Why You Shouldn't Reason With A Six-Year-Old

Have you come across any of these classic arguments?

16/01/2017 11:42 GMT

Children can be unintentionally hilarious and never more so than when they’re applying ‘kid logic’ to their world, often with absolute conviction. From simple but still entertaining word confusion to fascinating life theories, children’s logic is a wonderful (though ever so occasionally frustrating) thing for parents. 

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So why do children have such hilarious reasoning? “Parents have to understand that children’s brains are still developing,” says Sarah Ockwell-Smith, parenting expert and author of The Gentle Discipline Book.

“Logical, abstract, hypothetical thinking starts kicking in from the ages of seven to 11. Children of five and six have a small degree of logical thinking, but it’s a mature skill that’s still developing.”

What children do have at this age are schemas - a term introduced by Jean Piaget, the first psychologist to make a systematic study of cognitive development in children. He showed that young children think in strikingly different ways compared to adults and go through a series of stages of intellectual growth. As experiences happen and new information is presented, new schemas are developed and old schemas are changed or modified.

“For example, if you have a tabby cat called Bob, your child may think all tabby cats are called Bob,” explains Sarah Ockwell-Smith. “Or if their Dad is called Dave and has glasses that all men with glasses are called Dave.”

Lisa, of hugely popular, must-read Instagram account, Mummy Piggles, shares her daughters’ fabulous view of the world.

“Isla isn’t quite able to separate fact from opinion yet, but does have a very strong moral compass which she uses to guide how strongly she feels,” she told the Huffington Post UK. “For example, as part of her learning about the world’s religions, she recently visited a church. Sadly, she got her facts confused and insisted that ‘people who believe in Jesus are called Diwalis, people who believe in Santa are presenteers and people who believe in the tooth fairy are called tooths’.

“When I tried to correct her, I got told off for disrespecting someone’s beliefs. It didn’t matter that she thought she could just make up this information and that she was wrong, as far as she was concerned, I was being rude. We often refer to her as the moral oracle, because to her if it feels right, then she will wholeheartedly believe that it is.”

Sarah Ockwell-Smith says: “If  you really need to explain something, use verbal and physical cues. That’s why reception-age children are taught maths with physical objects like beads or by counting buses, because they can struggle with hypothetical thinking and need tangible things to see and touch.

“But children’s way of seeing the world is very sweet and I would just enjoy it.”

Indeed we will.

We’ve collected some fabulous examples of kids’ ‘logic’, from the simply inspired to fabulous word confusions. Enjoy.

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Believe me!

“At church my daughter turned to me in a stage whisper and said: ‘I know Jesus is important but so am I. So why does no one pray to me?’” Tammy

“You have wrinkles round your eyes so you are going to die soon. But Grandma’s got the most wrinkles so she’s going to die tomorrow.” Jason

Word confusion

“The doctor says I’m complicated.”
”No darling, you’re just constipated.” Lisa @MummyPiggles

“Climbing that wall is a piece of cake.”
(Inspecting the other side of the wall) “Is the cake hiding? Is it chocolate?” Stuart

“My son got tetchy because we said his brother’s birthday is the 19th July. He was adamant it was in ‘the summer’.” Camilla

I’m right!

“My son thinks that height corresponds with age - even for grown-ups. So in his mind taller people are older than short ones. I can see where he’s coming from with kids his own age but he can’t understand the same rule doesn’t apply to adults. Recently he was shopping with his dad for a Christmas jumper for me. They found one in a size 24. My son said it would be too small for me as I’m 40 years old!” Jenny

“My son is convinced that his teacher lives at school - he won’t have it any other way.” Gillian

“I was absolutely convinced my Fisher Price people came alive at night and was very concerned they’d get bored while I was asleep. I harassed my mother for a miniature TV set for the doll’s house so they could occupy themselves at night (’a real one, not pretend’).” Natasha

“When I was little I used to think people who flew on airplanes got shrunk because the planes looked so small in the sky.” Kathy

“My son Sam is currently very upset with his teenage brother as he made Sam press the ejector seat button in the car - the hazard lights. He’s been discussing how to escape the police as he thinks the police arrest anyone who presses the ejector button and take them to ‘present’ (more commonly known as prison). I have explained it’s just a light switch but he’s still not completely convinced.” Rachael

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”When I was young, I ‘knew’ Father Christmas was my friend Rachel’s Dad because she told me it was her dad. I didn’t think anything odd about this man I hardly knew coming into our house at night.” Lisa

“I love vegetables”
”What’s your favorite vegetable?”
”Fruit!” Marissa 

“I want an apple.”
”But you said you wanted a satsuma.”
”Yes, but I was lying.”
This is a conversation I’m having a lot about pretty much everything. Tabitha