The five year old is on a threshold. They can still be reveling in toddler-hood or forging through into childhood. I think many parents can find this age very stressful for them – I definitely am right now!
Things to keep in mind about our five year olds according to the Gesell Institute:
- Five is the height of nightmares. They might not be able to wake well or go back to bed well. It is a fact with my own son, who started waking daily and coming in our bed again telling us he is having bad dreams. Sometimes they might scream out and not be able to calm down as they won’t wake well.
- May revert to toilet accidents
- VERY ready to go against what is asked or expected of them
- Lots of tensional outlets- you know those things that tick our boxes like picking noses, head banging, masturbation, fidgety
- Doesn’t quite want new or different
- Wants to do everything just right
- Might prefer to stay home with mama than play with children
Living with a five year old, we need to bring two things into their lives: Rhythm and rules.
Without a rhythm we will be arguing most of the day with our 5 year old. This is something which I got reminded myself recently as B’s behaviour was deteriorating and becoming unbearable. I saw we lost a bit our rhythm in recent months when it comes to B’s needs and that together with other things have led to some difficult moment. Currently working to bring back a rhythm that carries our day, so that he again knows what will happen next, making him feel more secure and more happy to comply with family rules.
On the other hand, rules need to be simple. Trying to change my own perception of how I look at them from controlling behaviour into giving them skills to learn and master. This is not easy but looking at phrasing in a simple, positive manner I know will help in my current cause. So give this a go parents!
Ultimately, we need to keep working on ourselves and our own habits. Review negative habits that you have not yet mastered: do you nag, command, dominate, yell, shame or punish your child instead of finding positive alternatives? Can you work on finding those positive alternatives? What about keeping calm and help your child physically follow through in a peaceful way with whatever you asked them to do?