Fractions And Ages Don’t Mix: Just Stick With Round Numbers

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Why do kids use fractions when telling their ages? I think that is so ridiculous. Just say you’re three years old. Or four years old. Or 12 years old. Whatever. Don’t do this “Hi, I’m Allison and I’m 11 and 3/4 years old” thing. It makes you look silly.

OK, I’m kidding. I don’t care if children do this. In fact, it can be kind of helpful when comparing the super young children. But I’m really annoyed when adults do it. A few months ago at the gym, someone asked me how old my daughter was. I said she was four. The guy furrowed his brow as if to question me and said, “Really? When does she turn five?” I said that she turns five at the end of August. “Ohhhhhhh,” he responded, knowingly, “So she’s four-and-a-half.”

Uh, OK, grown man. I guess you got me. She was just over halfway between her 4th and 5th birthdays. Do you feel better?

If the point is to let people know you’re about to have a birthday or will have one in six months, how about you just say that. For instance, “Hi, I’m Allison and I’ll be 12 years old in September.

But I’d say we should limit how long you can use fractions to give a child’s age. Or, if you really insist on it, you should get more precise. Like, “Hi, this is Peter. He’s 7 and 50/73.” Something like that.

It could be a great way to teach children more about fractions.

(Photo: basketman23/Shutterstock)


  1. Eileen

    July 13, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    What a weird comment to make to some lady at the gym!

    I kind of think saying “one and a half” is okay, because there’s a huge difference between 12 and 18 months old. But making the distinction at four seems a bit of a stretch. And I never got the “quarters,” even as a little kid.

  2. quinn

    July 15, 2012 at 12:20 am

    I think with very young children it makes a huge difference, at least that’s what my 3 1/2 year old daughter will insist upon. When we talk about things that happened to her 6 months ago there is apparently a very big distinction, because when she was 3 she did things a certain way, but now that she’s 3 AND A HALF

    • quinn

      July 15, 2012 at 12:26 am

      …stupid send button…as I was saying, now that she is 3 and a half she is a completely different person…in her eyes. It may seem petty to adults, but as a person fresh out of toddlerhood it is the difference between knowing how to write some letters and a few numbers , count to 30, wipe her own butt, dress herself, not pee the bed, and eat without a booster seat. Seems legit to me. I don’t know if I’ll feel the same way when she’s 10 though, a decade is a decade is a decade.

  3. Comm

    July 15, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    What about that “oh she’s 28 months” crap? Don’t make me do math to figure out your kid’s age! Maybe your doctor cares about her exact age, but I don’t!

    • lucygoosey74

      July 16, 2012 at 10:36 am

      I couldn’t agree more, Comm.

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