I Had No Idea the “Boyfriend/girlfriend” Thing Started in Kindergarten.

Updated on December 09, 2010
L.A. asks from Redford, MI
24 answers

On our drive home from school today my 5 year old announced that he was getting married… at first I indulged him “when, where, who, what do you need to get married…” The conversation took us all the way home and into the house. Eventually it led to him, very bashfully and giggly, telling me in my ear that he and a classmate kissed on the playground and “bootie bumped”. Okay now I felt stuck. I wasn’t prepared for this. I thought I had pleanty of time before dealing with girl w/ boy situations… I found myself just casually repeating everything he said with a relaxed “Oh”. Inside I was think “Oh my. Okay, so should I look up Emily Post or Nanny 911 for this one!?”
I know this is small potatoes but I’ve always thought that whenever a child starts to inquire about a thing (marriage, kissing and bootie bumpin’ on the playground) it’s time to talk about it. But, what to say?
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answers from St. Louis on

A boy kissed my 5 year old daughter at school. I told her 5 year olds are too young to have boyfriend/girlfriend and there will be no kissing or daddy and I are having a meeting with the school. I have absolutely no tolerance for it. I dont think its cute at all! I told her kissing, and boyfriends are for grown ups like her dad and I and not for kids. I cannot stand when parents condone it. Yuck!

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answers from Detroit on

A couple of years ago I worked in a K class as an aide for a special needs child. While there, I observed several boy-girl "friendships". It is happening, but not at the level as older kids. They play together, nap by each other and sit together at lunch. The physical stuff is innocent, but the teachers still have to address what is appropriate at school. You may want to do the same. :)


answers from Detroit on

Oh L....I totally get you! I have a five year old and recently (in the last 3 months or so) posted a similar question....My little man kissed his little "girlfriend" on the school bus ride home. First, I was a little heartbroken that he was grown up enough to enter this "phase" (I still would have loved him to be so little and innocent, plus, I always kinda thought I would be the only girl he loved LOL). But after asking this same question here, I did see that it was a totally normal phase of growing up. He and I had the same conversation about PDAs and not kissing girls right now.....boundaries...etc. I kept it pretty age appropriate. Since the mom and I know one another, I also gave her a call as well....I didn't want her to hear it from her little girl and think I was just blowing it off. She was great about it and its no big deal (actually, it really never WAS a big deal).

But I'm right there with you....I still remember "that look" on my son's face.....the love struck teenager look right there on my little boys face. Damn it....why can't they just stay little forever?? ;)

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answers from Seattle on

<laughing> I had my first "boyfriend" in kindergarten almost 30 years ago (and first kiss). Totally innocent playground kiss. His name was Jamie and we played "thundercats" on the playground. He "broke up" with me when I wouldn't get off the bus at his stop to go play. Didn't stop playing thundercats however.

My grandmother & grandfather & parents all have similar experiences.

My son informed me in K that he was marrying 2 people. The little girl next door (older woman at 6yo, he was starstruck and speechless for over a year in her presence) and a little boy in his K class.

It's all very precious.

In general, they drop it almost immediately, but we remember for the rest of our lives.

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answers from Denver on

I had TWO boyfriends in kindergarten. They always asked me which of them I was going to marry.

I had my NEXT boyfriend at age 16.

I don't really LIKE the boyfriend/girlfriend thing in kids this age, but I can tell you 1st hand, there was NO understanding of anything beyond wanting to grow up and be like our parents.

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answers from Spartanburg on

I had a boyfriend in K, actually every girl in my class had the same boyfriend in K...he would chase you on the playground and if he tagged you, then you were boyfriend/girlfriend....

I say it is so very harmless and so very normal... nothing to stress about, BUT if you are really wondering and uncomfortable about it, explain it to your son's teacher and see what her response is...she will definatly know what is normal and okay and if things seem to cross a line..and all without your son even knowing :)

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answers from St. Louis on

I was engaged at 3 according to my mom. The little boy even went to her and told her that he was going to marry me. We used to hold hands on the playground and stuff. I think at this age range though, it's not so much that they are overly curious about things as it is they are modeling behaviors. He probably sees you and your husband/partner hug and kiss and reflects that behavior in his play. The booty bumpin' is kind of off for me, but I don't know he could've picked that up from anywhere including the girl. I don't know if I would really say anything. I might talk to him as he talks about it. Like if he says he kissed the girl, I might ask if she wanted him to, just to make sure that he knows he shouldn't be kissing people who don't want him to. Moreso trying to teach him appropriate boundaries and stuff in relationships. I don't know if there is a "serious" talk that needs to be had though about anything.

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answers from Boston on

My daughter who is 6 had her 1st "boyfriend" in preschool! She still talks about him today even though she hasn't seen him in 2 years! She also had a pretend marriage this summer to her best friend. It was very cute and quite comical on all ends. I have no clue what I would say though if she really started to take it seriously. Good luck!



answers from Detroit on

my daughter came home everyday for a week in kindergarten saying a different boy wanted to marry her, she then decided that she was going to marry so-and-so "because he is going to buy me dresses".....it is a normal part of growing up, I know I got my first "kiss" in kindergarten and then a week later he "broke up with me" because we didn't have the same recess time, just use it for an honest age appropriate talk.....I told my daughter it wasn't necessary to get married (yes I know some will blast me for that statement), there are all kinds families etc....as for the kissing I don't think that came up although this one boyfriend hugged her hello and goodbye for about 2 weeks.....then the phase was over......to keep the talk age appropriate I start with a REALLY simple explination of something and answer any questions she has (when I have given enough detail for her she stops asking)....for instance when she was about 4 and I was pregnant with her broter she asked how the baby got in my belly I said "daddy put it there" she asked why I said "cause he thought it would be fun" and she was satisfied, a couple years later she asked again how the baby gets in belly and I gave the same answer as before and she asked how he put it there I said "we had sex" and she was satisfied....She is now 9 has hair in places I don't want to think about so when I tell her things it is with a little more detail (though she still doesn't want the "complete" story)......so basicly don't freak it is "normal", it will be short lived and it opens up an oppertunity for discussion about your values and how to apply them to his new social environment.



answers from Houston on

My 4 year old announced about 2 weeks ago that she was going to marry the boy next door. When I asked her why, she said "because I can marry any boy and Grayson is a boy and he invites me over to watch movies all of the time". His parents have bought him Toy Story 3, Princess and the Frog and How to Train Your Dragon in the past few weeks (all favorites of my daughter) and he and his Mom have invited her over to have popcorn and watch them. So, now she thinks she must marry him. I thought it was funny. I told her that she had to be a grownup before she could get married and that she might change her mind by then, but that it was great that she had such a good friend.

As for the kissing, just explain that he is not allowed to kiss at school because he could get in trouble. I wouldn't worry too much! Oh, I would ask him to show me a booty bump though....I might not be so thrilled about that.



answers from Phoenix on

I'm sure at this age, they will easily forget all about the love and get to some serious swinging or sliding on the playground. But you can casually mention not to touch or kiss and no girlfriends until age 17 or whatever. =)



answers from Washington DC on

My daughter had lots of boyfriends in the beginning of kindergarten last year. She talked of kissing one boy and I told her that they shouldn't be kissing and sharing germs and no body part touching other than holding hands. She said the teacher found out and told them it was against school rules. Yes, they were getting married. All the girls had paired up with the boys. but by the end of kindergarten, that thin started to fade away. Now in first grade, the boys and girls are respectful to each other but play separately. There is no more talk of marriage or boyfriends.



answers from Anchorage on

My first grade son is convinced he will marry Lilly, because, as he puts it "I'm in love with Lilly!". I do not worry about it, they are young and like to imitate play. They are pretending to be adult.



answers from Dallas on

I was pretty shocked too. My son is in first grade and had a girlfriend in Kindergarten. From talking to him what I gathered was she liked him, she basically told him they were girlfriend boyfriend but nothing changed in how they acted.. and eventually she broke up with him and someone else was her boyfriend.

I don't know about "bootie bumping" though? I haven't had that experience where there was anything physical mentioned. That would probably make me more uncomfortable then the boyfriend/girlfriend stuff. I would monitor that and even mention it to my son's teacher, personally. Just to make sure she's aware.

I remember when my son asked me about death at 3 years old. I was floored. I was ready for the sex talks and baby talks... I hadn't even considered he would ask me about dying. Amazing how easily they can throw you for a loop :)

Good luck!



answers from Huntsville on

My daughter came out of her first real day of Pre-K and said she was going to marry one of the boys in her class! haha For a few days I even noticed he got excited when I was dropping her off in the mornings, running up to hug her.

On the ride home, I asked her how old she thought she should be before she got married, and she said 26 LOL And I said that's a good age. After a week she didn't talk about it anymore, and he no longer runs up to hug her when we arrive! haha

As for the kissing, just explain that we shouldn't do that with our classmates/friends because it can spread germs. Kissing is not allowed at my daughter's school for that reason, so it's against the rules anyways!


answers from Dallas on

My very first boyfriend was in kindergarten<3 My best friend and I shared him. We were both going to marry him, and walk down the aisle with me on his left side, and my friend on his right. I can't even tell you his name now...

As far as the kiss...it was probably nothing. You can just explain that a kiss is a way to show someone you love them, and that they are special and shouldn't be given out to just everyone (or something like that). I wouldn't be as concerned with this, though. It's more the "booty bumping" that I'd want to focus on. I'm not sure exactly what he means by this, it could be something simple and innocent. Or it could be something more (after working in daycare I learned quickly not all parents censor their tv watching with young kids in the house...). If you're really concerned, just mention it to the teacher and ask if she can keep an eye out for what is actually happening.

I doubt this relationship will last long, they never do at such a young age.... ;-)



answers from Los Angeles on

My grandson has two girlfriends!! I haven't heard anything about a "booty bump" thing but he gets chased by them and they try to kiss him but other then that I think it is totally harmless. Don't you remember back when we were in school and liked a boy? I used to hit or make fun of the ones I really liked! Just keep your ear open and if anything happens you feel is not acceptable then deal with the issue but right now it seems totally innocent to me.
Good luck and God bless



answers from Detroit on

My friend's 4 year old son considers my 3 year old daughter to be his "girlfriend" - we get together for play dates and they just play nicely together and have a lot of fun. When it is time to say goodbye they hug and sometimes kiss, and we just think it is cute. Judging from other responses it is a pretty normal thing and obviously kids this age have all sorts of ideas about the whole "boyfriend/girlfriend/marriage" thing.

I would just tell your son that it's nice he has a special friend, but they don't allow kissing at school and they could get in trouble - so they need to not be kissing and to keep their hands to themselves.


answers from Austin on

My daughter says she has 3 boyfriends... Quote, "you can have many boyfriends, but you can only marry one--so choose one that plays nice." yeah, you can tell we've had a "talk".

I don't think you need to have any serious talk. After all, 4 & 5 year old girls are thinking in terms of princess and prince charming. If I was in your situation, I'd talk about how he should behave and talk around his girlfriend... Like, "You wouldn't want to potty talk around her, right?", "Do you think she'd want to play transformers or Spiderman?", "if her crayon dropped on the floor, you could pick it up for her.", talk about how his girlfriend should treat him and others well, etc.

As far as kindergarteners are concerned, you marry your girlfriend/boyfriend and live happily ever after. It's really a sweet phase. I dont think you need to introduce any realistic relationship topics.



answers from Detroit on

Yep time to talk about it!!! My parents talked about all the body is private and sex stuff pretty early on. Of course it was simple and medical, but we didn't have to wonder what was going on or learn from our friends. He should learn about appropriate touch. It sounds like kids are doing this quite a bit, probably learning from older siblings or watching stuff on TV, or else he would not feel the need to do this.

My little brother had a girlfriend at a young age as well, but it was very innocent. Bootie bumping is definitely crossing a sexual line, where a kiss can be sweet and innocent and shared with family/friends. Be sure to make the teacher aware of this. Also you need to find out what kind of kiss it was, hopefully an innocent one, but possibly more. Kids are highly sexualized due to all the junk on TV, they do and know about a lot more then we did as kids!



answers from Honolulu on

This is normal... it is just kids. They do that.
My daughter, when in Preschool at age 4... had a 'crush' on a boy.... Tommy. She'd blush and giggle when he walked by and then would point him out to me. And then we would talk... to him and his Mommy and she'd just stand there... all blank just blushing and smiley to him. His Mom knew... she had a crush on him. It was so obvious. It was cute.
Her Teacher said... THIS happens, its normal, is benign.

In Kinder as well.

It is NOT a big deal.

In Kinder, a boy, had a crush on my Daughter... they become real good friends. His Mom would laugh and say "at least my son is monogamous... each year, he has ONE girl, that he likes....and says is his girlfriend." To this day... he and my daughter, are GOOD friends. They look out for each other. They are good buddies. Good kids. I am good friends with his Mom. It is all very normal and nice.

Another kid....probably used the word "booty bumped" on your son. They do learn slang... at school by other kids.

If anything, you can mention it to the Teacher... because... Teachers do, as a class... will talk to the kids about 'manners' and what is polite/proper/not allowed. If it is a problem.

all the best,



answers from Detroit on

If your son is named Keonte, then it's my daughter that this happened with. My daughter just told me a very similar story this week about kissing her friend Keonte at school and now they want to have playdates. She said that the kissing happened twice. I didn't think it was that big of a deal, but when I told my husband, he freaked out and wanted me to talk with the teacher. I did, and I was very non-confrontational about it, as I figured she probably didn't see it happen. A teacher can't possibly have her eyes on every child every minute. The teacher told my daughter that kissing is not allowed - only hugging. I asked her to please keep a closer eye on these two and she said she would. This was just yesterday, so we'll see what happens.



answers from Detroit on

When my son was in kindergarten, he came home and told me that he had a girlfriend. He said that while they were in library, she told him that he was her boyfriend. Then one day while they were having a play date, they apparently planned out the future of their relationship. They told me that they are actually just BFF's now. When they are teenagers, they will be boyfriend and girlfriend. And when they are adults, they will get married. They are actually really sweet together. And all I keep thinking is if they really do end up getting married one day, we will have some great stories to tell.



answers from Erie on

I like the thing about school rules are not kissing etc.

I do think it's important to lay the foundation for when they get older and not just brush this off as cute stuff. I tell my kids, i hope you get married to someone who treats you nice and cooks you special dinners or helps out around the house like daddy does for mommy when you grow up.
Or i'll say Would you like to be married to someone who was mean and yelled at you all the time? maybe it's weird but i hope they hear me and see what their daddy and i model for them, a marriage based on love and respect.

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