Kids are Most Fun When They're Learning to be Independent

When are children the most fun to have? To a lot of people, their kids' "best" age is probably whatever age they were in the current batch of old photos taped to the fridge: photos don't scream, throw food, or have diaper blowouts. But if you had to pick one specific age, what would it be?


According to the results of a survey taken in the United Kingdom, a whopping 40% of British parents enjoyed their children at age 5 over any other age. (The agreed-upon worst age, by the way, was the 10-to-12-year-old range. Parents and kids agree: puberty is the actual worst.)

And it's not too hard to figure out why. Here's a short list of things that 5-year-olds can fairly reliably be counted on not to do:

  • Take off their socks and then panic because they don't know how to put their socks back on.
  • Ask to borrow the car keys.
  • Lose the car keys.
  • Wake up to be fed 6 times a night.
    • Develop pimples or any of the other associated joys of adolescence.
  • Lie on the floor and cry every night when you go in the kitchen to make dinner.
  • Ask for help with trigonometry homework. (And if you do have a 5-year-old who does this, you should be happy anyway.)


More from The Stir: The Newborn Stage Is Hard But You'll Forget All About It Soon Enough

5-year-olds are, rather wondefully, amenable to logic and reason. They're developing independence, but still want and need you around. You still know enough to help them with schoolwork and projects. You're still cool to them. Meanwhile, by the time a kid turns 10 or so, you are the least cool person on the planet, the kid is a walking mass of hormones ready to self-destruct at a moment's notice, and they probably do wake up 6 times a night to eat again as their growing body tries to keep up with its needs. Hopefully they're at least independent enough to make themselves a sandwich without help -- and mature enough to close the fridge without slamming it and waking the household.

If your kids have already left age 5 in the dust (or if puberty is looming on the near horizon), don't fret too much: remember that 60% of parents had some other age in mind as childrearing paradise, and not everyone agreed that age 10-12 was childrearing hell. Every age has its fair share of trouble -- and its own kind of fun.

Image via © Kevin Dodge/Corbis

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