Remember, kids aren’t little adults

Kids seem to spend their entire youth trying to grow up, to be big like Mom and Dad. If they only knew how much they’d regret that later! But whether they want to do it or not, they can’t. Our quest for them to achieve developmental milestones and become more independent is still not enough to make them into little adults.

So no matter how hard we both try, we can’t make a kid into an adult before true adulthood arrives. For that reason, there are some products that have to be bought strictly for kids, and there are adult ones that can’t be used for the kids.


Yes, that gargantuan 12-year-old boy in your house is already taller than his mom and walks around on feet as big as his dad’s, but not everything he wears can come from the men’s department. Part of it is proportions: those gangly arms and wobbly legs won’t measure the same way as Dad’s, so the clothes Dad wears will hang on his son like rags on a scarecrow. And it’s not just a boy thing; girls have the same issues.

Activity is different too. Adult socks typically stay in position all day because adults don’t normally move around as much as kids. At day’s end, the seams will be right where they were that morning. Kids wiggle, twist, turn, jump, run, and kick all day long, so seamless socks are a real necessity to ensure that they are comfortable all day long.

Personal products

The body of a growing child is nothing like an adult’s. One look at them can tell you that! But it’s more than just the growth spurts and the acne. It’s also body chemistry and the child’s ability to tolerate certain things.

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Any package of over-the-counter medication will give you guidelines on how (or whether) to dose kids. That should be a good reminder that anything that goes into a child’s body should be checked. For example, toddlers and young children may not be as conscientious about spitting out all toothpaste, so they should use products that can be safely swallowed in small quantities.

Everything from mouthwash to deodorant can cause issues for a kid that don’t happen with an adult, so continue to buy kids’ products until their bodies and their minds can handle adult products.

Safety equipment

There are lots of ways that kids are different from adults when it comes to various types of safety equipment. An obvious example is car seats; even though your child may be rocking through kindergarten, he or she may still not meet the height and weight requirements to ride in a regular car seat, and should use a booster.

For the active outdoor family, things like bicycle helmets come to mind. These items can’t just fit, they have to fit right. An improperly positioned bicycle helmet can allow a serious head injury to occur, especially given that kids typically have slower reflexes and less ability to judge how to “fall correctly” (if that’s a thing).

Sports gear is similar. Batting helmets and body padding should be replaced anytime it is too small, and you should never buy things big enough to allow them to “grow into” them. Size them for the child as he or she is today, and just plan on replacing it soon.

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Kids grow up fast enough without our help, in spite of our tears! There are plenty of opportunities for us to help our kids feel like adults without us dressing, medicating, or protecting them like adults. We always have to remember that they are kids long after they may act like adults or think that they are adults.

s parents, we have to make good decisions about just how adult-ish we want our kids to be, and to remember that there are still lots of opportunities for them to still be kids!

About Jenna Brown

I'm a San Diego-based freelance writer and mother. When I'm not chasing my kiddos around or tapping away at the computer on my latest article, you can find me hiking, reading or lounging on the beach.