Dec. 27, 2021

Ask Margaret - How Do I Handle Kid Crushes?

When our kids come home and tell us about their elementary school crushes (or we find out about them from notes in their backpack) it can be exciting, confusing or hilarious. In this episode Margaret discusses how to handle crushes with our younger kids and how the best option may be 'leaning out'.

If you've ever found a "Do you like me? Check yes or no" note in your kid's backpack you probably relate to this week's question:

Have you ever done an episode on kid crushes? My 3rd grader has a secret crush and wrote about it, which I found in her book bag. I think it’s adorable. I want to embarrass her so badly. Any tips on kinder ways to address or ignore our kids’ cute little crushes? I mean this milestone in social-emotional development?

When our kids have crushes it can be kind of shocking for us parents because it is often one of the first times that our kids are having an emotional experience that they are not sharing fully with us. This can lead to a temptation to either tease our kids or to put on our detective hats, but the better choice is probably to stay calm and resist the urge to dive in full force.

While we may find our kid's crushes adorable and silly, our kids are probably experiencing them as serious and important, so resist the urge to embarrass kids or tease them about their crushes. You can bring up any information you have about a crush to your kids, but from there let your kids take the lead. Remember that kids have extremely short attention spans, so the kid they are having a marriage ceremony with on the playground on Tuesday may be the kid they never want to talk about again by Friday.

Conversations about how we treat each other (in romantic relationships and in friendships) should be happening all the time at home, and talking about crushes can be good times to talk about how we keep all our friendships even if there is one person we are particularly interested in and how sometimes we like people who don't like us back and how that can be hard. It's a great time to talk about your own experiences in relationships and what has worked for you.

Kid crushes come and go so hold them lightly and remember not to over-invest.

Margaret cites this article on today's episode:

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit