The inner workings of your little munchkin are a constant source of fascination (and laughter). Case in point: An adorable new study that has revealed how your kiddo thinks about the aging process.
According to research published in Imagination, Cognition and Personality journal, kids aged 3 to 5 believe that birthday parties are the reason why we get older, and that without them you wouldn’t have to age at all.
In the two-part study, researchers from the University of Texas first told 99 children three stories—one in which the character had no birthday party, another where the character had two birthday parties and finally, a story with no mention about birthday parties at all but just that the character was turning three. The scientists then asked the children to guess the age of the characters.
What they found was that 38 percent of the children were totally thrown off by the kid with two birthday parties and incorrectly guessed that the character had aged by two years. And when it came to the kid with no birthday party, many of the children believed that the character would stay the same age. (They were pretty good about figuring out the age of the kid turning three, though.) Pretty darn cute, no?
In the second part of the study, researchers told children a story about a woman named Mrs. Jamison who didn’t want to get older. Afterward, an amazing 71 percent of the three-year-olds surveyed believed that Mrs. Jamison did not have to grow older if she didn’t want to.
According to the study, it’s not until age seven that kids start to comprehend that aging is a continuous thing (and that the fountain of youth doesn’t lie in forgoing cake and balloons). Something to keep in mind when you’re throwing your mini’s birthday bash.