Mar 14, 2012

Pre-Schoolers vs School Kids

Any parent will tell you that your kids Grow Up alarmingly as soon as they hit school.

When they're babies and toddlers you hear this an awful lot from other parents: "Enjoy every minute; it goes by so fast."

Fast? I remember thinking, during those first two years. I feel like I'm walking through molasses.

It wasn't until they were about 4 that I started to get a sense of that "goes by so fast" thing.

While I've loved every stage my kids have passed through (each time thinking, "Oh, this stage is the best!"), I always looked forward to their school days when we would do fun stuff together, talk more, and grapple with schoolwork, the schoolyard, life and the universe.

I have always loved older kids, and before I had my own kids I was pretty good talking with school kids and pretty hopeless/uninterested with babies and toddlers.

Now I am a parent, of course, I am BRILLIANT with all of them. Such an expert!

So today I drew this quick cartoon about the differences between pre-school kids and school kids.

There are charms and horrors to both stages, of course.

Pre-School Kids
  • are always up for a cuddle
  • don't get embarrassed by you
  • revere you as the centre and light of their world
  • will happily eat cooked carrot as a snack
  • will wear what you buy for them
  • love The Wiggles and will still watch ABC2 and Play School
  • bounce up and down charmingly when they run
  • can throw tantrums that are horrible and terrifying, and that can last for a long time
  • need you to play with them and talk to them and smile at them and give them your sole undivided attention for at least 25 hours a day
  • want to do everything themselves but can't, and get crabby as a result
  • have night terrors and sleep issues that leave you exhausted and wondering why the hell you are STILL having these problems with a four year old

School Kids
  • are very particular about what they wear to school, so that you find yourself washing the same item 4 times a week while alternatives sit unworn in the drawer
  • are still delighted to see you when you pick them up
  • are adamant that they don't want anything "babyish" such as Winnie the Pooh, The Wiggles or Dora - but still love their My Little Pony, Fisher Price Little People and Dora Princesses
  • if they are girls, revere Barbie and Bratz in a way that chills your blood
  • are clever and insightful and will amaze you with things they have figured out
  • are no longer excited by bubbles in the bath or homemade milkshakes
  • are sneaky and manipulative and will prey on your tendency to think of them as young and helpless
  • make you smile with their cool dance routines and street slang
  • alternatively join in and fret over the Lord of the Flies stuff that goes on in the schoolyard
  • will let you know when you embarrass them
  • don't always want you to play with them
  • hanker for the society of other kids
  • alternate between not wanting you to hold their hand or cuddle them at the school gate, and crying "MUMMY!" and running to your arms

Have I missed anything in these lists?
What age(s) did you enjoy with your kids and why?


  1. You missed out "You whip your kid's butt at handball" for the school aged kids. :)

    I played handball, as a purely magnanimous gesture, you understand, with my 9yo last weekend, and he was flabbergasted that not only did I know how to play, I was much better than him!

    (Handball, in this context, is played with a tennis ball (or similar sized rubber ball) with 2 or more players in squares. It's played in Australian school playgrounds and looks nothing like the Olympic sport of handball: )

    1. Handball explanation for non-Aus readers - I realised that sounds really condescending to anyone who grew up with it! :)

    2. No worries Ariane - I liked it! Added value :)
      You are right I did forget about games!
      I am hopeless at handball but I can totally whip their butts on totem tennis!
      Trying to teach little kids how to play Snakes and Ladders or Trouble and how they won't always win: very sucky. School age they start to get it. On the flip side, it's been a couple of years and you're still playing Trouble...

  2. Frighteningly accurate, Ms K!

    I too found the 0-4 years very hard going but now look upon them fondly and Sapphire loves to hear the reminiscences about the things she did, said, played with etc.

    Luckily, cuddles still feature pretty strongly - just not in the presence of any other kids...!



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