Is your little one already showing signs of being a tween by obsessing over a celebrity? Case in point: the millions of little girls who are crazy about Justin Bieber. As a parent, I might start to worry if my three-year-old daughter started following a boy around like a lovesick puppy, but I’ve heard enough stories of pairings in preschool—including one that is very close to home—to know that it does happen. My youngest sister had a “boyfriend” when she was four years old. My mom even remembers how she would get frustrated at this boy for running around and playing with the other boys and not staying in the classroom to play with my sister.
Young Love An-Marie Bartolome-Villarin, Managing Director of The Terrific Tots Preschool Program of The Little Gym and mom of three-year-old Santi describes behavior she’s noticed among preschool-aged children. “We’ve had kids who really light up when they see certain kids of the opposite gender,” she says. “They don’t say, ‘I like so and so,’ but you’ll see them smile and keep trying to play with or sit beside that child.”
However, she says it’s not what it seems. “It doesn’t always have anything to do with being handsome or pretty, unlike how we grownups would describe our crushes. They’re probably drawn to some characteristic. Sometimes it’s a funny antic or a funny way of speaking. I wouldn’t worry about it as a parent because it’s not an indication of future promiscuity.”