My kid watches entirely too much television, and I’ll be the first to admit it. We recently switched from cable to Sling TV because we were tired of dealing with the monopoly of the local provider. They have all of the standard channels, although occasionally additional channels are added to the packages. This month, a whole channel dedicated to all things Ryan Kaji, of Ryan’s Mystery Playdate fame, was introduced.

My 5-year-old daughter was actually shivering with delight when she discovered this channel, and it’s now all she wants to watch.

“My lover has his own channel!”

Yes, you read that correctly.

Let me start at the beginning…

When our schools closed last spring but we were still expected to teach online, Alyssa watched even more TV so that Mommy and Daddy could finish their work. Ryan’s Mystery Playdate or Ryan’s World on Prime Video rapidly became one of her favourite shows. I couldn’t figure out what she enjoyed about them, especially Ryan’s World. It’s uninteresting, hyperbolically obnoxious, and full of product placement. But if that kept her happy and kept her from breaking into my Zooms… well, mistakes were made.

I’ve tried to limit her screen time now that we’re back in school, but it’s too late. She crept up behind me and drew my head down so she could whisper in my ear a few months ago.

“Mom, I have a secret to tell you”

“All OK,” I replied quietly. “Go ahead and do it.”

“Mom… “I love… Ryan.”

Until I observed her bodily reaction, I believed she was joking. She was leaping up and down, clapping her hands, and beaming like a lovestruck idiot, a look I’d never seen her wear before.

“Are you talking about Ryan’s Mystery Playdate?”

“Yes! He is one of my favourite people. I’d like him to visit us at our home. But keep it a secret. I’m very self-conscious about that.”

The way she was blushing and gushing about him was the prettiest thing I’d ever seen. My husband quickly picked up on it and began asking her questions like, “So, what do you enjoy about Ryan?” “Do you think he’s attractive?” I asked my daughter, to which she replied, “His hair!”

He was clearly amused by the prospect of her experiencing a first crush. But something wasn’t quite right with me, and my dissatisfaction grew as time passed, especially when she whispered in my ear one day, “Ryan is my boyfriend!”

She keeps asking me when Ryan can come over, when she can record a video with Ryan, when she can send him a text, when she can go to his place (literally every 2-3 days). I wasn’t sure what to say for a time. I tried putting off the queries by telling her that due to the coronavirus, we couldn’t go visit anyone right now. This did not deter her. She now wants to know if she will be able to visit him once the “virus” has passed.

Obviously, this isn’t going away, so why am I so uncomfortable with it?

I believe I’ve narrowed it down to two factors. First and foremost, Ryan is a well-known figure. There’s a very good probability she’ll never get to meet him. She, on the other hand, has no sense of stardom or fame. He’s merely a youngster who lives down the street to her. Perhaps it has something to do with everyone’s ability to create and send videos to one another. Does she believe that films of her infant cousin and her friends are the same as TV shows? I’m not sure how to tell her that she’ll probably never meet Ryan Kaji without destroying her heart.

Another major concern I have is how does she even know about crushes at this point? Isn’t it true that she hasn’t experienced those kinds of emotions yet? Isn’t it true that she has to go through puberty first? Though, come to think of it, it’s also likely that she’s simply imitating behaviours she’s seen in other TV episodes, novels, or movies. Miraculous! Another show she adores is Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir, in which the plot revolves around superheroes developing crushes on each other’s alter egos.

But the way she gets when she’s talking about Ryan is really something else

I’m sure it won’t be long until she’s reading Tiger Beat and taping boy band posters to her walls. But she’s my little one! I guess I was under the impression that I had more time…


  1. Is it normal for a 5 year old to have a crush?

    Experts claim that children get their first crush around the age of five or six, according to How to Handle Your Child’s First Crush. “However, once children enter kindergarten or first grade, they develop feelings for their peers as they spend more time at school and in extracurricular activities away from their families.”

  2. What is the average age for a first crush?

    Crushes can happen at any age, but they usually begin between the ages of 10 and 13. They are a crucial step in the development of normal and healthy romantic relationships, and they allow opportunity to practise compromise and communication.

  3. How do I deal with my daughter’s first crush?

    After counseling hundreds of parents on this issue, our experts weigh in on the dos and don’ts of managing this tender milestone.
    DO Have Talks; But Not “The Talk” …
    DO Let it Be a Learning Experience. …
    DO Teach Him to Deal with the Attention. …
    DO Monitor the Situation. …
    DON’T Out Your Child’s Crush.

  4. How do you know if a child has a crush on you?

    5 Signs Your Child Has Had Their First Crush
    They suddenly have an intense interest in something that they didn’t before. …
    The opposite sex is no longer totally icky. …
    When you mention their crush’s name they blush. …
    They pretend play house. …
    Their crush is their main topic of conversation.