5 Ways to Manage Your Child's First Crush
If you’re experiencing a little one who has discovered she feels like she’s falling in love, take heart and know that this is quite normal and nothing to be alarmed at. Mighty Mommy shares 5 ways you can assist Cupid and help her manage her first crush.
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I’ll never forget the first field trip I chaperoned for my oldest daughter, now 24 years old. Her Kindergarten class went to a local farm to have a hayride to the pumpkin patch. I was so excited to be a part of it, especially when she called me over to meet some of her friends.
We left happy and sticky from the farm fresh apple cider along with two big, beautiful pumpkins. The car ride home was full of conversation about the day when all of a sudden she began to giggle and asked me how I liked her friend Chester. I said I enjoyed meeting all her friends, but the conversation circled right back to Chester, or “Chetty” as she referred to him. Within minutes she let me in on a little secret—Chetty was her new boyfriend!
In How to Handle Your Child’s First Crush experts say that kids commonly have their first crush when they're 5 or 6. "Younger children focus their love on their family," explains Cynthia Langtiw, Psy.D., assistant professor at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. "But as kids enter kindergarten or first grade, they feel affection for their classmates too because they're spending more time in school and in activities outside their family."
If you’re now experiencing a little one who has discovered she feels like she’s falling in love, take heart and know that this is quite normal and nothing to be alarmed at. Mighty Mommy shares five ways you can assist Cupid and help her manage her first crush.
#1. Be Gentle
A first crush can be a really big deal for your young child, and from what I’ve experienced with my 8 kids, they are usually very excited to share that they have a special new someone in their lives. I admit I was a bit surprised when my oldest daughter announced she had a bit of a love interest at age 5, but I saw how tender and special she felt because of her feelings for little Chester so I didn’t want to squash it and make her feel like she was wrong to have a crush.
Instead, take a gentle approach and make some time to talk with your child about exactly what type of feelings they have for their crush. “It looked to me like Chester makes you feel really happy and you enjoy being around him?” Be sure to normalize your child's feelings to keep them from getting embarrassed around their crush. And definitely don’t tease your child; this will only result in hurt feelings and could keep her from being open to talking to you about their crushes; now and in the future. Let them know that having a crush is totally normal and healthy.
#2. Ask Questions
Allison Bates, a registered clinical counsellor, states that it can be a challenge for parents to react appropriately. “You still see them as your little babies,” she says. For that reason, it’s important to have a plan.” She states that when your child has a crush, it’s the beginning of talking about relationships with him. Therefore, instead of shying away from the topic, she recommends asking questions. “Why do you like that boy?” or “What interests you about him? Is he funny? Is he really good at soccer?” she suggests. Focus on what they value about their crush. This will help kids see the importance of their own inner qualities.