Is it ‘pre-school love?’ Four-year-olds celebrate Valentine’s Day
Four-year-old Connor Galanopoulos-Polquin stands outside the front door of his parents and peers eagerly down the hall.
He’s is waiting for someone special.
“It’s Grace,” he screams with delight as he sees her.
They’ve known each other for almost a year and in that time, their friendship has grown.
“Grace is my, my girlfriend,” he says smiling.
Grace, also four, enters the apartment and the two hug briefly before she rushes off and jumps on his tricycle. Before long, they are in his bedroom, bouncing on his bed, toys littered across the floor.
“He says he’s gonna marry me in a castle,” she squeals before chasing a cat out of the room.
She loves him too. In fact, the two even exchanged Valentine’s Day gifts — he gave her M&M’s and he refused to open his gift, choosing instead to wait as they both devoured the candy.
Connor’s mother Amanda Galanopoulos thinks the whole thing is hilarious.
“Oh, I think it’s love,” she laughs. “I think I’m in trouble!”
She thinks it’s cute and is happy that he’s made a good friend. But she says she doesn’t take the “affair” too seriously.
“I think it’s more, he has deep feelings for her, he loves her, as much as he can in his own way,” she said.
Grace’s mother, Kathryn, agrees.
“It means something to them. They have feelings for each other, they like spending time together, so I think when kids love each other, it just means they’re friends and they like spending time together.”
The two kids met at a park last summer with their mothers and became fast friends. Their mothers also became close.
Child psychologist Linda Greenberg says when children this young say they love each other, they’re imitating the adults around them. She says it’s perfectly normal, but does require parental guidance, and if kids are expressing affection appropriately, parents need not be worried.
“If they’re showing signs of affection and love, warmth, I think that needs to be encouraged, and I think that needs to be explained as well.”
Because kids emulate adults, she says the best place for them to learn appropriate expressions of affection, is at home.
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