25 Things to Do Before Your Child Turns 5

Violet’s 3rd birthday has come and gone, and as cliché as it may be, time really does go by so very quickly when you spend your days with children. They grow so quickly that you, quite literally, watch time pass right before your eyes. It’s amazing, awe inspiring, and, of course, just a little bit sad. Don’t we all want to keep them tiny forever?

I shared this PureWow article: 25 Things to Do Before Your Child Turns 5  in the Peace, Love and Literacy Facebook group months ago, and while I like to keep that content exclusive, I was scrolling through the archives it reminded me of the importance of not losing daily opportunities to love and share with your child among the dynamics (read insane business) of life. It’s so important to me, and I thought you all might appreciate it too.


As a teacher, I am incredibly lucky to have quite a bit of family time, and for that I am incredibly grateful. We’ve crossed a number of these 25 items off of our list, but still have quite a few to explore, and many we’d like to do again and again! How many have you got covered, and what is still on your to-do list? Is there anything you’d like to add? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

1. Teach her to tie her shoes.

Velcro all the way over here!



✓2. And how to politely say no when she doesn’t want do something.

This is a biggie for us. We tread a fine line between being polite and being a pushover. We want our daughter to know how to be polite, but how to confidently say no when something makes her uncomfortable or she doesn’t want to do something.


✓3. Unplug as a family as often as you can. Before social media vies for her soul.

We’ve sort of got this checked off. As a mother who blogs, writes, and creates digital content, and a father who practices photography/videography this is so challenging, but so.important. And considering that turning off screen time is the only thing that makes her cry like a banshee, we recognize the importance of limiting this.


✓4. Collect seashells and build sand castles.

We’ve definitely got this covered. Seashells, acorns, rocks, you name it. Every.day. But I don’t think I’ll ever be able to cross this off the list. Is anyone ever really done finding treasures?


5. Instill confidence however you can.Self-esteem gets locked in by 5, suggests science. So, you know, no pressure.

Ongoing. But I guess we’ve got until 5. Eeeek!


✓6. Kiss her as much as you want to—in front of her friends.

Down Pat.


✓7. Read Dr. Seuss, watch Sesame Street and rock out to Rafi, before anyone gets too cool.

Done and done.

 8. Dress him in overalls and her in Mary Janes and pigtails. Take pictures. 

9. Let them run naked outdoors.

Ummmmm. In NYC not so easy.


✓10. Give some thought to the way we talk to girls and the way boys learn to behave. Then subverts those norms, dammit.

Love this. We definitely have babies and pink galore over here, but Violet has a brand new set of (hand me down) wooden trucks that we just gifted her for Christmas, she loves to dress up “as a brother” and we try to teach her that success, following your dreams and listening to your heart is for everyone. Do what your heart tells you.


✓✓✓11. Spend an afternoon at the zoo

I could put like a thousand checks there. WCS membership for the win.


✓ 12. Ride a carousel together.  

My brave girl just overcame a fear of the carousel. J

 13. Go to Disney World

On our to-do list.


✓14. Frame a picture she drew and signed.

Have you checked out our Instagram account lately?

 15. Write down the hilarious stuff he says.


✓16. Have his speech, reading readiness, vision and hearing evaluated.


17. Stop thinking about your kid for 24 hours and spend a night at a hotel with your husband.Sleep past sunrise.

 18. And then plan a weekend getaway with your friends where you talk about something besides pre-school woes.

17 and 18 are long, long overdue… Despite what my tribe may have advised.


19. Get your child a real bike, with training wheels and a badass helmet that will make him king of the neighborhood.


✓20. Hang a growth chart on the back of a closet door.

We have a beautiful growth chart from Land of Nod!


21. Find some adults-only, stress-busting thing you do just for you—pilates, pickling, whatever floats your boat—and do it regularly.

Again with the wisdom of the tribe!


✓22. Commit to reading (skimming counts!) a reputable book about discipline. Take from it what you will.


✓23. Embrace your child’s quirks, help him learn from his mistakes.

Our child can be extremely shy and equally as outgoing. It’s been hard, at times, to accept some of our daughter’s behaviors, but ultimately we realize how very lucky we are to have someone like her in our lives, quirks and all.


✓24. Volunteer to help out in his classroom. 


✓25. Tuck her in every chance you get.

Again, and again, and again, and again.



If I were to analyze my list, I think one of the biggest things I’m actually missing is establishing my “me time” before she turns 5. Oh, and Disney World. J


Share in the comments below what you’ve accomplished as a family, and what remains on your list!

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