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Kids Are Most Lovable at What Age?

Despite all the studies concluding parenting makes us miserable, you'd be hard-pressed to find a mom or dad who couldn't recall even a few wonderfully lovable moments with their kids.

And if you believe the results of a survey, those lovable moments among the population are centered around one age in particular. It's an age that comes (and goes) rather quickly in kids' (and parents') lives, relatively speaking:

Around the age of 5.

A youth sport program in the U.K. found that, of all the ages of youth (this includes newborns to "kids" in their early 20s), the age where the largest number of parents found their kids most fun was just five years into their lives. And why wouldn't 5 be so fun? The child can express him- or herself relatively well. They no longer need assistance in the bathroom. They go to bed! They sleep through the night! And they're not too overwhelmed with schoolwork, social problems and what they may or may not have in their wardrobes.

What's the point of knowing the fun returns diminish after kindergarten? So that parents can consciously find more ways to have fun with their kids. Researchers would like this fun to include playing outdoors and actively, together, for a least an hour a day.

A group spokesperson explained that other studies show kids are more willing to be active when their parents are involved. This doesn't mean sitting on the sidelines cheering (or coaching). It means jumping in the game, kicking the ball, swinging the bat, running the race. They found 40 percent more young people would likely do more activities if their mom or dad (or both!) also participated.

(Wow, youth sports leagues may need to rethink the team rosters.)

Health and activities aside, the survey could be depressing if taken at face-value. Is it really a long slog after kids age out of the 5-year-lovability sweet spot?

Not at all.

The Daily Mail, which produced a video about the U.K. initiative, interviewed a half dozen writers who are also parents about what age they most enjoyed their kids. To the relief of all of us moms and dads who committed to stay in their parenting role for the long haul, an excellent case is made for just about every age and stage of youth.

Still, it's true: Age 5 is a pretty great age to parent.

Photograph by Twenty20

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