When Your Kid is the Big Kid


My youngest son turned 5 in January. 

He’s smart, and funny, and really energetic.

He’s also 4’1.

Yep, that’s freaky big for a preschooler.

He’s the tallest kid in his class.

He’s the tallest kid on his soccer team, in his swim class, and in his gymnastics class.  He’s the tallest kid on his football team, in his story class, and most places we go where other kids his age (or close) dwell.

Which is awesome.

Except it seems that most of the other parents don’t think so.

It started really when he was about 18 months old.  He was tall then too and people used to give us “the look” when he’d cry for me to carry him.  You know “the look”.  The why-is-she-carrying-that-big-old-boy-like-he’s-a-baby look.

I wanted to scream, “BECAUSE HE IS!  HE’S JUST A BABY!”

He didn’t look like one, and honestly he didn’t talk like one either (he learned to talk pretty early) so I get it.  But he still was one and he acted like one, at least sometimes.

As he’s gotten older the judgy looks have continued.  When he was drinking from a sippy cup at 2 while looking 4.  Or, riding in a stroller at 3 while looking 6, with his feet dragging on the ground. 

Now that he’s older, it’s in sports.

He’s faster and stronger and bigger than all of the other kids.  He’s competitive, he’s athletic, and he loves playing sports.  So, when he runs out on the field, passes all of the other children, and scores every goal of the game, we get “the look”.

Recently I had a dad approach me and question me about my son’s age, saying that he feels like he wants me to prove that my 5 year old is actually 5.

I kinda wanted to prove that I had a mean right hook, but instead I laughed.  Because, really?  I’m going to put my just-turned-5-year-old who still cries on the first day of practice and really only just shows up and plays hard for the promise of a post game snack, on a team below his actual age with kids that can’t keep up because…?  One day, he will seem even more amazing than he already is?

Yeah, no.  That’s what crazy people do.

And, I may be the mother of a freaky-big, crazy-fast 5-year-old with a wicked accurate left-footed goal kick, but I’m not crazy.

And, I’m not going to ask my son to stop doing well at something just because other parents don’t like it.

It’s not his fault that he came out big.  And, he shouldn’t be punished because he’s got the size and motor skills of a seven year old (seriously, the average height of a 7 year old boy is 48 inches).

We constantly remind him to be gentle, to be careful of children around him, and to be polite and apologetic when he accidentally plows over someone. 

But, what else can we do?  Make him go easy on the smaller kids (which means all of them)?  Hold him back to give the other kids a chance (unlikely, he’s a machine)?

Or, just ignore judgy parents and their birth certificate demanding ways?

Image via Amanda Rodriguez

What do you think?

When Your Kid is the Big Kid

Amanda has been wowing the Internet since 2008 when she launched her pretty-much-useless guide for parents, parenting BY dummies. As it turns out, her parenting advice is not generally useful for more than a good laugh, but sometimes that’s exactly what you need! Amanda spends her offline time (which is embarrassingly limited) running a photography business, working as a social media director for a local magazine, writing freelance articles about stuff she loves, wrangling her 3 little Dudes ... More

Tell us what you think!


  1. Lynda says:

    My children are all tall for their ages also, and unfortunately you don’t only have to worry about "the look." Last year we had HUGE issues with my oldest son being bullied. He is very tall and also overweight, and very nice and kind of a loner. The smallest kid in his class was mean to everyone and got in trouble a lot but singled my son out. One day I got a call from my son’s teacher to tell me that this kid had brought a BB gun to school to intimidate my son. We ended up telling my son to always try to be the bigger person and walk away, but if this kid hits you, you better hit him back! Long story short towards the end of the school year this kid DID hit my son, and my son DID hit back. He got a very short detention because he hit another child but everyone was very proud of him for standing up for himself. We have also enrolled our sons in martial arts to teach them confidence and discipline with the hopes that they will never have to use it. I also have a letter in my son’s file saying he can never be in the same class as the child that bullied him last year.
    Children can’t help being tall any more than they can help their eye color, so it’s up to us as parents to keep their confidence up and not let other people’s ignorance affect our kids.

  2. April says:

    thank you so much! my oldest is 8 and a little over 5 ft tall. my almost 3 year old is about 3 feet tall. we recently went clothes shopping and my 8 year old has grown out of the girls department. she cried because we have to (very carefully) shop the juniors dept. i wanted to get her a pair of sandals and her feet are too wide, for all of khols and payless that we found we liked. my almost 3 year old still rides in her stroller and as much as i try to frown upon it she likes her milk in a bottle. I get serious looks when i take her to get her big sister from school which is about her nap time. thank you for letting me know i am not the only one struggling with this. and for giving me a place to vent.

  3. Sarah says:

    This is my daughter! She’s 4 and just shy of 48 inches. We get looks all the time from people because of the way she’s acting or talking (normal for her age). Or because they think we’re lying to get her in free or at a lower cost. Or because she was still in diapers. She potty trained kind of late (just before she turned four) and a lot of people would stare or give me dirty looks when I was changing her diaper in public. She is one size smaller than her 8 year old cousin right now and it doesn’t seem to bother her but she does run into problems when she tries to play with other kids. She gravitates towards the kids her size, but they are 3 to 4 years older than her and they don’t want to play with a 4 year old. My husband is 6′ 1" and I’m 5′ 10" so she definitely gets her height from us, but the predictors say she will be 6′ 3" when she’s fully grown. Wow!

  4. DANIELLE says:

    Thank you for posting my daughter is 2 and is 38.5 inches 99% for her age!( over half of me her father is the tall one) I have always been proud of her she pretty and tall what more could a mother ask for but the other day at work I was talking to a client and maybe bragging just a little on how tall she is and she brought up the fact that people would have higher expectations of her and I guess that was the first time I thought that when she gets to school or into sports that people will question her age and kids maybe a little harsh! But I am happy and proud of her and will have to remember that she is bigger and will probably get looks and that’s fine! We will put those to the side and and make sure she knows she can do anything she wants!

  5. Sherri says:

    My oldest has always been very tall and speaks very well for his age. I used to get "the look" all the time when he was two. I thought I was going to have to actually carry his birth certificate with me because it was obvious people thought I was lying about his age to take advantage of the freebies for kids under two. We have always had to teach him to be careful, so as not to hurt the other little kids, too. It is hard for young children who are very tall, I think.

  6. Morgan Hart says:

    My son is three, but also rather tall and has spoken well since he was one. We haven’t yet entered the world of sports, but frequently run into adults who expect my son to act “beter than that” when he gets whiny or has the occassional meltdown. Granted, he’s a good kid, but he has his three year old moments:) I have to frequently remind others (and even myself) that he’s only three when he looks and talks like a five year old.

  7. Natalia says:

    This is my kid!! This is exactly my oldest. He’s smart, athletic, developed early, looks like a 7 or 8 year old kid! I’ve gotten the looks, in fact I even do it myself sometimes! I expect more out of him. I have to remind myself, he’s only 6! He is huge and is supposed to end up somewhere around 6’10"! But I’m with you, we tell him to be nice but play hard! It’s good for the other kids to try to keep up!


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