How to handle your child's first crush?

From their first coherent word to their first tumble (where your heart jumped out of the chest), as parents, every first experience with your little one is a roller-coaster ride and a memory of a lifetime. Things become peculiarly interesting when it comes to the matters of the heart.

Tell us if this sounds familiar. It is one of those days when you and your kiddo are discussing school and suddenly, you find your child swooning and giggling over this kid who used to evoke zero interest before. Uh-oh. You are witnessing it all. The easy blushes, the shy grin and innocent eagerness to sit or play with this another kid all the time and you suddenly realise that you are little one isn’t so little anymore.

So, what do you do now? Do you become a friend and teach your child all about the opposite sex, is it finally the time for the birds and bees talk or do you become indifferent to their feelings and pray that it passes? What possibly could be the normal reaction to this situation? Fret not, we are doling out the best ways to handle your child’s first brush with infatuation and puppy love.

Stay calm and gentle

Whether your child has eagerly confided his little love story to you or you have found out on your own, it is important to be gentle with your approach. Don’t drill your child for details immediately and let them open up on their own. Remember to normalise your child’s feeling instead of teasing them or telling them it is bad to feel that way and poking them for more details.

Ask the right questions

When talking about your little one’s first infatuation, make sure that you ask the right questions. It can be something along the lines of “What do you like about him/her?”, “What do you guys talk about at school?”, “What games do you two play together?” or even “What do you feel about your crush?” It is important to stay calm to keep the doors of communication open.

Set boundaries

In addition to validating your little one’s feelings and understanding his/her perspective, it is also the right time to tell them what is okay and not okay for them to do at this point. So sharing lunch and playing together is good, kissing on cheeks and holding hands all the time? Not so much. Gently encourage your child to tell you what all they do together throughout the day.

Tell them it is normal

Remember when you felt butterflies in your tummy for the very first time? Exactly! It can be an overwhelming time for your little one, so you can tell them the story of your first crush to normalise their feelings. Also, if a kid has a crush on your child and your little one doesn’t share the same emotions, take this as an opportunity to tell them it is okay to not be with someone if they don’t like it.

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