1. bumblebot
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    bumblebot Senior Member

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    Questions for parents of kids age 3 to 7

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by bumblebot, Oct 4, 2011.

    I have a character who is a young child. I'd like to ask some questions about the capabilities and behavior of kids in his age range before I pick exactly how old he is. Please write as little or as much as you want.

    How old is your kid?
    When do they start asking questions about their environment, like why something is the way it is?
    If they were to ask you why some people have a different skin color than them, how would you explain it so they understood?
    If they have asked the above question, how old were they?
    What are some of the biggest words they use?
    Can you write down some quotes from them to give a sense of how they talk?
    How well do they understand death?
    What scares them, and what do they do when they are afraid?
    How attached to you are they, and how does this attachment manifest?
    Do they believe whatever you say?
    Do they understand what dreams are (nighttime dreams, not aspirations) and how do they talk about their own dreams?

    And, if you want, anything else you want to say about your kid. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Dithnir
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    Dithnir Member

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    5 year old twins
    They start asking questions probably at about 3 properly and on from there
    I have had to explain black skin as 'their mums and dads, or even nans and gramps or great nans and gramps come from hot countries where your skin is black to protect it from the sun'. In other words it isn't easy :)
    I can't quite remember, I think it was at 4 years of age
    At 5 their biggest words are usually 3 syllables, possibly 4
    They know death takes people away for ever and this upsets them but they rarely think about it
    They are scared of the dark, scared of things on tv, ghosts etc., they are also scared of mum and dad if they are angry ;)
    They are incredibly attached, there is a fair bit of physical affection but the most usual manifestation is when they're not comfortable with a situation, place or people, then they come running and stay close, hugging your leg or looking to be picked up
    They believe everything you say, you are like the font of all knowledge, but with the right visual cues they can get when you're kidding or taking the mickey too, even some irony if the cues are there :) If you say something obviously wrong, something that they have learned is not the case in school or just doesn't make sense, they'll call you on it too.
    They do have vivid dreams, can talk about them if they remember them.

    if you have any family or friends with kids, aunties, uncles, neighbours, your best bet by far is just to spend some time with kids that age, ask some questions or just listen in.
     
  3. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    One of my nieces is 5.

    I have to say that in any case, this is dependent on how well the parents explain it. If they just say, "Oh, umm, it's gone now" (assuming 'it' is a pet or something), that can be confusing.

    For a while, my niece would be terrified of the vacuum cleaner and she'd just cling to you and suck her fingers and stare toward it.

    See the above. Mostly, for me, she just wants to play all the time. It gets kind of annoying, but I'm not really into kids constantly. My ex's little sister was about the same. My mate's little brother would cry every time I was going home. Little children differ like that.

    My niece doesn't sometimes. When she went to Melbourne last year to visit her aunt (my sister), they apparently had a lot of trouble getting her to sleep. They'd be telling her it was 9pm, but because Melbourne's so far south, it'd still be light out, and she'd be all, "Nah, you're trickin'!"


    Hope that can help a bit.
     
  4. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's funny how children remark on some things but not others. When she was three, my daughter had a book with a picture of kids playing. She told me, "This picture is me and Dilara". The picture showed two white children playing--Dilara was (dark) black (her father was American). You'd have thought she'd find this unusual since there are almost no black people where we live. Later, she said that it was just like Dilara because the child in the picture had short curly hair tied up in bunches, and was wearing shorts. My kids always seem to come at things from a different angle...

    When I was in Singapore as a child, I remember it never really seemed strange that there were four races living there (the flag shows four hands clasping wrists, all different colours). I just thought, "Oh, they all look different here, that's nice," and I never really questioned why or where the people had originally come from...
     
  5. AmyHolt
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    AmyHolt Contributing Member

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    My boys are teens now but for some reason I kept amazing journals when they were little and spouting funny bit. I guess they don't spout so many amazing tidbits anymore because I don't journal quite so much.

    They didn't really deal with much death between the ages of 3-7 but the few times they did it was general only moments of sadness because they got distracted easily by the school bus that drove by that they love to see. Meaning they lived in the moment.

    We have a lot of skin tones in our family so the color of someone's skin didn't seem to register. It was not any different than people having different colored hair or someone being taller than another person.

    Dreams scared them sometimes but they understood that they weren't real.

    One of my sons was very attached and rarely ventured from my side. The other son would go with a stranger anywhere.

    A couple journal quotes - keep in mind my older son is way to smart and talked super early with huge words. My younger son was completely opposite. The strange thing is it's the younger son who talks all the time now.

    Jeffrey (almost 4) showed me a garage sale sticker that got stuck to the top of his foot. "I have a sticker, mom. It's from a garage sale, but don't really sell me because I'm a boy and I want to stay with you." I told him not to worry, I'd never sell him.

    Kevin (age barely 3) Everyday after Jeffrey gets on the bus Kevin asks, "Where's Jeffrey?" He asks this dozens of time everyday. He thinks I should know exactly what Jeffrey is doing at any given moment.

    Jeffrey (age 5) We've talked many times about the panic button on the key pad for the truck and how you should only push the button in emergencies. We had pulled our truck onto the lawn and it rained really hard and the truck got stuck in the mud. When it was clear that we weren't going to get the truck out without help Jeffrey pointed to the key chain and asked, "Should we push the panic button now?"

    Kevin (almost 4) Everytime something exciting or fun has happened lately Kevin has said, "I can't believe it! I'm so happy!" This has been going on for weeks now, several times a day.

    Jeffrey (age 7) is usually so good during church but today he was all over the bench and couldn't seem to be quiet. I had to take him out. In the foyer I asked him what the problem was today. He said, "Mom, the Spirit just moves me." Yes, he completely understood how cheeky that was.

    While camping my husband told a ghost story that was straight up truth about paying taxes. Kevin (age 6) listened with wide eyes. When the story was over he said, "Wow, it's a good thing that's not true!"

    Hopefully those little stories will help you figure out what kids do and say at different ages. :)
     
  6. bumblebot
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    bumblebot Senior Member

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    Thanks everyone, this was very helpful.
     
  7. shybutterfly
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    shybutterfly New Member

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    How old is your kid? 3

    When do they start asking questions about their environment, like why something is the way it is? She hasn't started asking about that yet. Thank god!

    If they were to ask you why some people have a different skin color than them, how would you explain it so they understood? I would say people come in all shapes and sizes and that is just how they were born and i think that answer would suffice.

    If they have asked the above question, how old were they? She hasn't asked why people are different colors, although she does notice it

    What are some of the biggest words they use? Gorgeous, Cooperate, and Sparkly. These are only because she heard me use them.

    Can you write down some quotes from them to give a sense of how they talk? The puppy bit her hair yesterday and she goes " The puppy bit my hair on purpose and that's why it was an ass-i-dent" (that's accident)" Or "Good girl for going potty ma ma"

    How well do they understand death? Well she knows death is when you don't wake up ever again.

    What scares them, and what do they do when they are afraid? She is scared of the song Hickory Dicory Dock. When she hears it her eyes get big and she goes "Oh no, not hicky dicory"

    How attached to you are they, and how does this attachment manifest? She is mainly independent, but her attachment shows when she wants to play with me for hours on end.

    Do they believe whatever you say? At 3 for the most part

    Do they understand what dreams are (nighttime dreams, not aspirations) and how do they talk about their own dreams? I am not sure. I don't think she understands that yet.

    And, if you want, anything else you want to say about your kid. Thanks in advance.
     
  8. lostinwebspace
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    lostinwebspace Active Member

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    How old is your kid?
    I have a girl turning 4 on Tuesday.

    When do they start asking questions about their environment, like why something is the way it is?
    She questions other information about the environment, but not the environment utself. I think she's a take-it-as-it-is girl, so she doesn't necessary question the environment. She'll question more what something is called, not why it's there or how it does what it does. In short, she's never asked why the sky is blue. She just likes a blue sky.

    If they were to ask you why some people have a different skin color than them, how would you explain it so they understood?
    Hoenstly, she's never asked this. I think she sees colours can be applied to people like they can crayons. People are different colours and that's that. She's mixed maternally Asian/paternally Caucasian, so the differences in skin colour have been with her since birth. So maybe it's invisible to her.

    What are some of the biggest words they use?
    She says "spaghetti," but she mispronounces that in the usual way. She's at three-syllable words: potato (which, apparently, is intercheangable with tomato), cereal, etc. Mind you, these are short and simple three-syllable words. But she understands nounal phrases such as "old car," "new car," "Kraft Dinner," etc. Whether she thinks of these as one concept or two words to make one concept, I don't know. So you could argue that some of these are multisyllabic nouns. And I guess I'm rambling right now. :D

    Can you write down some quotes from them to give a sense of how they talk?
    One common thing she does is repeat the word "is" when asking questions: "What's the name of this song is" or "What's the time is," for instance. She also has problems with verb-noun agreement, mostly with tenses: "I needs to go pee-pee" or "The mailman brings us the mail yesterday". To get a sense of how they talk, you should hang out with one. I could give a few choice quotes, but I don't know if it would flesh it out in your mind quite so much. Also, every verb is a regular verb: there is no "taught," "brought," "spat." It's "teached," "bringed," and "spitted."

    How well do they understand death?
    She doesn't. She's heard of it before. She knows her grandmother has gone on to a better place. But she doesn't get the concept and she talks about it rather frankly. One time she just remarked to her mommy, "Mah-mah's dead" (the Asian approximation for maternal grandmother is "mah-mah").

    What scares them, and what do they do when they are afraid?
    She is terrified of thunderstorms. Even rain sometimes gets her upset because she knows the thunder and lightning are coming, even if she likes rain itself. She has night terrors, so otherwise innocuous toys have been sources of fear for her at some times eevn while awake. She likes playing with a 15" Spider-Man figure I have, but one night when it was in her room, she woke up, called me in, and said she was scared of it while whimpering. She was also once scared of a poster, though I forget what was on it. Anyway, the poster had been in her room for several nights before.

    When she's scared, she'll whimper or cry out (the usual things or night terrors) so we can hear her over the monitor, or hug on for dear life (thunderstorms) if we're present. She'll be petrified to sleep in her own room in the latter case. Some whimpering is involved.

    How attached to you are they, and how does this attachment manifest?
    She's more attached to mommy than me. I think that's the norm, but there are, of course, those exceptions. The attachment manifests in preferences for activities: mommy is the bath wizard, the bedtime wizard, the storytime wizard, the outing wizard, the one she prefers to sit next to at dinnertime, the one she prefers to drive the car (go figure). She also prefers mommy's music over mine, I think just because she's programmed to prefer mommy's whatever, not because of any actual taste. The only thing I get is walks, mostly because she can ride on my shoulders (but I think she genuinely has more fun on walks with me).

    But like any kid, when you drop her off in a new environment (day care, school, wherever you have to leave them), their attachment will go from mere preferences to downright clinginess. She's shy. Some kids aren't and run off without so much as a goodbye, but my girl is shy.

    Do they believe whatever you say?
    Yes, but they have a sixth sense about joking. If I tell her Santa Claus is real, she'll buy it. If I tell her I'm going to make her a banana and mustard sandwich, she'll giggle and say, "Ewwwww."

    Do they understand what dreams are (nighttime dreams, not aspirations) and how do they talk about their own dreams?
    Yes. She talks about her dreams a lot. She doesn't really remember them much, but she'll mention she had one.
     
  9. Leah
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    Leah Member

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    How old is your kid? 5/7/9

    When do they start asking questions about their environment, like why something is the way it is? The "Why's" for us started in/around 3-4 and only gets worse. LOL. It seems to calm down around 7 ish...

    If they were to ask you why some people have a different skin color than them, how would you explain it so they understood? Mainly to explain there are all sorts of people in the world, how boring it would be if we all looked the same. This really IS NOT a big issue with kids though, to be honest. They ask, you say something like above and they are like "ok, cool"....it's amazing how non judgemental we are as children.

    If they have asked the above question, how old were they? Could be as young as 3-4 depending on the child. Some are just more observant and curious than others.

    What are some of the biggest words they use? That's a hard one to answer. Being in school they learn new words every day and pretty much speak like you and I ~ without all the descriptive.

    How well do they understand death? This is hit/miss with each child. Depends on if they have had it affect their lives, but more importantly how the adults around them deal with it. If a parent is sullen and crying all the time and cannot move on, talks about the person, visits the grave all the time etc etc then the child becomes more anxious about it. We have gone through two losses with the kids (grandparents) and it was hard but they are AMAZINGLY resilient. It's also really something to overhear the kids talking in the other room about death. They just try and figure it out in their own way. Most things with kids are black and white and "it is what it is"...

    How attached to you are they, and how does this attachment manifest? This again depends more on the parent. Early on, most chldren are attached the the parent. If a parent allows this all the time, the kids will become more dependent and clingy. If they allow for room to grow, the children love being with the parent but also love their independent time and manage well in a daycare, school, babysitting, sleepover situation.

    Do they believe whatever you say? Until the age of 5, yes. After that, not so much. :p

    Do they understand what dreams are (nighttime dreams, not aspirations) and how do they talk about their own dreams? They know they happen only at night when they sleep. My best way to help them through it was to explain that it wasn't real (which they don't understand -everything is so vibrant and real to a child), and explained to them that it was like a TV show that runs when you are sleeping. Sometimes it's a funny show, sad show, scary show but then when we wake up the TV goes off. They have to know it's ok to be bothered by our dreams but that the "boogeyman" that was chasing them in their dream is not lurking in the house when they wake up....the older they get too the more they share their funny dreams and not just tell you about nightmares. Most kids I have met are very into dream catchers. They love the idea of something coming to help take the bad dreams away.


    Hope some of this was helpful! :)
     
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