount of time, say 45 minutes.
Realism that things cannot be infinitely stretched
• In a previous milestone, they thought they could grow so tall that they would bump into the ceiling. Now, they bring realism to this.
• They do this by playing around at first. They might endlessly stretch a stretchy toy, noticing it always comes back to the same size.
Surviving and Thriving
The Misbehavior and Growth of Five Year Olds
Five Year Old Milestone 6B (5.6.3-5.7.1) — Differences in Perception
Starts: A bit before 5.6.3 but it’s very mild with perhaps them getting up at night or getting upset sometimes
Most Intense: 5.7.0 – 5.7.1
• They might get out of bed late at night, wanting to talk.
• They might fall asleep in the middle of the day.
• They fall asleep especially early and sleep an especially long time.
• They might have nightmares.
• They might talk in their sleep, and they seem distressed.
Wants to talk and help more
• They want to clean up the whole house.
• They want to talk about a lot of stuff.
• As the milestone progresses, they definitely want their primary caregiver more.
Physical growth and its issues
• They grow. They get bigger overall, and their legs seem more “floppy.”
• They are more prone to getting sick.
• They might sometimes jerk their body around, almost in a spasm.
• They are more sensitive to smell. They might love the smell of rain, for instance.
• Stays up late, nightmares, talks in their sleep, wants to talk
New Abilities Summary
• They are very “on top of” intellectual ideas. They can also explain their ideas cogently, even using hand gestures to explain their ideas.
• They evaluate ideas critically. Is that true? How do you know?
• They differentiate what is real versus fake.
• They have strong opinions on the ideas they ponder.
Imaginative stories exploring different perspectives
• Their new skills show up, as so many new skills do, in imagination at first. The new skills seen at this one relate to seeing an idea through the eyes of two different people. This milestone is all about what is actually true or not, especially as it relates to how other people might understandably see something differently. Their imaginations relate to this.
• They might make up a story about them being lost at sea. They are on a sailboat, fishing and sending distress signals. You think they are dying so you are screaming out, “Noooo!” But they were just having fun. There are two different perspectives here: what they think and what you think of them out at sea.
• They might draw out a story about a Princess who wants to marry who she thinks is a Prince but turns out to be a monster. This is, as such, a story about an error in perception.
• They might think about a person being transformed into something, such as a fox. This fox then goes and has an adventure, perhaps killing something to eat. Again, there are two different perspectives here: the person and then the person as a fox.
• Or they make up a story about an enemy ship that you have to shoot down. Your ship has a hospital on it and everything. Such battles are all about having accurate perceptions of reality.
• There is also a strong element of telling stories about being out at sea at this milestone.
• A more analytical (and often less “imaginative”) child might become interested in -different- ways of solving things at the start of this milestone. How many ways can we add to 6? They get up late at night with such questions.
Understands the reasons for error in perception and explains it with impressive detail
• With elaborate hand gestures, they explain how the earth revolves around the sun—and that people used to think it was the other way around. They also then explain why Mars looks dimmer or brighter on some nights, again with elaborate hand gestures.
• Or they take you to a particular stair on a staircase and show how a platform above you looks higher than another platform, even though it isn’t. But when you come to another stair, the platforms look equally far away from you. They don’t just notice this impressively complex concept, they explain it to you to make sure you understand, too.
• They love to compare what is the same and what is different between two things, and to get your evaluations of it, too. They might set up two different structures out of blocks and demand that you notice what is the same and different about them.
• They purposely ask you to take a picture of them as if it looks like they are drinking from a hose, even though they are not. They designed it to look like they are when they aren’t. That you can see it incorrectly, an error of perception, and they can make it that way fascinates them.
• Stating complex ideas as they are NOT might fascinate them. For instance, ask them, “can you touch green?” No. This is an adjective so it’s not something you can touch.
• In understanding different perspective, they might now notice that other people can be “jealous.”
• I think this explains all of their “lying” at this milestone. Two people can see things differently and they are actually trying to resolve it. Are you and they on the same page? Because you can actually see things differently, as they realize now.
They, however, are exempt from being seen by other people
• Although they realize you and they can see outward objects differently, they still, however, like to be “invisible” so they can “attack” you.
• This shows that while they can see that you and they might see the stairs differently, they still don’t quite think you can see them with your own objective lens. They are exempt from others’ perceptions. This comes a bit later.
They absorb and repeat what they learn, comparing it to other things
• They follow along with stories as if they are watching a football game. They know all the key characters and what is going on. They compare it to other stories. They are totally into it. They clearly see it in their head well.
• They can explain back a story just told to them. You read a history story about the Mayans and ask them to summarize it. “The Mayans kept getting attacked by other armies and got weaker and weaker just like the Romans did.”
• They can think of a creative way to explain an idea such as a “constitution” to you by explaining that if two people in the house are fighting over if the lights should be on, they could put together a constitution to define rules and guide the process.
• An athletic child might watch an exercise video and then become an expert on it, going around teaching others how to do the exercises.
• They happily come over to explain to another child that to launch a drone, you hit “Launch.”
• They might expressly tell you that they love when you teach them things.
• I almost named this milestone “Explains and Evaluates Ideas.” They do that a lot at this milestone. However, I think it’s a byproduct of grappling with how people have differences in perception, which thus requires a lot of questions and explanations to figure out what we all see and know.
What is real or fake?
• They have a conscious understanding of what is fake or real. Cinderella is so FAKE. Julius Caesar actually existed. He is REAL.
• After pretending to grill with a toy grill, when they are all done, they comment, “But that grill was fake.”
• When their sibling uses a regular item, say a stick, to be something imaginative, say an “open champagne bottle,” they inform their sibling, “That’s just a stick.”
• They might also marvel that things “really did” happen. You REALLY DID put all the groceries away. Neat!
They like to lie
• They intentionally lie. This can be cute or annoying, depending on how they do it and how adults take it.
• They might push one kid and blame it on another child.
• Or they might intentionally do something, like put something in a straw, and they then put their hands in their pocket and whistle like it didn’t happen.
• They make up “lies” in their jokes and play 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.” This is much to their baby brother’s delight.
• They love to give you “tricky” problems, perhaps “tricky” math problems.
They can identify who is lying
• They can also impressively identify when characters from a story are lying.
• Say you read an ancient legend where someone is sent off to kill a baby. Another character says they did but didn’t. Before revealing that it was a lie, they can identify that the character was in fact (understandably) lying.
Wants to save everyone
• They make up a play that their baby brother was abandoned and they adopted him.
• They might get excited that you got indoor plants to “get more oxygen in the house.” They want plants ALL over the house.
• They might wonder about big things, like how many worms there are in the whole world.
• Personally, I remember fantasizing about saving every single abandoned dog and cat in the world when I was indeed about 5. Something similar seems to be going on.
Up for an adventure / fun, brave
• They love to go new places, especially where their imagination can run wild.
• They are braver about things. They might be willing to put stuff in the freezer, whereas before they found it too cold. They note how brave they are being.
• They are up for a new adventure, perhaps rolling down a grassy hill.
• They are very excited to read the next chapter or story in the book series you are reading.
• They love a nature trail where they can find new “secret paths!”
• They remembered that time you went camping and want to do it again.
• In general, they can be very interested in camping.
• They love to be given their own tokens at a venue with arcade games and allowed to do what they want.
• They want to do creative things that are literally big or, at least, tall. They might want to design a house in Minecraft with ceiling-to-floor windows.
• Or they might want to make a huge cat in Minecraft, out of something unusual, like marble.
• They might help put on a play on their own, making it come alive in a big way. As something is attacking, they go get a changing table (which can roll) and run over, “It’s the [thing] attacking!!!”
• A more analytical child might want to do a math problem where you make a number really big, such as by adding 1+1 to make 2 and then 2 + 2 to make 4 and so on.
They want to complete things
• They want to put away ALL the groceries.
• They want to clean the WHOLE house.
• They will level ALL dirt in your garden.
• They weigh in with their opinion on events as they happen.
• After they see or experience something new, they comment, “That was really neat!” It’s in how they nominate themselves as the decider of this that comes across as strikingly new and intelligent.
• After playing with a “fidget toy” or any other toy meant to soothe, they comment, “This is so satisfying.”
• As they sit next to you, they note that you two are “chilling.”
• As they make one out of sticks and balls, they comment, “A square has four sides and four corners.”
• They notice and evaluate absolutely everything while going about. As they drive in a vehicle, they comment, “Store, store. Tree, tree, tree. House. Neighborhood. Stop sign. Store.”
• They are 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.
• No, they will not be your slave!
• They hate slavery and love the heroes who fought it.
• They might have a favorite historical country or person, e.g., they love Spain or Ancient Rome. But these fell. So, they need a new favorite.
• They love giving their opinions and giving their ideas now and might be grateful to hear something like they always have the right to express themselves.
• They have thoughtful commentary on household decisions, as well. You don’t have to order dirt anymore. Your compost pile can make it!
• They might also have ideas on parenting. You wouldn’t want to teach a five year old how to be a warrior. A doctor, maybe, but not a warrior.
Two (or more) attributes can coexist
• Two attributes of something can now coexist in the same entity or action. Please note that in the previous milestone, such attributes were split.
• A balloon can be “light and big.”
• An exercise can “fun and learning.”
• They “love both hot and cold.”
• They want to be a doctor AND warrior when they grow up.
• They like to learn about homonyms, e.g., that “blue” and “blew” are different yet sound the same.
• They might draw out many emotions including sad, happy, silly, and angry, which suggests they can accept that a person can be several of these emotions at once.
• Their ideas and solutions get far more detailed from here on out. Perhaps it is because they can handle two attributes at once.
Makes up stories about providing things to people
• Towards the end of this milestone, they make up stories or inventions, and in these they seem to provide food, shelter, or furniture to help.
• They might think up a machine that can automatically serve you drinks or provide food and shelter to people.
• They might make up an elaborate story that there once was a family that had 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. It was happy then sad then happy again! And now they have furniture.
How do you know that?
• Also towards the end of this milestone, they want more solid proof of how people came to the conclusions they have or the things they have been told.
• They wonder how people derived information. How did people learn what’s inside our body?
• They like having details about things that otherwise seem hard to know. Why are our eyes brown? A science video explaining pigmentation will enchant them.
• They are critical of ideas, such as if Santa really exists. They need proof to see if he exists. Did he eat some cookies or not?
• If they watch a video that shows that a feather and a coin in a jar fall at the same rate, they investigate for themselves. After doing it over and over, feathers fall slowly, they notice.
• They might directly ask to go over which words were nouns, verbs, and adjectives. Which is the one that you can touch again?
• They ask how to spell things.
• They also might want a map to see where they are and where they are going.
Wild questions—with answers
• They have many questions imagining a different reality and, now, how it might operate.
• What if the earth was as being as the sun and the sun was as big as the earth? Well, if Jupiter replaced your moon, it would reflect so much light that police wouldn’t need a light at night to catch bad guys.
• What if we lived on Saturn? We’d have to float all the time.
• What if there was a pizza factory—for kids? They would deliver the pizza.
• What if we were made out of steel?
• At some point, they might say, “Imagine that!” literally a hundred times a day.
Surviving and Thriving
The Misbehavior and Growth of Five Year Olds
Five Year Old Milestone 7A (5.7.3-5.8.1) — Envisions Solutions and Strategies
Most Intense: 5.8.0 to 5.8.1
Irritable Period Summary
• This milestone starts with physical growth.
• Their legs get longer and skinnier.
• They are also longer from the top of their head down to their bottom.
Big, sometimes scary imaginations
• They might become distraught, imagining you might die someday
• Or they might imagine that you will be fine in old age, if only you could get really long legs.
Some jealousy and aggression
• They might get jealous of something another child has and try to destroy it, such as cutting something their sibling made out of paper.
• They might get terribly upset that they weren’t the first to find a particular thing.
• Tears up more often
• Goes back to familiar activities from when they were younger
• Wants you to watch what they watch
• They can bey VERY lovey dovey.
• Stays up late
• Might tell you they are very lonely when alone at night
• While up late, they might go on and on and on about something, like how much they love to learn from the books or videos they watch (which is highly in congruence with the milestone).
Most Intense Period
• Some jealousy or some fears; stays up late
New Abilities Summary
• They can envision (and employ) a new solution or strategy, with great detail.
• They can envision the future really well and with great detail.
Envisions a future or a new place with great detail
• They can imagine a future or something else, like where you are going, with great detail. They seem to understand so many details about this place that they worry about those details going well.
• They might know they are going to a new museum, and they are very concerned that you know how to get there.
• They are floored that their dad originally asked their mom out on a second date and mom said yes. They are floored because they realize mom could have NOT said yes and their mom and dad would have thus never married.
• They tell you they would “never marry a vampire.” You talk to them about it, and they clearly understand how bad it would be to marry someone who sucks blood.
• They make up a story about the Earth exploding, and they are worried about things like how they would get oxygen.
• They don’t want to be a “grandma” because then they would be slow.
• They are amazed by something like one tree can make many other trees, which can make many other trees, and so on. The future keeps getting better and better!
• They can be awed by many things. A dam you see is so “amazing!”
• They might literally draw a map and they do it with great detail, showing several countries in several continents.
• They are better about knowing that they are doing exactly something “in 2 days!”
• They say they are going to do something “in 6 days,” even something fun like watch a movie. Just because. They are delaying it for 6 days.
• They might want to “look older.”
• This ability to imagine a future in detail might explain why some children get so upset that you will be old someday. They can imagine what that will mean, with you having deteriorated health, etc.
Develops solutions and strategies to games and life problems
• They make up interesting solutions or strategies to games or life problems, with lots of details. For instance, they might think of a solution to catch a mouse in your house.
• They play games in a more strategic way, such as they know how to protect their pieces in Checkers.
• They make 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.
• They might sit down with a pencil and paper to figure out what 2 x 6 is.
Writes down and keeps track of their thoughts and actions
• As they come up with their ideas, they sometimes like to write them down, indeed such as how to catch a mouse.
• They might write down things like grocery lists, times when they read, or, indeed, ideas they have to solve a problem.
• They might like to use a ruler, as to make some of their drawings very nice and neat.
• A child who doesn’t write that much still might like checking things off as they do them.
Asks to play new games
• They pretty reliably ask to play new games at this milestone. They might directly ask to play checkers or the like.
• They like games with a lot of strategy and skill, like Robot Turtles, checkers, etc.
• If older kids nearby are playing Marco Polo, they surprise you by stepping up and asking to play. They reliably and adorably say “Polo” when they should.
• Pro tip: play games with a strategy. They love to flex right now so a game like Candyland might upset them, because it’s all luck.
An intense interest in numbers, puts them in “categories”
• There is a definite interest in numbers. They seem to like to put numbers in “categories,” or, rather, where the numbers “belong.”
• They might decide that children aged 1-4 can sit here and kids of other ages can sit somewhere else.
• Again, you need 5 different routes to get to the child’s bedroom who is 5, 3 routes to the child who is 3, etc.
• They might become very interested in clocks and how the numbers flip.
• They ponder how many corners a cube has. Not just a square, but a cube.
• They might be very good at multiplying 1-digit numbers, such as 2×3 and 3×3.
• They might want to actively figure out something like 2×6.
• They can handle two different dimensions and many details in them at the same time now, such as the 1s, 10s, and 100s column in a number.
Loves to learn
• They bubble about how much they love to learn. They might love to learn from videos especially, where they can absorb an enormous amount of information. They explicitly say they love watching videos, as to learn.
• They go on and on and on with what they know. If you’re moving and something is far away, it would look slow. Tigers can see well at night. Objects lose their color when lights are turned off. Etc., etc.
• Older siblings might intuitively see how interested in learning children of this age are and recommend you all learn something such as learning about all the elements. It’s a great suggestion.
Can deal with 3 (or more) things
• Before, everything was “2.” Now they start to notice 3 or more things at a time.
• They notice there are three ways out of your house: the front door, the back door, and through the garage.
• As noted, they start to ponder how many points a cube has, a shape with three dimensions.
• As noted, they put many things in categories. Things that are 1-4 go here, others go there. In other words, they deal with many numbers at once—in fact, numbers within numbers.
• They can also add numbers up to 3 digits better, such as 99 + 2.
• They can understand something like if you’re moving AND something is far away, it would appear to be moving slowly. There are 3 attributes here that they are juggling.
• That they are so interested in making sure you get directions right also shows how they can hold onto multiple elements at once. When driving you have to take many turns, go down many roads, etc. They also become interested in mazes at this age, possibly for a similar reason.
Makes up words
• They make 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
Adopts a heroic archetype
• As they get creative, they tend to adopt a heroic archetype. This is a flushed-out person that they flatter themselves to be.
• They might be a “ninja.”
• Or pretend to be Spiderman.
• They think highly of themselves. They are just as smart as Isaac Newton.
• They might adopt a hero as their own as well, such as a person who fought slavery.
• Or they make up a story about how they are a hero. Something heavy is on their leg, preventing them from running fast, but they heroically do what they have to do anyway.
• If they were half tiger, they would have night vision and could see robbers at night.
• When they get an answer to something right, they laugh and blush as if they just won an awards show.
• They are the most beautiful woman on the planet.
• Or possibly the protector of all animals
Still not entirely self-aware
• They are still not entirely self-aware. They come up to you to tell you about your surprise birthday party, not realizing they just revealed it.
Five Year Old Milestone 7B (5.8.2-5.9.0) — Ties Theories to Events
Starts: 5.8.2 for some children and 5.8.3 for others
Most Intense: 5.8.3 until 5.9.0
Irritable Period Summary
Physical growth and other issues
• This milestone starts with physical growth. I wouldn’t have identified the milestone here except the physical growth is so obvious. They lose any “little kid-ness” big time and all of a sudden look grown up. My youngest, for instance, turned into “Ed Sheeran” overnight. My daughter turned into “Kate Moss.”
• They have extra spit, which typically coincides with physical growth.
• As this milestone progresses, they become more filled out. Their feet grow and their muscles get more defined, such as the muscles in their thighs.
• Boys might show a bigger, more pronounced Adam’s apple.
• The ratio between a girl’s waist and hips gets more pronounced.
• Such growth tends to come with a demand for more food, which is why you might be getting “Mommy” treatment or “Is it done yet?” constantly about food, especially during the intense period.
Fear of abandonment
• They might become completely distraught if you so as much leave the house to get the mail, “WHERE ARE YOU GOING?”
• They get upset if they wake up and you are not there for some reason.
• They might not at all like being put in someone else’s care, with their new ways of doing things.
Purposely brings distress on themselves
• They do things in which they purposely seem to bring distress to themselves. They get into a situation that they know they won’t like, but they do it anyway.
• They intentionally fall so they can cry. They then cry, in an exaggerated way, like a younger child.
• They ask to play a game and then they wail any time anything at all bad happens to them in the game, as if it’s a concerted attack on them.
• Everything might be “so unfair!” right now. This is even after you clearly laid out what will happen and tried to accommodate them.
Intentionally picks fights
• In general, they just want to be invited to the party right now. This aggressive “energy” is obvious starting around the intense period. They insert themselves into many situations now and might intentionally pick fights.
• 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 Restaurant A over B, they declare they absolutely, uncompromisingly wanted Restaurant B. They scream about how “SO UNFAIR” it is that you are going to Restaurant A.
• They blatantly lie at times. They offer to put a movie on for their sibling, then purposely hide the remote so no one can put a movie on.
• They want their own way about many things. They want games to go a certain way, they don’t want to do what the babysitter says, and they’ll put up a fight because they don’t want to go to the restaurant you are going to.
Annoying, often aggressive, physical habits
• During the intense period, 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
• They can be in your face, annoyingly. They might hover over you, shake tables, get in your face, or keep 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 can “get bored” easily and complain about it, often.
• They might want you to be with them late at night, suggesting nightmares.
• They might keep getting out of bed.
• During the intense period, they might have nightmares, perhaps of flying uncontrollably into outer space.
• Alternatively, a child interested in this might think flying off to space is fun and exciting.
Most Intense Period
• It is a very obvious irritable period. They have an “energy” about them that is distinct and new. They all of a sudden want to go everywhere with you or their siblings, they want to play all the games, and they want some control over how everything goes.
New Abilities Summary
• They can tie theories to events, and they like verifying theories with their own experimentation.
• They can use conceptual information, such as reading a map or book, with great sophistication.
• Imaginary friends might be back.
• They might talk about an imaginary “evil” family across the street.
• They might make up a new imaginary figure, based on the current conversation. This imaginary figure might do something others want, such as get yet another imaginary friend to behave.
• They might again imagine machines that can provide food or shelter to people.
• They might again “teleport” you to places.
Uses conceptual information to help them maneuver situations readily
• Before they could envision a solution or future event with great detail, such as how you might get to a place you have to drive to. Now they can use conceptual information rather handily to guide them or explain what is happening.
• They are, for instance, exceedingly good at reading maps. They read a map for the first time ever, say when you are at a children’s museum. They impressively want to know about that one room they haven’t been to, as found on the map. They are right that they have been to every room except that one.
• They are good at reading information and using it. Someone says some machine (say at a science museum) might be over their head, as they are too young for it. They prove everyone wrong by grabbing the controls to said machine, reading the instructions, and operating it well.
• If they know how to get around somewhere and think you don’t, they become your mentor. Say they went to a store with their dad. When they take you, they are the tour guide of this new store. Because you’ve never been to Home Depot.
• If you are doing math problems with them on paper, they take over and write the problems down themselves.
• They want conceptual aids to help them understand what they are learning about. They might ask to see a map to see where things are that they are reading about, such as where India is compared to China.
• A child into it might love looking through the periodic table of elements, learning about each element.
• They can understand the concept of DNA, a sort of “map” to create animals.
• They give a heartfelt thank you for teaching them things, such as how to use water paint. They now have abstract information that they can apply to a problem they are currently trying to solve.
• They ask to learn things and have thoughts on what they should learn. They should learn to cook, because that will help them later in life.
Ties theory to events
• They can tie the theories they have to the events they see live.
• They might say, “I know the Earth is curved because when I look in the distance, I stop seeing it.” They likely heard this theory elsewhere, but now their own eyes verify it.
• If they see a balloon falling from the ceiling, they note, as has been explained to them, “The balloon is falling because it is losing gas.”
• Whatever theory they hear FIRST tends to be king. If one book says the skin has 3 layers and then another book says the skin has 2 layers, this latter book is patently false.
• They can correlate that X, Y, and Z songs are all sung by the same band. As such they can tie these events, the songs, to the band, a sort of abstract idea.
• They impressively have knowledge about anything they see or hear. If they see a turtle, they show they know all about turtles. If asked what bugs glow, they name several. If you mention fire, they know a few fire hazards that you should avoid, e.g., leaving a stove burner on.
• They might take an interest in a mystery story, such as Encyclopedia Brown, in which you piece together clues to figure out what happened.
• 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. They apply math.
• By the way, you can tell them about new brain growth now! They might understand these “crazy brain things,” and that they go through them. They tie the idea to something real—themselves!
Comes up with their own theories and discoveries
• They also come up with their own theories, which they think are undoubtedly correct. If you put an egg on a fire, it would explode.
• If they discover something new, they think they are the first to ever do such. If they hear a song for the first time ever, they can’t wait to tell their brother, who undoubtedly has never heard this song yet (their brother has).
Finds information on their own, loves to experiment
• They can find information on their own. If asked about something, they can look up the answer in the book they are reading.
• If they learned what “percentages” are, they go and put on an old video they remembered, which said the atmosphere is made up of 21% oxygen. They are very excited that they now know what this actually means.
• When they get a book about science experiments, they want to try all of them right away.
• They investigate things and like doing experiments. They might want to drop balls of different sizes to see what sound they make. Or they want to know what happens when cars go down the stairs.
• They love playing with a calculator, punching in equations and seeing the resultant answer.
Can “brainstorm” solutions
• They have strong, creative ideas now, that are not just ideas but theories. They can now “brainstorm” solutions to life problems. In other words, they tie the solution they come up with to a life problem.
• You sit them down to discuss how to resolve an issue with their babysitter. One of their solutions is, “I know! Let’s trick the babysitter!”
• You overhear them giggling uproariously as their dad tells them something, “That is going to be a REALLY BAD IDEA!!”
• Their ideas and explanations have details. They might tell you, “Ok, mom I’m going to break it down for you.”
Exact in what they do
• They are stunningly exact in the projects they take on.
• They are impressively good at focusing a microscope to see the resultant picture with clarity.
• They put a ton of thought into getting things exactly right, such as how to set up three chairs in a Three Little Bears play: too tall, too wide, just right.
• As they do watercolors, they blend two or more colors together to get the skin tone of someone exactly right.
• They are very good at using a calculator, pushing the buttons they want to and not the ones they don’t. They can fix their mistakes, too, such as hitting “Backspace” to delete characters.
• They pack the exact amount of brown sugar needed to bake cookies.
• They like copying words and writing letters neatly.
Makes or designs things, with intention
• They purposely design a flower arrangement, “These flowers are going to be on the outside.”
• They design their own outfit or look. They put lipstick on, wear a purse, and hang their shirt off their shoulders.
• They might take the plastic shopping bag you got and cut it up to turn it into a fashionable shirt.
• They might make their own necklace.
• They might love logic games such as “Plumber MM” on tablets, in which you have to arrange pipes to let water flow. They are exceptionally fast at it.
• They are stunningly fast at solving logic problems. A highly analytical child might notice that the pattern in a logic problem was that the number listed correlated to how many 90-degree angles were in each shape.
• They are faster at certain games or logic puzzles than you are.
• If reading, they can easily read words with 8+ letters, such as “progress” or “delicious.”
• If reading and interested (and not all kids are), they are capable of reading fluently, such as several pages of a book with several paragraphs per page
Considers two dimensions while coming up with a solution
• Before they could notice that two otherwise seeming contradictory attributes can exist in one object, e.g., a balloon can be “light and big.” Now they apply two competing requirements or qualities to a solution.
• For instance, in a life situation we might want to get something fast—but without getting caught.
• They might say something like “Mommy, I am beautiful. But I am also DANGEROUS. So my beauty is a TRICK!” There are two separate but related qualities about a person here: beauty and dangerousness.
• Something can “look cheap” but “it isn’t cheap at all!”
• They can justify the pros and cons of two different materials which have conflicting attributes and which they would use. Paper is light but can blow away. Stone is heavy but it’s hard to carve into it.
• They can also do two mechanical things at once. They can hold down one part of the object to make another part work. For instance, they can hold the lock to a fire starter while also pushing it on, to light the flame.
• Topics such as reproduction might totally fascinate them. Two different beings come together to make a totally new animal. Have fun with this. What would happen if a lion and bird combined? Why do they look the way they do?
Makes up games and jokes
• They might make up games. Perhaps they are “Zen” while in the pool and someone has to try to ruin their Zen.
• Or perhaps they make up a game involving superheroes.
• If they hear what a Russian reverse joke is, they can make up their own. “In Soviet Russia, games play you!”
• They get that you are telling Knock, Knock jokes and they make up their own, “Knock, knock.” “Who’s there?” “Bushes.” “Bushes who?” “Bushes are sus.” It’s that they stepped up, did it, bantered back and forth, and made up a joke intended to elicit laughs that is of note.
Interested in very small amounts of time
• They notice small increments of time.
• They are very interested in what words like “instant” means. It means something happens right away!?
• They might think about things like how many “milliseconds” it takes to do something.
• They take pride that they “made up their mind in 3 seconds!”
• They might purposely change their mind last minute, as if noticing how quickly they can turn events around.
• They might walk very slowly on purpose, because it’s funny.
Likes the thought of powerful “talismans”
• They like the thought that some object or person is going to turbo charge how well they do in life, as a talisman, which is thought to bring luck or magic, is thought to do.
• They might love the idea of getting wishes from a genie or having a big strong person, like a genie, on their side.
• Similarly, they might like something that makes them feel strong, powerful, or interesting, like having a shark tooth on a necklace.
• Might want to be a “God,” like a “Goddess of Beauty” or a “Math God.”
• They might like playing with a toy gun for similar reasons: it makes them feel powerful.
Shockingly wants to try new things
• They all of a sudden want to go to a pool party you go to every week. Previously they wanted to stay home (and did). Now they want to go!
• They absolutely will want to play any game you get out.
• They are more adventurous in, say, a pool. However, beware. If older kids are going into the deep end of a swimming pool, they might try to follow.
• They might make their own sandwich.
• Again, wants to try all the science experiment and all the games.
• Tries new flavors of food, such as chocolate instead of vanilla
Plays competitively with other children
• The length that they play and compete with other children increases greatly.
• They can play competitive games for a long time with other children, such as on a tablet.
• They might do “drawing challenges” with other children, where they think of an object to draw, and they both draw it.
Lots of prank pulling
• They pull lots of pranks. They put the skin of a chickpea on their nose, eats it, and tells you they are eating their own skin.
• They make up the prank to go around high fiving people with flour on their hand.
• They might “photo bomb” a picture you are taking, such as by showing up with whipped cream on their chin
• Or they turn around and showing their butt before you take the photo.
• Actually, they are guaranteed to photo bomb pictures.
• They have tremendous personality. They slyly look at you when they think they are doing something wrong.
• As noted, they hang their shirt off their shoulder.
• As noted, they are going to “break things down” for you.
• You ask them to do things and they nonchalantly shrug “sure.”
Still thinks they can magically make you not see them
• They think they can do things without you seeing them. They rearrange a bunch of couch cushions and then hide under them. They slyly ask you, “Do you see what happened to the couch cushions?” When they go to do it again, they wave their hands at you, “Don’t look at me! Don’t look at me!”
• 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?
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
• They stick with learning something, perhaps a new mechanical toy that is tricky to operate.
• Interested in keeping areas around them clean
• Interested in many chores such as laundry and making their own sandwich
Wild “what if” questions
• They can think of something like, “what would happen if I didn’t have skin?”
• Or, “What if Iron Man were Tree Man?”
• What if it rained houses?
• They seem to especially like the idea of things “raining,” such as “raining tacos” or maybe “raining rocks” when they are at a beach or creek.
• As they can tie theories to events, they get the moral of the story better. They are less distracted by silliness.
• 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 this causes him to get eaten.
• When asked if they are happy and know it to clap their hands, they go on an angry rampage. It’s funny. And—they also obviously get the point.
• They are reflective about their own behavior or character.
• As they make a move in checkers, they say, with a bit of swag, “Operation smart move!”
• They are proud of themselves that they “didn’t dilly daddle!”
• They are better about not internalizing shame as much (if they were prone to it previously).
• After making one, they flatter themselves as now good at making paper airplanes.
• They have decided that they want to be a cook, not a doctor, when they grow up.
• Alternatively, they might slap themselves on the forehead when they think they did something silly.
Five Year Old Milestone 8 (5.9.3-5.10.0) — Ambient Environment—That They Are In!
Most intense: A few days before 5.9.4 to 5.9.4
Irritable Period Summary
Head shape change, physical growth, sleep issues
• If your child is prone to showing it, there is a huge head shape bulge.
• They physically grow.
• They might be up insanely late at night. Physical growth often coincides with sleep issues.
• They might just suddenly fall asleep.
Some intense, aggressive energy
• This milestone isn’t terribly long but there might be some intense, possibly aggressive energy there:
o They might lie to get their own way. They lie to say they had something first, when they didn’t.
o Still plays tricks, such as hiding their things under towels
o They might be a bit physically aggressive.
• Any of this may cause big meltdowns
Awareness of abandonment
• They are aware of being maliciously left out by other children. They pick up on the fact that another child is playing games with them and purposely lying to leave them out of play.
• They become hysterical if you leave to go somewhere without them, say on a walk.
• It can be mild or intense, depending on how many situations a child is put in. They are aware they can be left out, can lie to get their own way, etc., so it really depends on the situations they are in.
New Abilities Summary
• Their ability to remember things day after day improves markedly. They can also, as such, keep up with things over a period of days.
• They greatly notice the larger, ambient environment. They also see themselves as a player in that larger environment.
Incredible attention span, can follow things for hours and over days
• They can remember information day after day.
• They can follow a chapter book over a few days, remembering what happened. They can handle a book at about the level of Wizard of Oz or any other book that is about 15-25 short chapters long in which there is a bigger, exciting point. They can come back to it each night.
• Or they might put on a 7-part play with their brother, about some topic, that they work on all day.
• They like to finish books and keep tabs on where they are in the book. They might skip chapters to announce they have finished a book.
Great memory day after day
• When you are reading to them and ask if they remember something you read the other day, they marvel, “Yes! I do remember that!”
• They easily remember what is said day to day. Something reminds them of something they were promised and they pipe in that they were in fact promised a couple of things.
• They might directly tell you how they process their thoughts. Their thoughts are being “cut” and are “following behind them,” because it’s their “memories.” This shows they not just have memory; they are aware of memory. Some children are highly intuitive like this about how all of this operates. Your memories really are “behind” you.
• They just got done being able to tie several events to a particular theory. Perhaps this ability to categorize things into one idea helps them develop persistent day-to-day memory.
Notices the ambient environment
• 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 jazz music. They are into the romance of it.
• They like picnics—in the dark.
• They don’t want you to turn the radio off in the car. They were, while lost in their thoughts, totally into the song.
• They are surprisingly into a movie like Grease and seem to like the idea of being a Pink Lady or T-Bird.
• They are aware of the hilarity that is ensuing. When playing a murder mystery game, they jokingly yell to their sibling, “MURDERER!”
• They might have a totally consuming giggle fit over something that happened in a game.
• They might like to follow along with someone doing a dance, especially if it’s a popular entertainer who’s all the rage. They are thus aware of what is “popular.”
Aware of themselves in the ambient environment
• Before, they were amazed that you could know it was them even though they were covered by something. They tied events to theories but they themselves were exempt from this, as if they could, at will, become invisible.
• Now they realize they are in the environment and everyone can see it is them. It’s as if they see life as a chess game and they realize they are now a player in the game. This is a definite higher self-awareness.
• They “act the part.” They act appropriately, given their role.
• They are dressed up as a ninja. You shouldn’t take a picture of them. Because ninjas aren’t supposed to be seen.
• They sneak up on you, quietly, as a ninja.
• They can more convincingly “play dead” or pose in any way that shows they know what is going on and they are participating in it.
• You can ask them to “look smart” and they do.
• They identify themselves as telling a joke now.
• They are stunned you have also heard a song they thought they were the first to hear, ever. They are aware you actually can know things, even things they thought only they could see, hear, experience, or conclude.
• They realize you can truly “see” them, no matter how much they try to trick you (and tricking you is what they’ve been doing all through age 5). They are stunned you knew that one thing that they thought only they thought or saw. You can see things—including them. In other words, they further realize you have your own perceptions.
• That they are painfully aware when others leave them out socially shows they are more self-aware as well. They realize the issue might be that the other person doesn’t like them or such.
Asks how rules affect them
• In addition to noticing the ambient environment, they might also take note of official morals, norms, laws, etc., and begin to ponder how it affects them.
• When learning about moral codes, other religions, etc., they might be stunned at what punishments used to be doled out. They might ask you, “Do we have to follow cruel rules?” They understand the outer environment and they are very well aware that they are subject to how this outer environment operates.
• 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.
Participates in their environment
• They might clean up their room on their own, knowing that guests are coming. This shows how they know how they fit in with the overall environment.
• They directly ask you, “Do you appreciate when I help you clean a room?” They are aware they are acting in this environment.
• They are far more enthusiastic to participate in something like a soccer game. They want to be in there, in the action.
Aware that they are learning itself
• Again, they have a higher self-awareness. They don’t just learn. They are aware they are learning.
• 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 might admonish you that you should go learn.
• As noted, they will actively teach younger siblings now, too.
• They can list out their thoughts in an enumerated way. If you ask what 3 wishes they would want from a genie, they generate a list of 3.
• Or, to take care of a cat they tell you that you need to 1) feed it 2) litter train it 3) play with it, etc.
• They go on and on about how “There are 3 types of molten…”
• They can give detailed instructions to a younger sibling trying to do something, such as put together train tracks. They can be very patient and articulate in how they give the lesson.
Loves to get their mind around “the big picture”
• They are very appreciative of anything that helps them size up what they know.
• They might like to see the bigger picture of what they are doing. They might for instance like a timeline corresponding with what they are reading, say history. The timeline allows them to see where they are now compared to past stories.
• Or they love a Boy/Girl Scout merit badge (or something similar, including something homemade), showing things they’ve done so far.
A great actor
• They can reenact something, such as from a story, with stunning detail, such as a very perfected bow “like a prince” with full earnestness.
• Or they reenact what a weird character from a book looks like, such as a hammerhead shark with a short, fat, flat head
• As noted, they can convincingly “play dead” or freeze in a position to be funny.
Realism about things in fantasy or imagination
• They can accept that some stories are fake. This might be one of the reasons they are willing to listen to stories for longer. They might even directly ask, “This is fake, right?” as they listen to, say, Greek tragedies.
• They might verbally state they are ok with watching a movie like Monsters, Inc., because they know the monsters are fake.
• They probably still believe in Santa but they sure are suspicious about how he gets into your house. You don’t even have a chimney!
• However, actual scary things might upset them on a deeper level. For instance, hearing that people used to be slaves might disturb them greatly. They can still handle it, but they are, appropriately, rattled by it. Perhaps it is yet more REAL to them. They like hearing stories of heroes who righted such wrongs.
• They also seem to have realism about their own imaginations. They “throw tsunamis” at you, but they seem to know it’s just imagination. Before, they were all consumed by such things and seemed to believe their imaginations.
Five Year Old Milestone 9 (5.10.1-5.10.3)—Moral Reasoning
Most intense: 5.10.1 – 5.10.3
Irritable Period Summary
Scatter-brained, easily disoriented
• Their short-term memory becomes bad. They might keep forgetting something you just said to them or taught them.
• They can become very absent-minded. They want to write down the number 4,000 but they write down 500.
• If walking up a set of stairs, they might get very uneasy and disoriented.
• You ask if their brain is going crazy and they laugh, “Yes!”
• They might just run and run and run.
Harsh, bold, assertive
• They can get really harsh and blunt. You don’t get them out of their seat quick enough and they yell, “IS IT REALLY THAT HARD?”
• They might call you or others “stupid” or they call their siblings “loud” or “mean.”
• They might rank you and others in order of their favorite person.
• They are bolder about telling their siblings to get their own popcorn.
• They stomp off if they lose a game or you tell them no.
• They get upset if you don’t let them win a game.
• They might get really mad you asked them to brush their teeth, such a “BORING” thing.
• They can just be difficult, in general.
• They can be a bit clingy and demanding of your time.
• Surprisingly, even though they are markedly more mature and even harsh, there is still a strong fear of abandonment. They might become so hysterical that you weren’t there when they woke up that they throw up.
Blatantly lies to monopolize your time
• They blatantly lie to get your time. Say they want more time on their tablet. They know you’ll stick around if they are showing you something. So, they take forever to show you the thing. They are purposely dragging it out so they get more time on their tablet.
• Or say a parent is giving piggyback rides. They might want to monopolize their parent’s time by always being the one to get a piggyback ride. They say they “didn’t get a turn,” when they did. They just want to be the only one getting a turn.
• They otherwise just outright lie at times.
• Note that in the next mile they become overly concerned that everyone gets a fair turn. So, this behavior is very temporary.
Sleep issues, nightmares
• They might be up late. You can see the wheels turning. Too much is on their mind to sleep.
• They might have nightmares.
• They might talk in their sleep, and they seem distressed. In their sleep, they worry out loud, “How are we going to survive?”
• They might get up particularly early and want to be with you.
• They get yet more muscular.
• Might eat more
• Towards the end of the milestone, they get extra sensitive.
• Stepping on a sharp object makes them scream to high heavens about it.
• A scratchy thing on their teddy bear bothers them greatly.
• They can be very meltdown-y.
• As noted, they can get so upset that they throw up.
• They might be far more prone to various illness.
• In the previous milestone, they understood the bigger environment, and morals/ rules. Now they can debate nuanced details about these theories and moral codes.
• Note that some children are more interested in what rules they have to follow whereas other children are more interested in what they can accomplish in an environment. But the larger environment and specifically their role in it seems central to this milestone.
• Their day-to-day memory increases. Before they could follow information over days. Now they add great detail and nuance to what they notice day-to-day.
• Even if they don’t outright discuss morality, they themselves become calmer and more mature in many situations. They become more independent, sometimes even demure and sophisticated. Little kid silliness is being shed big time.
Moral complexity and reasoning
• Before, they realized there is a bigger environment that has its own rules and functioning. They realized they are a “player” in that environment. Now they are sorting out what rules are what and how they have to act in this or other environments. They have details, nuance, justifications, and reasons for how they think and what they do.
• They want to know if they will have to follow these rules and how they would handle any of it, especially if the rules are complicated or they disagree with them. They ask very specific questions. Is giving a bully your lunch money one of the rules? Because they don’t want to do that.
• Rules can be “frustrating.” Who wants to have to lie to save a baby from dying, as is the story in some ancient legends? Surely God would send a note down saying this is Ok.
• They completely despise that the Spartans sent boys off to war at age 7. They think of ways that they would have gotten out of what they perceive as their cruel and austere rules.
• They want to know all the rules of something, such as all the rules of a school, all the 10 commandments, etc.
• They justify their behavior. They don’t just ask for money. They ask for it by explaining they need x, y, and z.
• They might say, “I am still learning how to be a good boy.”
• Alternatively, some children might want to focus on what they can accomplish within the bigger environment. They might throw their everything into learning how to be a cook.
• You might read the same story from two different sources now or read the book and watch the movie. Note how the same story is told slightly differently. They likely, after getting drawn into the story, will willingly watch.
Independent, adult-like vitality
• They 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, becoming a jiujitsu champion, or a social butterfly.
• They 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 are independent but you start to lose some “mommy” power. They won’t go to bed anymore just with the mere promise of being able to read with your or snuggle with you. They also might not come find you first thing in the morning anymore. They instead go do what they want.
Impressive day-to-day memory
• Before they could somewhat reliably remember random things from a bit ago. Their long-term memory was coming in. Now they can consistently remember the details of things day after day.
• They can give a full dissertation on a topic, 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 are capable of noticing the nuanced details about how people’s behavior changes over time, e.g., “My sister is becoming less bossy but she is still awkward.” They give examples proving their point.
• If they didn’t see their dad before they went to bed nor when he woke up, they conclude dad must have never come to bed. Their ability to hold on to details day after day is impressive.
• When they enter a grocery store, they impressively announce, “Cookies are in aisle 5!”
• They remember things you did in the past and actively ask to do them again. Perhaps they want to go back to that book series that you used to read.
• Or perhaps there was a fun math game you did before that they want to try their hand at again.
• They become genuinely interested in things in which there are lots of details to learn.
• They get super into a movie, watching the whole thing, understanding all of the humor in it. They delight that you or others are watching the movie too.
• They want to sit and learn all about how to play a new game.
• They are legitimately interested in the drawings their sister made.
• They might ask that you get inquisitive about them too. They make up a game where you have to “Guess Their Favorite Things.”
• They ask questions about what they are learning.
• They are moved by art. A painting of a mom with child rivets them.
• They like to look at charts or other material that helps them learn.
• They might read a few pages out of a chapter book.
• They again might ask to read a particular book series or play a game they remember from months ago.
• There is a very real change from their former, cheeky, prank pulling self to someone more demure, deliberate, and sophisticated. They no longer turn around and show you their butt when you count to three to take a photo. They pose nicely.
• They can be markedly mature. 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 can sit patiently while you read a book. This is instead of running around in excitement because of the fun and drama that is the book, like they used to.
• They can play a very convincing character in a play, such as Little Miss Muffet.
• When in character, say when dressed up in a costume, they move slowly, deliberately, and with intention.
• They sit with you, snuggled, after seeing a painting showing a mommy and child like that.
• They get observational humor and they might make their own. Their sister asks what zombies eat. In the most deadpan way, they inform her, “They nibble through your head and eat brains.”
• They come up to tell you they are going to show you something, “But it has a little bit of a twist!” They totally command the situation—and whatever it is, it has a twist.
• They love being dressed up in a costume or something meaningful, perhaps a nightie passed down from someone.
• They purposely put their shirt on backwards, to be stylish.
Likes to have secrets
• 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 whisper things to you a lot or give the most heartfelt, frame worthy hugs.
• Lots of things are in their mind, and they rightfully belong there. It’s theirs!
Wants to step up and prove themselves
• They step up and play games with the intent to win, such as a math game, Tic Tac Toe, or Uno.
• They want to win and might get upset if you don’t let them win.
• I recommend just letting them win at this age. By age 7-1/2 they will be a very formidable competitor who actually gets mad if you go easy on them. By 8-1/2, they’ll be able to beat you at games.
• They take the initiative to do a jigsaw puzzle on their own and show interest in doing a very large one, perhaps 300 pieces.
• Or they want to start a business. They think of many specific things about it, such as how much materials will cost. They are otherwise very excited to sell their “mini pencils” (toothpicks slathered in food dye.)
• They willingly take a class and they want to do well in it.
• They might verbally state that they “love to test” things.
• They might ask you to teach them a particular skill.
• Younger siblings might show they want to keep up with older siblings, proving they are just as big and independent.
• Children who are the oldest, on the other hand, might show they want to follow a set of rules / ideals, proving they can live up to it.
Fluid about mistakes
• They want to step up and do what’s right or pursue a goal, and they are very fluid about it. They have a healthy relationship to mistakes.
• They can also improvise solutions. If they are writing on paper and make a mistake, they might just turn the paper over.
Confusion about things only meant to be abstract representations
• One thing I find so interesting about them now is they confuse something that is meant to be a representation of something as being the real thing.
• Say you see the real-life replica of the Parthenon in Nashville, TN. You explain it’s a replica, but they still comment, “The Greeks were very fast at conquering Nashville.”
• Or a movie shows a Saturn V rocket in a crater of the moon, to give a sense of scale, which is explicitly explained as such. When done they comment, “Someone forgot their rocket on the moon.”
• If you give them a dress they love, they are convinced you personally made it for them, even though you tell them you didn’t.
Very strong in math and logic skills
• They are impressive in their math skills.
• Their older sibling tries to trick them with a math problem that they don’t think they’ll get. They shoot back with the right answer.
• They can keep up with explanations about numbers lines or Roman numerals.
• If given several playing cards numbered 1 – 10 they can pick out which ones add up to 10.
• Some children can multiply up to about 5 x 5.
• They can be very good at a game relying on inference and logic, such as Mastermind.
Likes to draw
• They like to draw and may express an interest in drawing something specific or taking a class.
• They like to write or copy letters.
Five Year Old Milestone 10 (5.11.1-5.11.3)—Deep Compassion and Responsibility
Starts: Between 5.11.1 and 5.11.2
Most Intense: Towards the beginning
Irritable Period Summary
• They can become sensitive, especially to physical sensation. The restaurant is too loud, the seat is too cold.
• Needs long and meaningful hugs at times
Nightmares and major sleep disruptions
• They have nightmares.
• They also might actively worry now about getting nightmares at night.
• There are major sleep disruptions. They might kick in bed or constantly shake their leg over a period of 1 or 2 nights.
• They might get up extremely early in the morning. As a result, they might fall asleep during the day.
• Little cements my belief further that mental growth is initiated by dreams than how overtaken they get by something in their sleep at this milestone.
Wants things to go well and be fair (which can cause problems at first)
• They are very, very concerned that others are treated fairly and this can cause problems.
• For instance, they might become upset if someone else, such as their baby brother, misses a turn when playing a game.
• They might become exasperated if things don’t seem to be going well, such as 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.
• They can become totally belligerent. They don’t want to do things and are stubborn.
• This can cause problems when they do it in a crowded or dangerous place, such as a crowded restaurant or parking lot.
• They are more playfully aggressive in how they interact with others. They might poke their siblings or the like.
• They might “harass” you such as repeatedly hitting your butt. This is a most potentially annoying behavior, especially if in public!
• Some children seem to have some energy to get out, and they do it perhaps by rocking in a (non-rocking) chair or swinging on a swing a lot.
• Completely distraught over the thought that they might die
• Extremely upset if they find out someone dies, including a character in a movie
• They might be concerned about death, and of others, especially the elderly
• Or they might nonchalantly ask, “Are you scared of bad monsters? How about good monsters?”
• They get tall and skinny.
• I don’t know if they are larger, but their eyes appear larger.
• Nightmares, belligerent, playfully aggressive
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.
• They move from seeing themselves as someone who has to learn to navigate the rules to someone who wants everyone to be able to work well in any given system.
• They become very present, fluent, exuberant and active in social systems. They step up and play games, want to win, have funny comments in-the-moment, etc.
• They also develop the mental ability of “conservation,” which is that an object stays the same size, even if it changes shape. It seems that their new mental independence contributes to this.
• They are very mentally independent. There is a quality to them where it feels like if they were to come face-to-face with someone robbing their house in the middle of the night, they would see it and know exactly what’s going on, even if quietly.
• They can make decisions about how to behave on their own, entirely independent of anyone else. They wake up in the middle of the night and put on the TV. They realize everyone is sleeping, so they set the volume really low. They are exceedingly proud that they did this.
• They get jokes, on their own. Someone abruptly makes a joke about going to “Uranus.” Other kids burst out laughing. They look around…someone…actually…oh my. Someone actually said that. They buckle over laughing, too.
• Entirely on their own initiative they say, “I love you.”
• They have lots of “secrets” and “strategies” in their mind now. At the last milestone they “kept their best secrets to themselves.” Now they implement these ideas, quietly, on their own.
Highly considerate, compassionate, and responsible
• They are highly considerate and compassionate and want to make sure things go well for everyone.
• They make sure everyone has a turn when playing games, including their stuffed animals.
• They see a mess and clean it up entirely on their own initiative. They even say this out of concern for others, such as they don’t want others to trip.
• As noted, they might keep the volume of the TV down really low, in consideration of others.
• They politely say “thank you” a lot more.
• They give their sibling a hug and say they’ll miss them if they go on an overnight trip.
• Super into hugging, carrying, and taking care of small children
Wants logistics to go well
• They are very aware of the entire environment and who’s in it. They want the logistics of everything to go well.
• They become worried that they might be late somewhere.
• They become worried that they might lose their jacket when they go somewhere.
• They are great helpers when doing household chores. They can get all the socks in the laundry basket, all the games on the game shelf, etc.
Has better strategy, identifies strategies themselves
• They have better strategy itself when playing games and they can identify the strategy as such.
• They have better and even more aggressive strategy when playing board or other games. They can easily see several moves ahead of their current move.
• They hold on to several competing requirements when playing games. They know, for instance, that when playing checkers they must protect their piece while also advancing their pieces.
• In general, they can crush it at games with simple strategy, as well as some video games.
• They don’t just play with better strategy, they also identify strategies as such. They might tell you, “I see the strategy you are using,” as they play Connect Four against you. They then actively disrupt your strategy.
• A cheekier child might tell you to look the other way and then they trick you in a game. They bubble over that they did that to you. It’s that they identify that they used this strategy that that is of note.
• They delight in other people’s “genius” ideas.
• They have many “suggestions” and “smart ideas” now. Their “suggestion” to you, as they call it, is to not go out in the rain next time.
Compares high level ideas to each other
• 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.
• They can relate that a love triangle in one movie, such as Belle, Gaston, and the Beast, is just like a love triangle in another movie.
• They argue that gold is not an element. The elements are air, water, earth, and fire.
• They can be very detailed in what they relate. In reading Captain Underpants, they see a picture of a toilet and remember, “That’s the Turbo Toilet 2000.” They remember the exact numbers.
• They impressively tell you that pushing to get a swing going is a “force.” They were eavesdropping on the lessons you did with their older siblings about physics. They, as such, can compare an idea taught to them to something live.
Picks up on moral and other themes and weighs in with their opinion
• They can pick up on the moral of a story by themselves. They also judge and give their opinion on these ideas.
• They can pick up on the moral theme of a story by themselves. About Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, they say, “Charlie was good. He gave the chocolate back.”
• They can weigh in with their opinion on the morality of something. When they learn about apple trees, they realize one can get apples for free in nature. So why do we have to pay for them at the store? They note, “So basically they are scamming us.”
• They might 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 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.”
• They are self-reflective in their environment. After they lose their shoe when running, they sit down, collect themselves, and then say calmly and thoughtfully, “I should be more careful next time.”
Can answer open-ended questions, do open-ended projects, and starts to understand probability
• 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 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 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?”
• They can work with negative numbers. If previously shown a number line explaining the concept, they can add -1 and 58 and get 57. This is quite advanced. They can deal with a totally theoretical concept of “-1.”
• They can do open-ended problems better such as “make an animal shape out of these tangrams.”
• They come up with their own deals. If you win, you get their cat. If they win, they get your toy gun. The trick is they can get their cat back with the toy gun.
• They can understand probability. They agree that there is probably someone in the world who has the same name as them.
• They become more academic. With a pen in hand, pointing to things, they ponder over and ask questions about something they are looking at.
• They handily do something like count how many letters are in a word. They could do this before; it’s just very effortless now.
• They might ask about facts and figures like, “When did the Greek civilization end?”
• They like to write letters.
• Shows an interest in drawing well, such as drawing a cat.
Likes worksheet work
• They like to do worksheet work and show they are the master at it.
• If given a sentence with a mistake, they like to find the mistake.
• They can identify a noun or verb in a simple sentence.
• They can read a sheet on, say, apostrophes, and understand it.
• They notice that “fun” is in “funny.”
• They can even suggest a way to word a sentence better, if they see one that is confusing or worded poorly.
• Doing this work, where they find the noun or the mistake in the sentence seems to be like a fun mystery or puzzle to them. They enjoy proving how smart they are.
Fluid and present in their environment
• Before they thought they could become sort of “invisible” at will. Now not only do they understand they are a “player” in the environment and that people can see them, they are very fluid, present and even “meta” about being in the environment.
• When you suggest going to the pool, their stuffed kitty quickly says “Meow!?” Because cats hate water.
• If they are playing a game and you ask them to come do something, they say, “Um, I’m currently playing a game.” It’s the “currently” that gets me.
• If they pretend to go into battle, they put a mask on—so they aren’t recognizable. They fully well know they are recognizable now. Again, before they thought they were sort of invisible. Now, well, they know how to properly show up for battle!
Exuberant, throws themselves into their environment
• They are just very “in” their environment. They step up and play games now, get the in-the-moment humor of a situation, add to the humor, etc. All skills come together now: they follow things day-to-day, they are in the moment, they understand the logistics of the environment, etc.
• As such, they might go around any environment to see what they CAN’T do. Because the answer to that is NOTHING. Slide on a slide—no problem. Hang on rings—no problems. Pick up all the trash—no problem.
• They step up and play games with verve now. They like to increase their “rank” in games. They like to banter back and forth when playing games. They are just very different.
• They might go and get a book by themselves and read it out loud. They get through ¼ of a book of a child’s story, such as Pinocchio.
• They carry on ALL day in fantasy play with their sibling.
• They might do something exceedingly responsible and leader-like. If they are capable of reading, they might take over an activity among other children, such as directing them in a scavenger hunt.
• They put their whole body into something simple, like a simple sewing toy.
• Or, as they walk around holding tennis rackets, they walk around as if they are “the man.”
• They “totally dominate” things. Such as simply planting seeds in the ground.
• They might start talking about “punishing” people. This sense of justice grows in later milestones.
• They pummel their stuffed animal with questions: do you have skin? Can you walk? Can you draw things?
• They also have great “scanning” ability (their word). They can scan and find any trash in the park. They also get excited to look for things, say yellow and red leaves.
• Pay attention to how they throw themselves into the environment: Do they take leadership over other children? Do they want to do physical challenges? Do they want to draw? It’s a great clue to the skills they have and might want to develop over the next several years.
Loves to increase in rank at games
• They love to win and they might be exceedingly good at games and video games to the point that they really throw themselves into the games.
• They love to go up higher in ranks or make “muno” (money) in their games.
• If they get badges for doing something, say every time they cook something, they might ask to do more of that so they can get more badges.
• They might say they are “dominating” at a game or love to be the “master” at something. They ooze confidence.
Gendered observations and play
• When they read history, as a girl, they ask, “Where are all the GIRLS!?” They aren’t wrong.
• They want to know why boys can take off their shirts but not girls.
• A new stuffed animal that they get might become another stuffed animal’s “boyfriend.”
• The stories they like to read probably reflect who they are as a person. They prefer stories with someone similar to them: the same gender, same personality, etc.
Willful control over their thoughts
• They are capable of “pushing away” their memories if they don’t want to have something in their mind. They actively say they are doing as much now.
• They know their birthday is coming up on X date. But they want it to be a 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 don’t want to think about a particular thing because they know it will give them nightmares at night.
• This willful control over their thoughts seems big to me
• They can do much more complicated problems, such as 55 + 56 = 111 or 98 + 3 = 102. 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.
• They can count money that adds up to over $100.
• They might like to “reverse” numbers, such as 47 becomes 74.
• They like to be peppered with many math problems, such as 30 – 8 and 22 + 2 and so on. A fun way to do this is to ask them all the ways to get to a number, such as 24.
• They can understand negative numbers. You show how to do negative numbers by using a number line. A few days later they spontaneously say that -1 + 58 is 57.
• Understanding negative numbers also shows how they see what is not there better, where they can understand probability, dealing with concepts that exist out in the world that they can’t personally see.
• They develop 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 wider container. Ask which has more water: the cup, the bowl, or are they the same? They might get the answer correct now.
• 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 children, at first went to say the more intuitive answer. For instance, that the wide bowl had more water or that the row with the spread-out coins had more coins. But they all asked a question before answering the question, e.g., “Are you asking me which is longer or which has more?”
• Their mind is incredibly independent now. It is as if, indeed, their rational mind can observe itself before it goes to do its work, e.g., it’s not pure intuition or imagination anymore.
• That they also developed “willful control over their thoughts,” as described, seems relevant to me in this new skill of conservation.
• They can also now answer if something should be measured as length, width, or volume.
• 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.
Six Year Old Milestone 1 (6.0.1-6.0.2)—“Masculine” Surge
Most intense: It goes from a “bit” bad to really bad a few (2-4) days in.
Ends: 6.0.2. It’s a short irritable period. However, they might want to still snuggle a lot all the way until the next milestone.
Irritable Period Summary
• They are touchy and sensitive. They might get upset when you do things you’ve always done, such as play around with them.
• Might hate to have their hair brushed.
• They can get very upset if you accidentally shake the table while they are drawing.
• They might get a bit mean.
• They might be meltdown-y, often.
• Might harass siblings and won’t stop even if asked (loss of impulse control)
Hates to lose or do something wrong
• They are totally 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.
• How they handle losing depends on the child. Some children might get aggressive, others whiny.
• 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.
• Unfocused, won’t focus on or do schoolwork
• Makes a lot of absent-minded mistakes. Indeed, like accidentally drawing people upside down.
• They might not realize that a place they are playing on is unstable, such as there are papers on a table that they are leaning on, and they fall over more easily.
• They might stay up late, taking a long time to fall asleep.
• Won’t let you leave at bedtime.
• At night, wants to build or do things or wants to talk to you
Talks about their mind or how they see
• When they start talking about their mind itself or how they see things, I see it as a sign of new brain growth.
• They might tell you the things in their mind are “interconnected.”
• They might tell you their brain “isn’t full yet.” They have 13,000 things left. There’s room for their brain to grow.
• They might wonder what it would be like to have eyes all over their body or to have one big eye.
• Very snuggly
• Brings blanket or lovey around
New Abilities Summary
• Their recent development of “conservation” means that they know things are what they are. When liquid moves from a tall glass to a wide one, the volume stays the same. This is truly an advancement in object constancy. It also lends itself to understanding that sometimes things are in fact illusions.
• Coinciding with this seems to be tremendous intellectual fortitude. It’s not just that they understand things. It’s that you now can’t trick them about anything. They are also interested in if you can be tricked.
• The “masculine” ego also forms. By this I mean they are strong in knowing what they know and they project out more. They also want to be more successful. This can result in them seeming to be a bit mean.
Can YOU detect when someone is lying? Are YOU lying?
• Again, after developing their new “conservation” skill, they seem to realize that things are not always as they appear.
• They are interested in your perception of this. How do you perceive how things fit in with 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 better than it is, when it is fake?
• They also might accuse you of lying, just to flatter them. If they sing a song and they don’t think they did well and you tell them it’s beautiful, they say, “You’re just being nice.”
Sizes up the world more firmly and with accurate units
• With this new “conservation” ability, they also size up the environment with greater accuracy.
• They evaluate exactly where they are in a space. In the van, they are on the left and in the middle. If you imagine it like a grid, this seems to be like how they size up space, in an (x, y) way.
• They count the width of your eye compared to theirs, using the width of one of their fingers. Theirs is 6 wide and yours is 10, by the way.
• They are interested in sizes of things, e.g., can they fit into a tiny space of some kind.
• Children not previously strong in mechanical ability might show they are better and faster at games requiring strong 3-D spatial awareness.
• They imagine if they had “cubes” around them, they could carry whatever they want, sort of like they were a walking desk.
• They also have clear ideas of spaces other than where they are right now. They don’t like that one restaurant. It’s too loud and cold.
• They also can hold on to two things at once more firmly. Maybe you could play two games at the same time!
• They can enumerate what they do better, “I did these 3 things!”
“Masculine” development, more aggressive, more pointed
• Both boys and girls show an increase in their more “masculine” side.
• Interested in more “masculine” things such as an interest in success, e.g., “We’re gonna be RICH, baby!”
• Girls also show an increase in their more masculine side. Your daughter might announce that 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 and as otherwise healthy.
• It will mean the world to them if you sit down and play one of their games with them.
• You might see your girl strut, as if she is a model walking down a runway. However, she may be timid about it at first.
• This “masculine” surge shows a stark change in them, where they go from mostly absorbing their environment, being molded by it, to questioning things. You don’t influence them; they influence you. They believe they are right about things, questions if others are lying, etc. They project “out.” They don’t let as much “in.”
• Their physical gestures might show this. They pretend shoot you with their hand when you say something they don’t like.
• They also might not be able to be taught right now. They know everything—and they learned everything all by themselves.
• They also might not want to hold your hand when walking anymore. They are independent and don’t need you!
More affectionate, some sexual growth
• They might be more into physical touch, such as freely giving out hugs to many people.
• They can be very sweet and nice and might actively help or serve their siblings.
• Or, again, they might chase children around.
• They might say that they feel beautiful or otherwise attractive.
• They might start talking more about “flirting” and going on “dates.”
Starts to understand ratios and sees patterns
• They can more firmly hold onto two dimensions, as the dimensions they are, at once. They also persist at solving problems more thoroughly.
• They start to understand ratios, e.g., if you have 1 apple to 2 oranges, what is the same ratio for 2 apples 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.
• They can see a pattern in two things. For instance, they might be able to see that a number is associated with certain shapes. They can determine that the number corresponds to how many 90-degree angles are in the shapes.
• They can solve a problem by thinking through it, such as finding what number added to -932,146 will make 6 (no joke—some kids can do this).
Confident in their mind and aggressive in learning
• They are confident in their mind’s ability. “I learned math all by myself!” they tell you.
• More adventurous, might try new foods, including spicy ones
• Might pick up books and just start reading them
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 working 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, they also remember what they learned. What did they read yesterday? Oh, yes, how monks lived in monasteries.
• They might 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.
• They can memorize things, if they want to, such as the lyrics to a song.
• 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.
• However, they might surprise you by remembering a story they read only once nearly 2 years ago (when they were four), such as how “Secret Garden” is like the garden they are in now.
Heroic stories and archetypes
• They adopt various heroic archetypes or tell heroic stories.
• They might like to go around pretending to be a ninja. They come up, bouncing on their toes, with two sticks, ready to fight.
• They show you how they creep, crouch, and more, as they get in specific poses that are very realistic and convincing.
• They like to put on a cloak when reading stories, re-enacting the story. They love how they “really do” feel like they are in the story they are reading about.
• Some children might even make up highly creative stories. They are the last man to survive the potato famine. They hand carved a boat out of wood and escaped.
• They might like dressing up in a costume, such as being a beautiful bride. They can plan for it and get excited for the big day.
• They might ask for a cloak to wear while they read history or other stories. They can then pretend to be a king or whoever. (I find children ask for red cloaks in particular.)
• They all around can be very animated and imaginative right now!
Want to write their thoughts down
• They want to write their thoughts and/or feelings down.
• They might want a little book to write down their “999 ideas.”
• Or they ask for a diary
• This shows just how much is in their head and how it needs to come “out.” They are thinking and planning about whatever they want. The problem doesn’t have to be right in front of them anymore.
- With nothing but a deck of cards, you can make a difference in a child’s life
- Math Game: Get to 6 (Because They’re 6)
Six Year Old Milestone 2 (6.0.3-6.1.0)—A Know-It-All with a Soft Heart
Starts: Subtly around 6.0.3
Most Intense: 6.0.4 to 6.1.0
Irritable Period Summary
• Towards the beginning of this milestone, they might just be extra snuggly.
• This one is very distinctly marked by a child that cannot fall asleep at night.
• Wants to stay up late
• They are more easily agitated.
• If they don’t get a turn in game, “No one cares about me!”
• If they lose a game, they can be upset all day.
Athletic, aggressive, physical
• There is a clear increase in athleticism for both boys and girls.
• They might be able to do the monkey bars now. They don’t give up either!
• They might similarly try to do a gymnastic move, again, not giving up.
• They might find for themselves a healthy outlet for this newfound athletic skill. They go outside and swing every day.
• They are dying to go out on the soccer field, to play in their older brother’s game.
• Boys and girls might show more interest in their genitals.
• Can’t/won’t concentrate, agitated, up late at night
New Abilities Summary
• The skills that are rounding out in this milestone from previous milestones are that they are hungry for knowledge. Now, they even become a bit of a know-it-all.
• The NEW skill forming is that they start to understand the underlying emotions of others. It hits them on a deep level, in the gut.
An enthusiastic learner who is also a bit of a know-it-all
• They argue about information. 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 oldest, “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.”
• They are, again, aggressive in learning. 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, as you are busy, but they rummage under all the papers to find it, so they can learn the new song.
• They might even do an internet search now, on their own.
• They might work to memorize a song, on their own initiative.
• They are again focused on schoolwork. They in fact are now the master at x thing, such as punctuating a sentence correctly.
• They are specific in their knowledge. That’s not a cardinal. It’s a NORTHERN cardinal.
• They knew all about that one thing, anyway, because they already looked it up. Again, they are a bit of a know it all.
• They eagerly turn off their tablet to come do a lesson with you.
Strong interest in learning, especially about the outer world
• They 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.
• They continue to have a strong interest in studying topics, such as fighter jets or plants.
• They are constantly curious. “I don’t know why plants have leaves” really means, “Why do plants have leaves?”
• They might like to use a microscope.
• They might have a strong interest in learning about specifically the body. What are tongues used for? Why are our lungs two different sizes?
• They like learning about the natural world. They can’t get enough of ATOMS! They make up everything? EVERYTHING?
• They also might have a strong interest in identifying animals and grouping them in the animal kingdom.
• Or other children perhaps be absolutely fascinated by how the coffee maker works.
• There is an explosion in independent reading. They can read a book on their own that is about the length of The Three Little Pigs or a Dr. Seuss book and retain what is in the book.
• They might want to read a lot, so as to learn, such as a more analytical child who wants to read technical information.
Pointed, focused, even ruthless strategy
• There is a marked increase in strategic thinking. It is indeed more “masculine” and can be even ruthless and mean.
• 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.
• They can think through a complicated problem where they have to ward off a threat quickly such as, “If robbers attacked us, I would hide the baby first, because the baby can’t defend themselves.”
• They laugh uproariously over a character in a book who, “goes up to that big guy and punches him in the eye! Pow!”
• They like to pretend to be hunters capturing animals in their make-believe stories.
• They might like to think of your family as a “team,” with each person being a superhero.
• They love to play “Simon Says,” with themselves as Simon, telling others what to do.
• Out of the blue, they come up to tell you the new strategy they thought of to win at checkers. It’s to never give up their home row so the opponent can never be kinged.
• They might make many stories that are heroic in nature, such as the last man to survive at the end of the world or how they saved you from being tied down by robbers.
• They are a bit mean. They tell their sister to get out of their room. This is not the child you know.
Self-awareness about learning itself
• When they solve a hard math problem they note, “That was hard but I got it because I thought about it.”
• When they have a conceptual aid to help them learn, they bubble, “I’ll learn a lot!”
• After doing one, they reflect, “That was a great science experiment.”
• When they hear that someone measured the circumference of the earth, they remark, “That would be a hard challenge.”
Can handle two variables readily and with detail
• They read a restaurant menu and size up that some menu items are the most expensive, while others offer the most food (as seen by how many ounces are served).
• They can understand the difference between the electoral college (where points from each individual U.S. state are added up) versus the popular vote. One candidate won more votes, but the other won more points from states. Therefore, the latter won.
• They are aware that a trillion trillions is NOT two trillion.
They are specific in sizing up what they do and doing it, even using math to do it
• As they make an art project, they might tell you there are x number of pegs to make up their perl bead creation or they are x percent done. It is also “shaped like a C.”
• They like to create things exactly. They draw letters exactly right, such as if you print an “a” with a curve at the top, they draw exactly that.
• They also want to punctuate sentences exactly right and capitalize words exactly right.
• They prefer to pose for photos (rather than take a candid).
• They are exact in the steps needed for a process. To melt chocolate, “Oh, of course, you put it in the mold, melt it, and freeze it.” They of course tell YOU how to do it.
• Or they might describe the exact steps in the carbon cycle, etc.
• Knowing how easy the steps are in something, they might step up and do something, like take their clothes out of the dryer.
• 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”
• They might even say they have “math dreams.”
Highly sophisticated designs
• This specificity about what they are doing results in much more deliberate creations.
• They can make creative open ended logical patterns, such as making organized and neat shapes out of perl beads.
• They can make creation after creation if given the opportunity, coming up with their own thing, purposely defying what you suggested they make.
• Be sure to give them a medium of their choice, such as Play Doh, to see this new skill in them.
Smoother, less robotic, quirky, full of personality
• They are more confident, less robotic, and less confused. Or rather, they are now smooth, hip, and confident.
• They ask for a guitar. When they get it, they throw it around as to rival Elvis.
• They put on a fedora and walk around being a mobster from the 1920s. They are very convincing.
• They wear their hat backwards, to be funky.
• They read backwards, to be funny.
• They make up poems and songs.
• Their stories are hip and cool. The story they make up starts with, “A man on a motorcycle says to a man on an airplane, ‘You’re late.’” I’m ready for what happens next, aren’t you?
• They make funny comments about what they know, which is detailed and exact now. “The life cycle of a frog is egg, tadpole, frog, REGENERATE.”
• Tell a story with drama, such as setting up the plot then revealing the answer by saying, “Wait for it …”
Feels magical or powerful
• They note how the wind makes them feel beautiful or how a costume makes them feel magical.
• The flour they are baking with is “magic powder.”
• Carrying a big stick around makes them feel big and powerful.
Lively, giggle fits
• They are lively and have giggle fits.
• Having a “party in the elevator!” seems to be a thing at this age.
• They are prone to giggle fits. Indeed, such as laughing uproariously over a character punching another character in the eye.
• Or they erupt into a giggle fit because you tell them you want them to face you when you read to them, because you “don’t like reading to a butt.”
• Anything with irony or paradox will make them laugh: a small person punching a big thing in the eye, attempting to talk to them backwards, etc.
Understands the underlying emotions or underlying psychology of others
• When they read stories, they want to know about the emotions or the emotional motives (e.g., the psychology) of others. If they hear about a dictator who killed themselves, they want to know: why, why, why? Why did they do that?
• They get emotional about historical stories. They well up with tears over the story of Rosa Parks. They shout, eyes welling with tears, “WHY DID THEY CALL THE POLICE!?”
• I think this marks the transition away from what skills they were working on at age 5 to what they work on at age 6. At age 5, they were learning how to size up the 3-D world in a very spatial way. Now, they have mastered this. They are moving on to being hip, cool, and fluid. Appreciating the emotions and psychology of others and themselves seems to aid in how they transition to becoming more hip, fluid, and cool.
Emotionally invested in others, wants you to be invested in them
• In their story telling and strategy making, they think of others, especially ones who tug at their heartstrings, such as their baby brother. Again, they would hide him if robbers came, as he’s too little to fight.
• They help carry their brother over a bridge, because he was scared.
• They make you something and give it to you, “Because you are special to me.”
• They want you to participate in their story telling, perhaps by making up new story lines, alternating.
• Or maybe they want to share their secrets with you.
• They purposely sing quietly so you pay attention.
• Showing off the new things they can do to others, such as in class, means the world to them.
• They can bond to teachers like no other.
Six Year Old Milestone 3 (6.2.0-6.2.4)—Deeper Meanings and Beginning Worldviews
Most Intense: 6.2.2-6.2.4, although it is generally a mild milestone.
Irritable Period Summary
• This milestone starts off with fears. However, they are so subtle that you might not notice them.
o They might simply tell you that they are afraid you might die.
o They might casually ask about volcanoes being near where you live.
o They might make up stories about how to survive the end of the universe or world.
• The fears might get more intense and more defined towards the intense period. They worry about a monster under their bed or the like.
Deeply unhappy, even sullen, especially when things go poorly for them or others
• They started to see the emotions of psychology of others in the last milestone. Now, it hits them on an emotional level, in the gut, possibly making them sad.
• In trying a new thing, say they try to draw something new, they might be hard on themselves if they don’t get it right.
• If they fall in a creek, they get hard on themselves for being “so stupid!”
• They can seem disconnected and even sullen. When you investigate it, something upsetting or embarrassing happened, such as they are very dirty and need a bath.
• 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!”
• If you forget to do that thing you promised you would do, you find them later softly sobbing about it.
• If they get scammed or cheated in a game, they know it now and it will impact them deeply.
• A grown man, such as The Phantom of the Opera being broken and upset by life events that he starts talking to his childhood toy monkey can hit them on an emotional, incommunicable level.
• They have a strong mind of their own now and they really, really don’t want to go to places they don’t want to go to.
• They can start to get aggressive about getting their own way, “Do this or I’m going to kick you!”
• They are more likely to start calling people “stupid.”
• They are opinionated about how things should go. You should have gone to x restaurant first, not y.
New Abilities Summary
Eavesdrops, adds to the conversation or situations
• They listen in on adults’ or others’ conversations and it’s clear they understand the deeper meaning of what is being talked about. They listen to your conversation and add an opinion of their own.
• If they see a fight break out, they might weigh in on it. If you don’t like the way your sister’s snack smells, why don’t you move away?
• They hear you doing multiplication with their older sister, which would be a bit advanced for them. However, in hearing you break it down for her, they announce that THEY know what 49 + 7 is.
• If you are struggling with something, they see it and come up with their own solution. Just unscrew the cap on the glue and dump it.
• They impressively identify the background, unspoken meaning of social behaviors better. They might tell you, “Your idea is a myth!” They take the bigger picture in. They don’t take things at face value.
• Or a child more into emotions might be highly perceptive about people and politics. They 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.”
• In their newfound wisdom, they might start to get critical and judgmental. You should have gone to Wendy’s before McDonald’s. It was closer.
• They also start with their desire to take justice into their hands around this time and it might turn mean, “Do this or I am going to kick you.”
• They are increasingly more likely to call people “stupid.”
Forthcoming with their opinions and worldviews
• They now have conversations. They are chatty and offer their opinion on many things.
• Out of nowhere, they tell you that other boys/men would treat women “like a slave.” Not them, though. They’ll be nice.
• They tell you all about this new game they are playing.
• They might tell you their thoughts on God or religion.
• They get upset when they see ducks submerging each other in the water. They perceive it as bullying.
• All of this seems to be the start of them forming their very own worldview, a process that will take a long time.
• There are layers within layers at age 6!
Can visualize/understand more complex ideas
• They can handle thought experiments. For instance, you describe how if you jumped up and down on a ship, you would keep moving with the ship, as if you were standing still as you jumped. This is the idea of relative velocity and it’s counterintuitive when you explain it like this to a child. Similarly, if you were in a vehicle and threw something forward, it would go forward, even though the vehicle is moving. They can understand this idea now, which is both a thought experiment and handling two variables at a time, though they might resist the idea at first.
• After describing how objects move like this, you ask them to watch the trajectory that an object takes after it is thrown. A particularly analytical child might describe it in exact, stunning detail.
• They are interested in heavily political or morally weighted histories of the past, should they hear about them, such as the atomic bomb.
• As they love to hear what other people think and do, they might be super into having chapter books or book series read to them now (Harry Potter, abridged Great Classics, history, etc.)
Detailed long-term working memory
• They started to remember things long-term in the previous milestone, but now they show how many details they can remember. They remember many, many things from a visit to a doctor they had several weeks prior.
• The stories they can cobble together have impressive details. They tell a story about a fish that is bioluminescent and invisible and has a broom that goes to the ocean floor to sweep it. It changes colors, splits atoms, flings swords, and it can live on land on water. It is both the fastest and smallest fish, and it lives on all planets and all layers of the earth. When the universe dies, it will still live. In short, they take everything they ever learned ever and turn it into a story.
• I believe increases in memory drive childhood mental development. They have a big databank of knowledge now that they weave together. Perhaps this is why they are so chatty and opinionated now.
Exact and creative design
• They can put together creative projects that are very exact and impressive.
• They might make a Perl bead creation of all of Earth’s layers, along with some cave systems.
• They pretend to sword fight in a way that is impressive. They throw the swords around in a way that is smooth, fierce, and exact.
• They, again, tell a tremendously detailed story about a bioluminescent fish who survives the end of the universe.
• They put together a strategy in one of their games, such as stockpiling several weapons to go attack an enemy. They do it successfully.
• What they create often seems to relate to Earth-related things. They want to draw the Earth’s layers, make a volcano, or even learn about the animal kingdom.
Breaks out, wants to be a “big kid,” likes to prove themselves
• They change big time. They are enthusiastic, independent, and want to prove they are good at something or a “big kid” (especially if they have older siblings).
• They want to prove themselves. They might try a food that is super spicy just to show they can do it—and get some laughs.
• They purposely brave the cold, to show they can do it.
• They like you to challenge them, say with math problems. Try to “break their brain” with math problems, such as 3 + 4. You can’t!
• They explicitly say they want to get smart at something, such as math.
• A younger sibling is probably more likely to want to prove how “big” they are. An oldest child still might like proving how “smart!” they are, say at math or other things.
Independent, completes things
• They can do many things on their own now and, more, they want to.
• They are bound and determined to hold a crayon “properly.”
• They are committed to finishing something and doing it right, such as drawing a cartoon character well.
• They can play semi-complicated board games, such as Mall Madness, entirely by themselves.
• They can set up games entirely by themselves, such as setting up a Nintendo Switch.
• After being given an example, they can complete a worksheet on their own.
Knows what they want
• They become more aware of what it is they need or want to do.
• They might tell you, “I need some alone time.”
• Or they ask to sign up for a particular class, such as a dance class. They are very confident and sure that this is indeed what they want to do. They end up doing well at it.
• They might start writing now, just to tell you what they want, “Pls I want crackers.”
Aware of their own behavior and how it impacts themselves and others
• They are aware of themselves and their behavior.
• They are worried they won’t get dressed for an important event on time.
• They interrupt a teacher, realize they interrupted, and stop, “When you are done, I have a question for you.”
• They can get hard on themselves. If they go too far in a creek and fall, they wonder, “How could I have been so stupid?”
• They are conscious and deliberate about their actions. They are given money to spend, in real life or a video game. They comment, “If you CHOOSE to spend it, you have less money.”
• They are proud they don’t eat food that they know is bad for them.
• They comment when they find an activity “satisfying.”
• They can be cheeky about this self-awareness. You ask if they want to do something. They say no. Then they say, “Just kidding, I do!”
• They are aware of the thinking that led to a conclusion, too. When pondering why something happens, they joke, “because logic!”
• They get romantic in through these milestones. They might want a hug all the time.
• Their answer to why they like hugs all the time is, “Because love.”
Six Year Old Milestone 4 (6.3.1-6.3.3)—Pattern & Connections
Starts: 6.3.1 or a bit before
Most Intense: 6.3.1 until 6.3.2
Irritable Period Summary
Major sleep issues
• At the beginning of this milestone (around 6.3.1), you are guaranteed to have a child who stays up late.
• They keep getting out of bed, probably wanting to talk.
• They talk your ear off well into the night.
• After you put them to bed, they might come chasing after you, distraught you left.
• Or they get back out of bed, claiming they are hungry.
• They are very sensitive and easily hurt.
• They easily cry.
• They get upset over many things:
o They get upset if dirt or something similar accidentally gets on any of their toys or stuffed animals.
o They get very upset if another child tries to grab their hand for any reason.
o They get super upset if they feel someone saw their cards while playing a card game.
o They are upset if other children find them while playing Hide and Seek.
o They are frustrated they can’t get a toy to work.
o They get very upset if the internet goes down.
o They stomp off if they lose a game.
• They can get VERY upset if you get mad at them.
• They might start to take things into their own hands now, such as making sure their baby brother does as asked, and they do it by pushing him. They then get VERY upset if you get upset with them. They seem to feel how upset you are with them, on a deeper level.
• They might be hard on themselves for 20 minutes or more about what a “bad person” they are if you get mad in the slightest.
Prone to physical accidents and illness
• They become clumsy.
• They might trip on themselves easier.
• There is also a slightly elevated chance that they’ll get sick.
Judgmental and even insulting, especially of adults
• Closer to 6.3.3, they start to point out your flaws, big time.
• They might tell you that you look “evil” when you laugh.
• If you are late somewhere, they tell you, “I knew you’d screw it up.”
• They notice the bad habits of adults, such as if an adult picks at their nails.
• They get mad if you eat their food. Before, you had a sort of “Mom Permission” to do it.
• They might get really mean. They liked another teacher or relative better than you.
• They swing wildly between praising and insulting you.
• They might say “Bye” to you said like, “Bye, Felicia.”
• They have THOUGHTS about their youth. What kind of mother would have let them [ride a roller coaster, watch a scary movie] when they were just 5 or 6? They then ask to ride that roller coaster or watch that movie.
• They remember that time you struggled to pronounce a word when reading or any other mistake you’ve ever made.
• Children get upset over anything and everything right now. It would be hard to shelter them from everything or live up to their expectations.
• Try not to take this personally. It is a stage.
• They just really want to stay up late, and they get very sensitive and hurt easily. They can also get mean and judgmental.
New Abilities Summary
• They find many patterns and connections.
Patterns in numbers
• They start to identify patterns in numbers and in general take a strong interest in math.
• They can answer how many tens are in 120, 100, 60, 50, etc.
• They might notice it takes 3 of the number 40 to make 120 and 4 of the number 30 to make 120.
• An especially analytical child takes this to the next level. They note that it takes ten 10s to make 100, as well as five 20s, two 50s, and so on. They randomly did this one night, after asking for a pen and paper to figure it out.
• They might have a favorite number, such as 360. I notice that this number is handy mathematically. It can be divided by 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 12, and 15 (which is, historically, why it was chosen to be the number of degrees in a circle).
• They take a strong interest in solving “logic” problems involving patterns. They stick with it until it makes sense to them.
• They might be completely committed to solving a Tangram puzzle (making it a square again).
• They ASK to do math problems or math games daily.
• They notice how numbers relate to each other and spin off this to solve problems. They might spontaneously come up to you to tell you 7+5 is 12. You might ask them how they figured that out. “Because I took 1 from the 7 pile and gave it to the 5 pile and 6 + 6 is 12.”
• They can solve problems like 20+18 in their mind by reasoning it out such as “20 + 18 is just like 20+16 and that’s 36.”
• They, again, like to spin off numbers like this. If you ask what 10 + 6 is, they ask what 10 + 5 is. Upon hearing that this is 15, they conclude that 10 + 6 is 16.
• They can do addition and subtraction with numbers that go higher than 100 more readily. They can handily do 201 – 3 or 90 + 20.
• If you ask them what 110 + 321 is, they might say, “Well… 100 + 300 is 400. And 10 + 30 is 40 so 440.” Pretty close.
• They like to trick you with the new patterns they notice. They might ask you “100 plus what makes 150?” And you say 50. They say, “Nope! 100 plus 30 plus 20 makes 150.”
• They have a new problem for you. What is 11 – 77,777,777? THEY know the answer. Do you? They might cheer you on while you do it.
Notices patterns in stories, games, and more
• They notice patterns in the stories they read and the games they play.
• They are upset that some societies created rich versus poor people. They want everyone to be equal. They relate this back to how they were also upset that people used to be segregated by race. “See?” they ask you. They value equality in all situations. They pointed out this pattern in their thinking.
• In the games they play, they start to notice patterns. In that one game you play, if a lot of enemies show up, your strength becomes weaker. If there are less enemies, your strength is higher.
• They enjoy when you draw out a story for them, such as drawing out what character was what and how the plot of the story unfolded.
• They might even draw out their own learning aid. For instance, they might draw a picture of how to put a particular toy back together.
• They like spotting the difference in things, such as pictures.
• They find patterns in real people as well. They tell you they are actively studying you to learn how to become a good mom. (Take the compliment!)
• They like to size up who is “smart” or “dumb.” Their dad did x thing, which makes him smart.
• If they are given content-rich sources to learn from, six year olds will notice patterns like this. More than just I have noticed this; teachers can vouch. Content-rich sources can be something like reading stories (including history) to them, games, or conversations with adults.
Can stick with stories, projects, and games for a long time
• Speaking of content-rich information that they love to find patterns in, they love to do projects, play games, and have stories read to them. They can stick with them for a long time.
• They can have a chapter book read to them ALL day.
• They might stick with math games all night.
• They can follow along with a complex video, perhaps about the technicalities about how to win a particular video game. They understand advanced concepts like “frame rate.”
• Some children might like telling a heroic story, such as about a plane that nearly crashed. One man fell off but he heroically fought the waves of the ocean as the remaining 99 rallied together to save him.
Commits to projects
• They can stick with doing projects that are detailed and take persistence.
• With instructions, they can make a simple origami shape on their own.
• They stick with trying to fit the Tangram back into the square.
• They can impressively get to level 4-1 in Super Mario Bros.
• They were frustrated about some things in the irritable period, such as getting a toy bow and arrow to work. With work, they now master it.
• If you ask them to do something, like brush their teeth, they usually just go do it.
• They can sit still for as long as it takes so another child can draw them.
• They are forward about helping. They help cook, grocery shop, help with their younger siblings, etc.
• They love to put their art on display.
Likes to take classes and to feel smart and accomplished
• They ASK to do a math curriculum every day. They come to find you and ask you to do it if you forget.
• They take a lot pride in making progress in a given curriculum, such as an online curriculum where it shows them how much they’ve done.
• They like how getting the answer right in a workbook makes them feel smart.
• They are distraught if they think they missed class.
• They ask to do additional classes. For instance, they ask to do art in addition to dance.
Loves romance and to hear stories about romance
• They really start to love love.
• They might LOVE to hear about your first date or your engagement story.
• They might be enamored with something like how the maid in the movie Trolls ended up dating the Prince. They want to hear about how the date went, etc.
• They might love to sit by their dad “because he’s so romantic,” as he gave a gift to their mom.
• They might tell random strangers, “Luv ya!”
• They might wonder who they might marry or declare they are marrying a particular person.
• Might tell you it “feels so good” to snuggle into you. They might also snuggle more with other children.
• They might love to be hugged, as if it quenches a thirst in them.
Loves to dance, “get down,” and look nice
• They love to dance and they do it as set inside a story now.
• They might pretend to be a DJ and gets the whole crowd to “Jump, jump, jump!”
• They might like to “dance on the graves” of tyrants and dictators.
• They might like to blindfold themselves and then play the piano.
• They purposely pick out clothes to look cool or interesting. They put on something specific, say a collared shirt, when you ask them to look nice.
Notices suspicious or “fishy” things
• Perhaps as part of their pattern finding and general judgment of adults, they start to notice “suspicious” or “fishy” things. There is a heightened awareness and concern over any safety threat.
• They might “see a man with a hat” walking by your house. They were very concerned.
• They might want to go in your backyard and look for anything “fishy.”
• Other children might just go into “defense” mode. They all of a sudden want to go outside in the backyard and put sticks everywhere.
• Be warned: Anyone coming into your yard unexpectedly is frightening territory. This might be a lawn care worker, etc.
Remembers things from their past
• They are a bit enthralled with remembering things from the past. They, again, do it with the overtly judgmental tone they have now.
• They, again, remember that time you struggled to remember a word or that time you cried terribly.
• And, again, they remember that time you let them watch a movie that ended up scaring them. (It merely showed someone’s grave at the end!!)
• They are enthralled with what they were like as a baby or toddler. “I could pick up a ball and hit anything!”
• They might go back to favorite childhood activities spontaneously, such as building train tracks or anything similar.
Notices color as such
• They notice how color as such looks to them.
• They might be totally enamored that when you turn the lights on or off that the color of the walls goes from dark to light.
• They might become alarmed when they “close their eyes and see dots.”
• If the sun is coming through the window, they might notice the light “stays” with them, even if they close their eyes.
• They might notice shades of colors better, spontaneously noticing something is more of a greenish yellow than yellow.
• They might also notice how things look differently at night or marvel that they can see really well at night.
Persuasive, sometimes manipulative, in getting others to do what they want or get their own way
• They might be really good at getting adults to do things for them now.
• They manage to convince their dad to read to them ALL day. You bring it up later. They snicker, “Yeah! I just beg!”
• They try to convince you to go to the pool. They offer to watch their little brother for you, such that you can all go.
• They can convince older kids to put 4 pairs of socks on because they are “controlling” them for that day.
• They might cheat at games to win.
Separates from you and others, physically and mentally, sets their boundaries
• They pull away from you a bit. They might now call you “the parents.”
• If you’ve co-slept, they might voluntarily sleep in their own room, although it might not last long.
• They marvel when alone in their room, “I can do what I want! I can read if I want! I can play if I want! I can look out the window if I want!”
• You mention that you do something and they incorrectly interpreted it to mean you are spying on them. They announce THEY are now going to spy on YOU.
• When they see you struggle with something, they might draw out how to do it and hand it to you. You are essentially another human in the house who needs help now. THEY are here to help YOU.
• They can be funny about setting their boundaries. When pretending to confront someone, they strut, “See what, I’m saying, DUDE?”
• They might tell someone, “Have you ever heard of shutting up?” Again, they are a bit mean, bossy, and distinctly separate from you.
Self-reflective about what they like
• Towards the end of this milestone, they know what they want in a self-reflective way. They don’t just want something; they know that they want it (or like doing it).
• They might bubble, “I just love to talk!”
• They might come up to tell you that they prefer math to sports or whatever it is they like and don’t like.
• They directly tell you the things that they want to do every day.
• Because their favorite color is yellow, this makes them, “the stars, the sun, lightning, and fire!”
• They know how many dances they know. They might be up to 10 by now!
Six Year Old Milestone 5 (6.4.2-6.5.1)—Socially Sensitive and Aware
Most intense: The whole thing can be bad, it depends on the child, but 6.4.4 until 6.5.1 can be especially difficult.
Aggressive and possessive
• They get more aggressive with other children.
• They might take their sister’s blanket and not give it back.
• If another sibling tries to take the swing they are on, they might hit them.
• They get really mad if another child is anywhere in their space at all, such as stepping on their foot for a brief second.
• EPISODES. After something happens, they stomp off, slamming doors, etc. They, however, snap back quicker now.
• If they trip on their brother’s toy, they might scream, “I HATE THAT YOU HAVE THIS TOY. I WISH YOU NEVER GOT THIS TOY.”
• After their turn is over, you ask them to hand something over to their sibling. They stomp off, getting extremely mad.
• They get really mad that you are going to a restaurant that they don’t want to go to. They are so mad and so opposed that you finally just relent and don’t go. They are that stubborn.
• They can get rambunctious when somewhere they don’t want to be, especially if they have to sit close to others.
• If asked to do a lesson on a piece of paper, they might get angry and scribble all over it.
• They might draw a picture of a very angry, frowny face, showing how angry they are.
• They definitely get judgmental.
• They might ask you, “Do you want to be nice or RUDE?” This is because you asked them not to go into your room.
• They might tell everyone that they are “annoying.”
• Their judgments might be positive like, “Your voice is calm like a teacher’s.” One way or the other, they’re watching you.
Prone to guilt
• They might get VERY upset if they make a mistake, say on a worksheet.
• Doing a worksheet that they can’t get the answer to “reminds them of how dumb they are.”
• If you tell them that some of their favorite foods are “unhealthy,” they might break down unexpectedly at a later time that they eat “unhealthy” foods.
• If you ask a highly empathetic child, as nicely as you can, to stop pushing on their brother’s head, they might stomp off, “I’M SORRY.”
• They are afraid to tell you about something they did, such as that they pushed their brother, because they are afraid that you’ll be mad at them.
• They might have heard a slur that might apply to them and they are worried. They are worried they are a “Karen” or any other sexist, racist, or other insult.
• They might think you like their siblings better because their siblings are “never” bad.
• They are pattern finders now and, as a girl, might conclude that you like boys better than her. (This is because you asked her to stop pushing her brother.)
• This probably depends on the child and how much they internalize, but they otherwise might think they are the ONLY kid who is ever “bad” in the history of kids.
• They like to cuddle into you or others.
• They might directly tell you that if you spend time with their brother, it feels like you are slighting them.
• They get attached easily, such as to an animal you just met but can’t take home.
• Brings a lovey or blanket around
• They might keep getting out of bed. They want to talk about all that is on their mind.
• During the intense period, towards 6.5.0, they might be a handful to put to bed.
• They might come to your bed in the middle of the night because they had a nightmare.
• They might get out of bed after being put down, because they heard people talking. What’s going on? Is it a party? Why can’t they join?
• They might be afraid of the dark.
• If highly empathetic (they catch other’s emotions), they might not want to see others do anything that they think is risky, such as put their head under water.
• They can have weird fears like, “I don’t want to go in the bathroom because it has two doors.”
• For a day or two, they might be distraught if you leave the house.
• They might curl up to you, as if they are afraid of something, though they don’t say what.
• They might ask, “If I die, do all my memories disappear?” Talking about death usually has some underlying fear in it.
• Alternatively, they might make up for these fears with heroism right away. They announce that if their sister is afraid of spiders in the pantry, they’ll go in for her.
• They can get really big. They might get so big that you have trouble picking them up now.
• They might fall and trip easier, such as when going up the stairs.
• In general, nightmares and physical growth coincide with more physical accidents.
• Easily upset, mad, has episodes. I call these milestones the “stomp off” milestones, because they stomp off so much.
New Abilities Summary
• They start to become more aware of the culture and who they are in that culture.
Socially aware and responsive
• Although they are socially sensitive and aggressive, they are also more highly socially aware and responsive.
• They are edgy, daring, and culturally aware. They go around joking, “It’s Me, A-Mario!” after the famous character from the Mario games.
• They can be quick in social situations. They go up to someone and say, “Hola!” The person, knowing Spanish, responds in Spanish, “Are you fine today?” They are intimidated at first but then realize they do know the word yes in Spanish. So, they say, “Si!”
• They are aware of their essence in social situations. As they run around, they joke, “Don’t mind me! Just passing through!”
• They might drop matter-of-fact statements, like, “By the way, I do like your dress.” Or “By the way, I do want something healthy for lunch.” It’s that they realize they are inserting themselves into the social situation now that is noteworthy (and kind of funny).
• They can defend themselves against jokes and prejudices. Joking about toxic positivity, you ask, “Why are you being so NEGATIVE? Can’t you be POSITIVE?” They throw back, “I’m not negative! I’m just not naïve!”
• They again can be edgy. They might occasionally swear now—on purpose.
Stunningly creative in a detailed and elaborate way
• They are very creative in a very precise and elaborate way.
• They line up their toy cars in a very specific way. They go on about it, describing how one is a particular angle from another or another is “a quarter” away from another. You would think they are making a stop-motion video with as precise as they are being.
• If they are into them, their LEGO creations can be very detailed and specific, and they’ll go on about what they did and why.
• In their video games, they might create the equivalent of a city that is stunningly detailed and fun to be in. For instance, they create an entire naval base and it has everything it needs.
• They can draw an entire scene from a movie with detail, such as a shipwreck with the ship, the coral under the sea, etc.
Takes on challenges
• They want every challenge to come their way and to learn everything under the sun.
• They set up their own “drawing station,” and start making drawings for people.
• Other children might draw all over any paper handed to them.
• They directly ask to make their own video game.
• They are excited to try a healthy feast of foods, as to increase the number of healthy foods they eat.
Willing to try some new foods
• They show a willingness to try some new foods.
• They might agree to try something like salsa—and like it.
• They might surprisingly ask for a hot drink, like hot cocoa, after being out in the snow.
Loves to read and do challenges in workbooks
• They LOVE to read with you.
• After you read to them, they can repeat back a complicated plot.
• They might even read bigger books on their own now. Some children can read chapters from chapter books now.
• They can be very ambitious, like “Can I read ONE HUNDRED books!?”
• They like doing workbook work too, as long as you do it with them.
• Towards the end of the milestone, they might even come up to you with workbooks, asking to do some of the problems.
• They can impressively tackle some math problems that involve chunking up a number into parts. For instance, a particularly analytical child can answer how many 1/3s are in 20.
• They might ask in particular to learn how to spell.
A lot of curiosity, some imagination, and “what if?” questions
• They go through some “Curious” stages, where they are curious, want to learn, have imagination, and have wild “what if?” questions.
• They might hang on to their brother’s every word, as he explains Sherman tanks.
• They are at an outdoor class for their sibling, but they hang on to the instructor’s every word.
• They have some imagination. They might want to “teleport.” You ask them where they’ll go. They shrug, “To where I want to go.”
• They have “what if?” questions. What would happen if ducks talked and we quacked?
Aware of dates, times, and how big things really are
• They become aware of what goes on every week, and they want to make sure they don’t miss a thing.
• They ask about how many days there are until they have a certain class.
• THEY remind you that class is coming up.
• They are aware that their one parent has been going on vacation for a few days, which means they didn’t have their nails cut in that time.
• They note that the amount of time it takes to get to their favorite museum (a half hour) is about the same time that they get for reading time every day.
• They might note that it’s hard to go from one city to another because we are small. Indeed—if we were giants, we could just take one big step!
• They might love to watch a video of how big the universe really is. They get the idea.
• As they have a very realistic sense of longer time and distance now, you might get a lot of “Are we there yet!?” on trips now.
An interest in making grids
• I know it sounds bizarre, but some kids take an interest in making a grid.
• On this grid, they might do something like write numbers across the top and side. They then do multiplication with the numbers. The grid allows them to notice patterns. “Oh, when I multiply these numbers by a certain number, the answers keep doubling!”
• Or on their grid, they might draw out certain things about what they think. “These names end in Y.”
• Or they might write silly notes to each member of their family on each square in the grid, cutting it out to give to them.
• Some children might keep this “grid” in their mind. In their mind, they can keep track of all sorts of stuff, like if they have class tonight, if dad is home, etc.
• Perhaps laying their thoughts out on a grid helps them organize their thoughts. They are definite pattern finders who apply their knowledge now.
Self-aware, as set in their culture or compared to others
• They become extremely self-aware now, based on things like what gender they are, how old they are, what personality they have, how they behave, and what decisions they make.
• They might directly tell you that you try to get them to do an activity or lesson, but it’s NOT for them. Their brother likes [math, sports, computers, whatever] not them.
• They tell you, “I might look weak. I might not have muscles. But I am strong!!”
• They might chastise themselves, “Why was I so stupid?”
• You are not allowed to call them “baby” anymore.
Self-aware of their behavior
• They are more self-aware of their own behavior, taking responsibility for it.
• They are self-reflective of their “bad” behavior. After a long ordeal they confess to you, “I can’t control my anger.”
• After any of their episodes, where they get mad, they might come up to you and apologize. “I’m sorry I was rude.” They do this entirely on their own, without you asking them to.
• After they find out they upset their sister, on their own, later, they go up to her and apologize. It’s both that they apologize and that they remember later to do it that is impressive.
Applies the knowledge they have
• They love to watch videos, as to learn. They can follow along with what is being said and apply it.
• They can be shockingly clever in solving problems, based on their knowledge. In a video game, there is a huge ancient shark. Someone tells them to stay away because no one can kill it. They lure it in with bait, punch it in the eye, and hack it to death. They knew they could do this because a video they saw said you can disorient a shark by punching it in the eye.
• They start to come up with some wise statements, such as, “I think you and Dad were meant to be. Like, it was your destiny!”
• Or they adopt the role of a father or mother. They gently wrap their arms around their younger sibling when they were being aggressive and tells them, “You know what you can do? How about you clean up a few toys?”
• They are notably helpful and proud of it.
• They are very up for helping younger siblings.
• They help their sister put an apron on.
• They make their sibling a LEGO creation.
• They are proud when they help you. “Doesn’t it feel nice when someone brushes your hair?”
• They start to make jokes, reflecting what they personally find funny. “Why do saltwater fish live in salt water? Because they are allergic to pepper.”
• They are more aware of the nature of the jokes themselves. They are aware that certain jokes are “dad jokes” for instance.
Physically confident and smooth
• They get more physically confident, in a smooth way.
• They might effortlessly ride a scooter now.
• They might jump on top of a row of nested grocery carts.
Self-aware of their memories
• They might talk about their memories. For instance, they are “like Dory,” the character from Finding Nemo. They forget things quickly sometimes.
• They might ask a question like “Do my memories get erased when I die?”
• Perhaps a man walked by you and said hi. You mention and they say, “Oh. I did see that. But I forgot about it already!” They are cognizant of their own memory and what they remember and what they don’t.
• In upcoming milestones, they will remember everything they see day-to-day better.
• They are self-aware of their own memories now, just like they are self-aware of many of their behaviors!
Six Year Old Milestone 6 (6.5.2-6.5.4)—I Know What I Know How To Do
Most intense: 6.5.3 to 6.5.4
• They might show fears of things that aren’t there, such as “spider” crawling up their leg, when there isn’t.
• They might demand you be near, even late at night, because of these fears.
Takes “justice” into their own hands
• They do unsavory things in setting their boundaries or getting others to do what they want. It’s rooted somewhat in a sense of “justice.”
• They tell you, “Do what I want or I’ll scream!”
• They come up to you and tell you not to swear, jokingly threatening you with a toy gun over it.
• Their aggression might shock even them. Afterwards, they are stunned by what they did.
• They might enjoy rough housing more.
• They might drop swear words more often now.
• This one is quite simply marked by a child who cannot back off.
• They grow. They just get outright big.
• Their whole face seems different and less baby-ish.
• Some children might keep demanding you late at night.
• They keep getting out of bed to see what you are doing.
• They describe that they are having nightmares.
• 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 is aware of the knowledge and skills they have and, knowing they are talented at certain things, takes on bigger challenges.
Can’t back off of healthy challenges either
• They can’t back off in this one, in that they hit, slap, and get too rough. But they also can’t “back off” in the good sense, in that they commit to projects in such a way as to get unconsciously lost in them.
• When they draw a pot of gold, they draw another. Because “Why have one pot of gold when you can have two?”
• They throw themselves into a project and get flour all over themselves and their hair.
• They forgo even screen time to read their favorite book.
• They give a big hearty hug to a new book that they get that they know they will love.
• They want to go on walks with you.
• They want to wake up early to see the sunrise.
• They can’t stop talking to the waitress.
• They yell “Voldemort! Voldemort! Voldemort!” You know, that word you aren’t supposed to say!
• They enthusiastically do many projects, such as science experiments, art projects, etc.
• Very reliably does what is asked of them, like put their coat away
• Puts their plate away, shuts doors after coming in, turns light off when not using them, etc.
• Passionate about their favorite intellectual or creative activity, such as solving math problems
• Reliably commits to solving difficult problems, fights through the problem until they get the right answer
Follows through with what they make up their mind about
• They actively make up their mind about something they want to do and then do it.
• They might decide they want to pull a particular prank on someone for April Fool’s Day and ask you for help to pull it off.
• They ask their sibling if they want them to build something out of blocks for them. After they say yes, they then solemnly commit to doing a good job.
• They assume many adult-like responsibilities and do it even better than adults sometimes. You can’t find batteries at the grocery store but they do. They saw the sign that said, “Batteries.”
• When they see that someone doesn’t know where the baskets are at the store, they enthusiastically help them.
• They see their older brother doing something in a cool way and ask that he shows them how to do it.
• They read road signs to you as you drive so you are aware of what they say.
• They like to read about something and then show off what they know, later, dropping random facts about it.
• They can do a treasure hunt where they have to solve a simple riddle to find the next clue.
• They play Pictionary for the first time, deciding what kind of drawings they will draw for the game.
• They might help you write a post on social media, which is a very adult thing.
• They might want to make “ma ne” (money).
• Their strategy in games gets more pointedly intelligent. In a race car game, they purposely drop obstacles at certain spots and a few others at others, “for good measure.”
• They start reading the stats in video games, perhaps to know how well they are doing and how they can get better.
• They can memorize lines for a play.
Feels magically powerful
• A simple stick “can summon anything.”
• They run around casting wizard spells.
• When they feel magically powerful like this, it’s the sign of that start of a major new cycle of brain growth.
Six Year Old Milestone 7 (6.6.1-6.7.0)—Detailed Imaginations and Dissertations
Most intense: 6.6.1 to 6.6.3
Still aggressive, still taking conflict into their own hands
• They are still aggressive and take conflict into their hands.
• Threatens others, “Do this or I’m going to punch you!” Or “Do this or I will slap you!”
• After something goes down and they hurt someone, they might yell, “That’s what you get!”
• They might come up to children and just hit them, almost as if they can’t help themselves.
• They get angrier and annoyed more often.
• They still stomp off if they lose a game.
• Their fights might get extremely overwhelming / beyond what you are used to handling.
• They won’t participate in activities and they have weird reasons for it, such as “There might be spiders.” They then later insist that that wasn’t actually the issue.
• When something goes wrong, they won’t let you help.
Very hurt if their trust or the rules are broken
• They will get very hurt if their trust is broken. If you said you wouldn’t do something and then do it, they’ll be very upset.
• They are more aware of what the rules, which are here to protect them, are and that others are breaking them. They are confrontational now, “I thought we agreed to not insult each other.”
• They can be up late, talking your ear off.
• They might burst into giggles in their sleep.
New Abilities Period
• They are highly imaginative, telling stories with details, and give detailed dissertations about the things they think.
Tells very imaginative stories
• They are very imaginative and tell detailed imaginative stories.
• They might make up stories such as they were a poor orphan and you were a rich neighbor who adopted them.
• If you read a story where you go back in time, it might touch their imagination like no other. They might go on and on about it. They started a fire for you all, helped a lonely man out, stopped a wildfire, etc.
• They might even attempt to write a story, such as copying The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.
• They might build an entire cast of characters, such as making many characters out of Legos.
• They might be found in random places around your home, just reading.
• They explicitly ask you to “imagine” certain things.
• They love to put on impromptu plays, such pretending to walk across thorns by walking across LEGOs or pretending to be in a dreamy state after being shaken by a lion (as in the famous story about Dr. Livingstone).
• They also ask you to tell them stories or read books to them.
• They give full dissertations on what they think or do, such as why Cheetos Minis are better than Cheetos Puffs. They are smaller so you get more cheese, etc.
• They narrate every detail of something, such as how to get a bike started, how they plan on decorating their Christmas tree, or how their favorite video game works.
• They might start writing any big word they see down in perhaps a “Big Fat Book of Big Words.” Perhaps the new words help them in their dissertations!
• They very forcefully explain themselves. They hold up three fingers to make sure you know that they are describing three things.
• They are exact in their judgments and appraisal. Something is “iconic.” Another thing is “over powered.” Other things are “impressive.”
• They can get very chatty, well into the night. They might want to talk about everything under the sun, such as about friends, dating, and more.
• They have OPINIONS. After reading a story, it ends with, “All’s well that ends poorly.” They exclaim, “We just read all that for it to end poorly!?”
The lay of the land
• They might want to get a sense of the “lay of the land” of worldly things.
• How long ago was the earth formed?
• When were pencils invented?
• What is it like after we die? On a physical level.
• How long can we go without food?
• They might literally wonder if they’ve been everywhere when looking at a map.
• They love reading about going to new places or learning about geography.
• They also literally enjoy doing treasure hunts or making and using treasure maps.
Likes to dress up, confident
• They like to look sharp, and they have a lot of confidence.
• They play Go Fish with their shirt hanging off of their shoulder.
• They drape their arm over the couch like they own the place.
• They wear a headpiece filled with gems that they made.
• After disrobing to go into the bathtub, they dance around like they are “the man.”
• They go everywhere in heels.
• They might pluck flowers and put them in their hair.
• They really like to look smart in perhaps a collared shirt, a smart sweater, a cool hat, or cowboy boots.
• Their style can shock you. Your formerly all snuggly, all sweet child wants to wear all black, on purpose, to show how edgy they are.
Very self-aware of their own personality
• They are very aware of their personality and even have opinions on it.
• As they are the youngest, they explain how being small has its advantages.
• They are aware that they “run on emotions.” They tell you, “If emotions could change your skin color, my skin would keep changing color.”
• They are aware that they value alone time, that they worry what others think of them, and that they can read people well.
• They thoughtfully say, “I like to learn things that are new.”
• They are aware that they have “lots of funny stuff in my mind.”
• They notice that they used to be at something at the beginning of their sports season but, through practice, they are better.
• They are aware that, “All I can do is try my best.”
Highly empathetic to other children
• They are very socially aware and very considerate of other children especially.
• If their younger brother is getting their hair cut, they warn that you have to be very careful because he’s young and is going to be scared.
• They are very patient with younger children. Their baby brother keeps going under a blanket to say, “Boo!” They explicitly say, “Ok, I’ll sit here and pretend I don’t know you are going to go under the blanket again and then say boo.”
• They are excited to cheer for their siblings at sports, and they say as much.
• They give big heartfelt hugs when another child helps them with something.
• They gush that they are being nicer to their sister and as a result, they seem to be having a fun time.
Understands social rules and social banter
• There is a certain increase in how well they understand social rules and banter.
• As noted, if a rule is broken, they call it out. On a deep, sincere level they are upset that a rule was broken.
• If you are talking to them and they don’t understand you, they might give you a look like, “Come again?” They are very aware that you should indeed understand each other and, if not, they rectify it.
• They banter back and forth more.
• They start to read the comments to videos or articles. They seem to be becoming more interested in what other people think.
• When people tell tall tales, they believe them. There is a sort of naïve trust in the group right now. But being part of the group, believing those tall tales, is fun.
In-the-moment social jokes that are legitimately funny
• They drop jokes based on what is going on and they are legitimately funny.
• For instance, you mention Christmas and they say, “Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas means a little bit more.”
• Or they hide inside a box and pretend to be the box. You ask what their favorite color is and they say “brown.” Their favorite shape is a cube. They are in the moment and coming up with on-the-spot jokes. It’s adorable.
• They “play dead” in a very funny and convincing way. They can also do it on demand.
• “Technically my job could be hat holder,” they say, while wearing a hat.
• They verbally state that they like their dad’s “dad joke.”
• They make jokes like, “Hey, newb. No one cares about your opinion.”
Lively, steps up more
• They are very lively and up for things.
• They dance around to an upbeat song to get psyched up to run a race or do an obstacle course.
• They dance like no one is watching, knowing everyone is watching.
• They want to go scope out the best hills around their neighborhood to ride their bike down.
• They have a lot more stamina at sports, such as soccer.
• They also fight for the ball a bit more, in a soccer or other game.
• They step up to learn many things. They might ask to learn something new you are doing in the kitchen. They step up and do a 200-piece puzzle. They ask their dad to play a new game they learned.
• They are dedicated to learning a new dance and they even embellish it.
• In a play they are in, they can’t wait to make their grand entrance.
• They are excited to try new food.
Starts to explicitly understand the difference between fiction and reality
• They do and say things that show they are starting to notice that certain things are fictional while other things are real.
• They are baking a cake, and they ask you to “Imagine a game called ‘Bake a Cake’ in real life.” But they are baking a cake in real life.
• They are surprised to learn that charcoal is in real life. They thought it was just in Minecraft.
• They might ask a question like, “What would happen if all trees were made of chocolate?” They quickly follow it up with, “But then there would be no more trees.” They have a very realistic assessment of what would actually happen and why we, perhaps, have no chocolate trees.
• They are excited that they made art that is REALISTIC, such as a realistic tree.
• They might replicate your entire house, a real thing, in one of their video games.
Thoughts on their own brain
• They are aware of their own thoughts now.
• They are very aware of what their memory is capable of. They might announce, “I solved 36 + 36 because I had it in my memory!”
• Or they might tell you, “Certain math problems are getting so easy for me,” as they rattle off all the equations they know. They are aware these equations are committed to memory.
• They might explicitly say that they had to “update their thinking!” to get a particular math problem right.
• They might tell you that they have “all sorts of funny things” in their mind.
• They are aware of exact things and dates about their own memory from the past. They “started to think of funny things last year and now there are even more funny things this year.”
• They also have exact facts and figures about their life. “I switched to a big boy cup in the year 2022.”
• Oppositely, they might say, “My memory is so bad. I am having trouble remembering things that I used to know!”
Six Year Old Milestone 8—Undaunted
Starts: Between 6.7.2 and 6.7.3
Most intense: 6.7.3 to 6.8.0
• They might come up to you and directly tell you their memory isn’t good anymore and they are frustrated by it. They used to know all sorts of things but they can’t remember them anymore.
• Distracted: forgets to take their turn at board or card games
Really, REALLY needs you
• They REALLY need you right now.
• They might sweetly ask you to spend more time together.
• They might just come be by you.
• Or they might totally lose it on you that you never spend time together.
• Either way, I can’t recommend enough having intentional, regular one-on-one time with them right now.
• They might hypersensitive right now.
• If they hurt a sibling and you go to address it, they yell, “IT’S MY FAULT! I DID IT! YOU PROBABLY HATE ME NOW! I WISH I WOULD DIE!”
• They might tell you they absolutely hate when you yell.
• They might absolutely hate when people are “too loud.”
• More easily hurt over simple things. They may get upset over something very small, say at sports practice, or not even want to go to practice.
• Up late with a million things on their mind.
Most Intense Period
• Their poor memory can cause issues. It frustrates them more than anyone else. This one can range from mild to intense. The more time you can spend with them, the better it will likely go.
New Abilities Summary
• They are unintimidated and willing to take on bigger challenges, even things they struggled with in the past.
Not Afraid of a Challenge
• They are less intimidated by longer or bigger challenges. Something as simple as walking from a place to another place, say a bench to a bridge, before would have been intimidating. But now you ask them to do it, and they say, “Oh, ok.” Not a big deal. They can handle that.
• This may be why they are also more responsible. Tasks seem less daunting.
• They can recognize they did X thing, so they can thus do Y thing. They carried something heavy up some stairs. Therefore, they can probably carry it back down the stairs.
• They might say “I’m not good at math.” But it’s said in a way that clearly show they want to get better.
• Even though they might not be good at something, they are willing to work on it to get better.
• They more easily commit to any challenge. They are willing to leave their tablet or TV show to come play any given game.
• Fairly reliably does what you ask them to, like pick up something off the floor or put their coat away
• They directly tell you they like when you cheer for them.
Math and Academic Skills
• Notices complex patterns, such if you multiply 6 x 6 it is 36 just like 9 x 4 is 36. Thus, 9 is so many away from the first 6 (in 6 x 6) and 4 is so many away from the other 6.
• Or 1 x 9 is 9 and that’s 1 away from 10. Therefore 2 x 9 is 18, as this is 2 away from 20.
• They may be wrong in some of their assessment but it’s certainly advanced thinking being developed.
• They use their hands to solve yet more advanced problems. As they are thinking through the fact that 5 x 9 is 5 shy of 50, they hold up 5 fingers to work through subtracting 5 from 50.
• Or as they are adding up 3 sixes, they hold up 3 fingers to keep track of where they are at.
• It’s like they can see numbers as a block easier. They can imagine “9,” handily. I don’t recommend doing ~much~ multiplication until about this age. But at this age—and how.
Makes up Their Own Games
• They might make up their own games.
• Maybe a “Happy or Sad” game. If you pull a piece of paper and it has a happy face, you get to do something fun. If you pull a sad face, you have to do something gross.
• Or, as you play a game, they invent a game where you pick up a playing card every time you win a game. The first to 100 wins.
• Or, as you play War (the math game), instead of using two cards, they ask to use three.
• They might draw their own game out, such as a Guess Who board.
Wise and Self-Reflective
• You might tell them something like, “It’s not good to talk about religion around new people.” And they enthusiastically say, “Yeah! Any of us can be wrong!”
• They can handle conflict a lot better. They might start to get aggressive with their sibling or start to have a meltdown, but they are a bit better about it. They back off of their sibling.
• Or they might run off to their room because they are upset. But at least now they don’t slam the door. Simple conversations to resolve the situation go a lot further now.
Adult Sense of Humor
• Very, very funny and adult like sense of humor
• They might play around with bad words or swear words. You catch yourself almost swearing but stop yourself. You acknowledge it but say something like, “sometimes Gee Golly doesn’t cut it.” They then let out a torrent and I meant a torrent of swear words. It’s a bit funny.
• They might say, “Are you FREAKING KIDDING ME!?”
• Or, you ask if their brother is now a man, as they are showing signs of puberty. Their brother says, “I don’t know!” And they say, “Well you ARE a man then, because your answer is ‘I don’t know!’” I don’t know where they got it from, either.
• As you get out of the pool, your husband notes he wants to watch. Your six year old picks up on it and yells, “I’M SEXY AND I KNOW IT!”
• Their sister asks to watch a princess movie, by which she probably means Disney. They want to watch Star Wars and tell her, “Well, you’re in luck, because Star Wars has Princess Leigha!”
• They make up a game where their brother is “invisible.” As you try to talk to him or about him, they play along, “Well I don’t know who you are talking about!”
• There is a strong duality at this one. How things possibly conflict or get into hierarchy is interesting to them.
• They might say something like, “Honesty is a virtue. But SOMETIMES YOU HAVE TO LIE! If it was a surprise birthday, you would have to lie!”
• If you ask them to draw a happy face, they might draw every emotion possible except happy.
• They might draw a person with two faces, one happy and one sad.
• They might tell you they are nice but also DANGEROUS.
• They understand there is “expectation versus reality.” Ask them, perhaps, to draw a triangle with their eyes closed. The expectation is that it will look like a triangle. And then there’s reality.
• They might tell you, “Mommy, you are my mother. But if you were murdered, I wouldn’t be in your funeral. I would be in jail for murdering the person that murdered you.”
Six Year Old Milestone 9—Worldly
Starts: Between 6.9.1 and 6.9.2.
Most intense: The first week or so
Highly Distracted, Confused, Poor Memory
• Lethargic, unfocused, out of sorts
• Slumps over because they just “don’t wanna”
• Recognizes they get distracted easily, “It’s so hard for me to not get my tablet out even though I know I shouldn’t.”
• Become momentarily confused. You might be in a store, and they wander off. 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.
• They might get really upset over how much their memory is bad or how distracted they get. They might forget the rules of how to play a game, and they run off, so embarrassed that they forgot.
• They might get dates or times all mixed up. They might think they missed at event, which you are going to at 10:30 am. But it’s only 8:30 am. They are super upset, thinking they missed it.
• Or they are going somewhere NEXT Thursday. They wake up, realizing today is Thursday, and are super upset they “missed” the event.
• Just sort of momentarily scatter brained, often.
Extremely sensitive and self-conscious about private matters
• 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. They ask you to keep it a secret.
• They might tell you they have a crush on someone but please DO NOT tell anybody.
• They don’t want you to see they are blushing.
• They get extremely annoyed by others, especially younger siblings.
• A new situation where other kids taunt them will be extremely overwhelming. Perhaps the other kids tell them their Minecraft water bottle is for boys, not girls.
• They are utterly convinced you like their sibling better than them.
• They tell you they will never have children. Take that: you won’t be a grandma!
• Their face and head seem to get longer/elongate in the vertical direction.
Sleep issues, fears, and visions
• Can’t sleep at night, wants to tell you things or learn things. They do this often.
• Sleeps in unusually late (10 am or later)
• Gets up in the middle of the night, checks something, goes back to bed
• Gets up in the middle of the night and comes into your room, with fears
• They might see “faces” in everything. The pattern in a chair looks like a face, for instance.
New Abilities Summary
• Interested in more advanced science topics, like antibiotic resistance or how DNA works. Just a much broader understanding of how things apply to the world
• May want to learn a second language, gets otherwise crazy excited to learn new advanced topics
• Tells you they “don’t know how love works.” Just. How does it work?
• Much more mature in their observations. Things can be “sad and sweet.” They can be “cruel and good.”
• They might now want to be a vegetarian.
• Makes guesses about worldly things like “I think 50 cats were saved in the United States today”
• They might take another stab at worldly probability, “I feel like someone might be thinking what I am thinking right now. I know that probably isn’t happening but I still feel it’s possible.”
Less annoyed, less judgmental, more forgiving, and broader in their thinking
• They wisely say their little brother or sister is annoying, but they still have a lot to learn. They are broader in their thinking.
• They finally agree you do not favor their little brother. In fact, it seems like you kind of like them and care for them well.
• Again, wise. They say, “I like to think that I am your favorite. I KNOW you said you don’t have a favorite, but I still am allowed to have my THINKS.”
• They might like to teach and mentor younger children (instead of harassing them and constantly being annoyed by them).
• The strong responsibility and follow through seen in the last milestone is seen in this one but it’s more refined in execution.
• They can, with some direction, pack their own suitcase.
• They stay with schoolwork a lot longer. They can play a whole math game and then do problems with it later.
• 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.
Talks about their Memory
• Might talk about their brain as having “a million roads and they all go to a store” or something similar
• They might ask you if they can work through a problem or if they have to “use their mind.”
• They are more interested in getting things right and throw themselves into it.
• Writes 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
• Intently reads books as to extract information, such as a book on survival in the woods
Six Year Old Milestone 10 (6.11.1-7.0.0)—Daring
Most Intense: 7.0.0
• They seem to go through something hormonal
• They sweat more.
• They might hide in their room and want their privacy. They do not want to talk about what they are doing.
• They might be a bit moody.
• They might all of a sudden be physically sensitive to new things. For instance, at the beach, watching the lapping waves now all of a sudden gives them sea sickness.
• They might be more sensitive to having their hair brushed, etc.
• They might have more physical ailments, such as headaches.
• A highly empathetic child (who “catches” other people’s emotions) might get nervous and upset watching other children do daring things, as they are worried for their safety. It seems to even make them physically ill.
• They are also very socially sensitive.
• They might get all of a sudden shy to enter a room with a lot of people.
• They understand the social implications not just of words now but actions as well. If they found a drawing they lost in a garbage can, they cry, “We found my drawing in the GARBAGE CAN.”
• If other kids don’t play with them, they might sob, “It’s like I’m invisible!”
• They are also highly opinionated about what happens to them. On vacation, they hated absolutely everything except Go Karting.
More Assertive and Daring
• They can be incredibly daring. This can cause safety problems.
o They might do something highly risky, like all of a sudden jump into a lake.
o They might take their seatbelt off in your vehicle.
o They can be an extreme danger to themselves in parking lots. They might dart out onto the road without looking for cars. Do not leave them unattended.
• They have no filter. They purposely yell at a restaurant, “This food is DAMN good!”
• They might call other kids something like, “Zoobie-head.”
• They make up their mind and do things. Perhaps they get to watch TV at 5:00 pm. At 4:07 they decide “It’s basically 5:00” and turn on the TV. It’s noticeably defiant compared to previous behavior.
• They totally zone out at times. Like you can say something 800 times and it doesn’t get through.
New Abilities Period
Big, Bold Adventures and Ambitions
• They want to do BIG and dangerous things, like canoeing.
• There is nothing they won’t try, including food and drinks.
• They might want to design their own skateboard out of something. There is method to how they do it, as they build different designs and number their iterations.
• They want to make several dozen batches of cupcakes all at once: some vanilla, some chocolate, some strawberry, some regular sized, some mini, and with all different frostings. Certainly, give wings to their ambitions, but you might need to pace them a bit.
• They might want to make YouTube videos.
• They might directly ask for some kind of allowance or budget to get the things they want.
• They like to be the lead in games (such as Red Light Green Light) or decide what everyone will play.
Socially Daring and Proactive
• They can be very daring socially.
• When something reminds them of something, they might drop some appropriate song lyrics. They get the lyrics exactly right. It’s very funny.
• You joke about how “cute they are. They aren’t cute: they’re 7. To correct you, at the right moment, with great personality and wit, they say, “I’m handsome, bro!”
• They drop jokes easily and often about themselves. You mention something they did when they were younger and, with full personality and great acting, they say, “Oh! Dark flashback!”
• They change their voice to be funny, perhaps doing a sort of yodel.
• Takes initiative to do something like make a Mother’s Day gift for you
• Very capable of doing something more socially independent, if and when you give enough patience, time, and guidance to make it happen. Such as, with clear instructions, they go to a drinking fountain station in a crowded restaurant and get you some more water. They are very proud of themselves as they bring it back, trying not to spill it.
Highly Socially Perceptive
• They make startling and dead funny comments, especially about adults.
• You might tell them you regretted buying something, and the person who sold it to you originally made you feel lousy about yourself. They look at you, in all seriousness, and say, “Mommy. I want to tell you something. Cops always want crime so they can take people to jail. Doctors always want people to be sick so they come to the hospital. And chefs always want you to be hungry so you come to their restaurant.”
• You might say that someone said something to you that was so obviously not true. They remark, “It’s like they are a liar who doesn’t know how to lie!”
• 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.
• They slowly ponder something interesting or kind of deep.
• They write out, “I feel good but that might be bad.”
• While at a playground, just absorbing their environment, they tell you, “I would describe my emotions as happy and bored. Mommy, did you know you can have two emotions at the same time?”
• If someone asked them if they have ever seen something, they would always say yes, because in the seconds it took for them to ask and for them to respond, they have seen it.
• Or they tell you, “I don’t tell anyone my secrets, because I can never get them back.” And then they admonish you for telling a secret, “And you said it, which is in the past, and now you can’t change it.”
• Fully interested in other children’s stories and thoughts and, after listening to them intently, tells them that was “interesting.”
• Can be found deep in thought.
• Clearly deep in thought at times. They might sometimes shake their head, with the wisdom of a seasoned expert, “I hate [that restaurant/that thing].”
Captivated by Nature
• They might get up early and tell you they did that just to see the beautiful sunrise.
• Or they tell you they love nature so much more than anything man-made.
• 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.”
• Loves having attention on them. 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.”
• They might get taken over by a giggle fit, noticing the giggle fit itself of which makes them laugh harder and harder. They get the biggest kick out of how hard they are laughing.
• They are aware of their own actions and how it ended up hurting them. In class, they wanted to play Red Light/Green Light, but everyone was saying they wanted to play another game. Unbeknownst to themselves, they raised their hand for the OTHER game too, after seeing how enthusiastic everyone else was about it. They are upset with themselves for not raising their hand or saying the game they wanted to play.
• 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.”
• They tell you about stuff from their youth. That time you tried to make a smoothie and snuck vegetables into it (years ago)…they could tell the vegetables were in it.
• It’s as if they can get outside of their body and look in at what they are doing and they are evaluating it, in a plain, objective manner.
More Emotionally Stable
• If they stomp off to their room, it’s more reliable that they will already be in a chipper mood by the time you go talk to them.
A Fun, In-The-Moment Personality
• As soon as they put on their Hermione outfit, they say, in full character, “It’s Leviosa, not Leviosaaaaa!” They give a little laugh and head shake afterwards, fully knowing how funny it was.
• They might be a bit of a “bro.” They might literally walk around saying, “hey, bro!”
Thinks in Proportions
• They can and even might often think 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?
• They describe things in proportions. A black widow spider has “a tiny head and a really big butt.”
• They might enjoy reading something about what the fastest of smallest of anything is, such as a Guinness Book of World Records.
• They might figure out that 1/infinity is the smallest number possible. The following numbers keep getting smaller: ½, 1/3, ¼, 1/5, etc., and so 1/infinity is the smallest.
• They can, indeed, also think of infinity readily. They also readily accept that 0 is the absence of something. They don’t need to see the “0.”
• They might start remembering things from years ago.