7 Hidden Challenges Of Parenting A 5-Year-Old

by Lindsay Parkinson
Originally Published: 
A five-year-old smiling, with her eyes widely open at the table

Babies are hard. I get that.

Toddlers are hard. I get that, too.

But you know what else is hard?

Five Year Olds.

5-year-olds are rarely the topic of discussion and it is my goal to change that reality. Preparation is key, folks! Here are 7 things I want you to know about parenting a five year old:

1. Expressions.

Don’t use them unless you’re interested in the condescending dialogue that ensues. For example, a harmless “I would have killed for that opportunity” will receive a resounding “killing is wrong!” speech that I’m sure continues in public, at school. I can picture it now: ”My mom was going to kill someone on the weekend, but I stopped her…”

2. Questions.

There will be so many questions. “Who makes movies? How do our eyeballs grow? Where do they put dogs when they die? Do fish get pregnant? What happens to goats during a tornado?” And this all starts at the crack of dawn, before coffee, on year five of exhaustion. If you can answer any of these questions with ease, I applaud you.

3. Body Talk.

In our house (and likely in yours, too), the bathroom has been a multi-person place since the induction of motherhood. Privacy doesn’t exist and life continues even while you’re doing bathroom things. This leads to conversation starters that I am not prepared to share publicly. Ones that I’m not even prepared to address privately. Be forewarned.

4. Pride of Knowledge.

If they learn something new, you can bet they are going to share it. Especially if it seems a little more “edgy” than the stuff taught at school. I’m pretty sure my daughter delivered the story of menstruation to random children in the slide line. It’s my hope that it was delivered with accuracy and not with the usual flare she adds whilst storytelling.

5. Brutal Honesty.

If you’ve put on a few pounds, there might be a “Mom, are you having another baby?” And while getting ready for work, there might be a “Is that actually what you’re wearing?” Or, like me, you might have spent 40 minutes curling your hair, only to be asked why it’s so messy before walking out the door. Yep. Maybe you can reunite with your ego at age 6.

6. Conflicting Routines.

If you deviate from the kindergarten routines at all in your home, you will be asked to reflect and justify your choices. It’s as though the routines created by the teacher possess more authority than the routines created by Mom or Dad. Mmm hmm. If I don’t greet that nice person at the bank with “Welcome to KG1C, we are like a family,” I’m in trouble.

7. Fingerlings.

I have never been so aggravated by a toy in my life.

This article was originally published on