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10 Things Five Year Olds Are Supposed to Do (and Not Do)

Erin Zammett Ruddy

Yesterday was Alex’s fifth birthday and I chose to use the milestone as a way to implement some new rules in the house. Yes, we also celebrated with friends and family and three different cakes (when your bday falls over Labor Day weekend, the partying never ends) but Alex is very proud to finally be a five year old and I am taking advantage of that. I’m trying to parlay his bday pride into impeccable behavior--and it’s kind of working.

Here’s what I’ve told him over the past few days:

“Five year olds wipe their own butts, Al.”

“Oh, you didn’t hear? Five year olds don’t say no to their moms.”

“Oooh, five year olds don’t push their sisters. Sorry, I thought you knew that one!”

“Five year olds wait to be excused from the dinner table. Ooops, and they clear their dishes.”

“I hate to break it to you dude, but five year olds don’t talk back to their parents. That’s something four year olds do.”

“Five year olds don’t use those words, bud.” (e.g. poopy head, butt hole, stupid)

“You don’t want to pick up the playroom? Well, I guess you have to because it’s totally something five year olds do.”

“Oh yeah, five year olds definitely strap themselves in.”

“Yep, five year olds play by themselves sometimes without needing to be constantly entertained and dazzled by their entertaining and dazzling parents. Go on now, give it a shot.”

“Are you serious?! Five year olds use their forks. Two year olds use their forks, Al, c’mon.”

I’m wondering how long I can keep this up but so far it’s really effective. He seems very keen on doing all the things five year olds are supposed to do. Pretty good trick, huh? Oh, and he starts Kindergarten wednesday (ack! more on this later!) and there are TONS of things Kindergarteners do and don’t do, right? This week could be a major turning point in the Ruddy house. I may have a well behaved kid yet! Happy birthday, Alex. Hope all of you are enjoying your long weekends. More soon.