THE STAGES OF CHILDHOOD
The age of 3 is an important stage in the life of a child in the Middle Ages. He begins his slow transformation from the status of a child to that of an adult. 3 years is the age of speech, the ability to walk, run, and manual ability. Noble children receive their first prayer book.
5 years is the age of pre-reason. Parents feel that now is the time to start educating their children. It is also the age of play, children spend a lot of time playing in the street and getting into mischief. Let them take advantage because the age of reason is approaching. Then you have to be serious!
Everywhere in the West, 7 years marks a new stage, the age of reason. The child is deemed capable of assuming material responsibilities; he begins to tell the difference between right and wrong and he can be punished. He is educated, learns chess, is introduced to good manners, as well as church songs in Latin. Parents must be understanding because the child will not be reasonable overnight. It is therefore useless to hit a child under 7 years old.
It is not advisable to put children to work or carry out chivalry training before the age of 13. If this advice is partly followed in the noble environment, we know that it is different for children from less privileged social backgrounds. Children can be asked to herd sheep, geese or pigs.
The majority of school children are content to learn the basics: reading, writing, counting, and singing.
For this entire school program, the fundamental tool is the hand. This is used both to know one's alphabet, to memorize prayers (the ten commandments), to count (digital computing method which allows counting to a million), to sing (with each knuckle of the left hand corresponds to a note) and even to know the feasts of the calendar.
Between the ages of 3 and 5, we learn the alphabet. The psalter is the essential support for learning to read.
After reading comes writing.
Students can practice writing on metal or wooden tablets where the letters are alreadyengraved. On the tablets covered with wax, the metal stylus allows them to write and its round end to erase the characters. They then learn to control
pen writing by copying holy texts, proverbs or moral sentences...
Singing is part of education. It is as important as reading.
HOW DO WE DRESS ?
In the Middle Ages, the wardrobe of small children was not very diversified. Their clothing changes in two stages. From birth to one year, they are swaddled. Then from one to seven years old, girls and boys all wear a long dress. After one year, the child wears a long dress, loose, slit on the sides and with a notched collar.
He will only change his costume around 7 years old. The child does not wear underwear under his dress. It is therefore the age of bodily freedom. He can easily move, learn to walk, relieve himself without dirtying his clothes.
From the age of 7, children are dressed like adults. They have reached the age of reason. This is the beginning of gender separation, visible in children's clothing and activities. It is also from the age of 7 that they can be engaged, but not married, the legal age of marriage being 14/15 years for girls. They can also be entrusted to a monastery as oblates or begin their schooling.
CHILDREN, AT THE TABLE !
At the table, show yourself correct, courteous, cheerful, willing and affable, do not show yourself pensive or serious; you must not wallow or cross your legs, nor wiggle them or slouch.
Don't fill your mouth don't be too hungry.
The glutton who eats greedily, who eats with open mouth, if we were to call him, he would answer with difficulty.
When you are thirsty, first swallow what you eat, wipe your mouth well, then drink.
You must not criticize the dishes presented to you when you participate in the banquet, but to say that all the dishes are delicious.
If you sneeze, remember to be courteous; turn away so as not to sputter on the table.
When you eat with a spoon, you must not slurp loudly.
It is forbidden to put your finger in the ear, in the plate of others, or to touch an animal at the table.
10-11 years the last stage before becoming an adult. Until now, parents have an obligation to supervise their children. At 11, you are now supposed to be able to take care of yourself. You are given new responsibilities and a heavier workload.
12 is the age of majority for girls. It is also at this age that boys can enter into a business transaction. They can testify in court.
If we accept that a child under 12 years old plays, it is no longer the same for a child of 12 years old. He must work regardless of his social status.
and be a good Christian.
As the teenagers of the Middle Ages today succumb to the famous "crisis of adolescence", the girls revolt against their mother and the boys against the paternal authority. Teenagers are therefore sent to learn in another family where they accept remarks more willingly and are better able to channel their aggressiveness.
The phase that we call adolescence today corresponds to what is in the Middle Ages, the entry into adult life.
At 14, boys go to university and take up arms, this is also the age at which they can lose their virginity. Girls, at the same age, can easily be married. The age at marriage tends to fluctuate between 27 and 30 years for boys, 17 and 19 years for girls.