According to the common law, a boy or a girl was considered a child from the time he or she was born until the age of around twelve. At this age the child was considered capable enough to differentiate between right and wrong, thus rendering them responsible for their acts.
The initial months of life for medieval children were tough and only around fifty percent of children would survive during the first year due to a high child mortality rate.
The daily lives of peasant and noble children were very different, peasant children were very poor and were mostly uneducated. They had to work hard and support their parents from a very early age.
Young peasant children were assigned duties such as scaring birds from the fields, collecting eggs from the chickens, and collecting fruit, whilst older peasant boys were taught how to harvest a crop.
Noble medieval children lived in the castles with their parents and by the age of seven boys were sent to other castles to train to become knights, whereas girls were sent to learn how to manage everyday activities at home.
Medieval peasant children were mostly illiterate and only a few were educated. The Church had a great influence on the education system of the Middle Ages and several cathedral schools were established by Bishops.
Poor medieval children’s only hope was to be educated by priests who taught them a basic understanding of how to read and write.
Noble and Peasant children ate different kinds of food. Peasant children mostly ate thick stew made of grains and vegetables, called Pottage was cooked on a fire.
Medieval children were not lucky enough to have meat on a regular basis, however noble children had all sorts of expensive foods, and their diets included white bread, fish, meat, vegetables, and different kinds of fruits.
Children under the age of five usually drank milk but were not allowed to drink wine, whereas the children between the age of 5 and 14 were allowed to drink water wine that was less potent
Medieval children wore clothes similar to that of their parents. Boys wore tunics that were loose garments and came down to their knees whereas girls also wore tunics, but the length of garments reached their ankles.
Medieval Children covered their legs with stocks or stockings and apart from the poorest children, most children wore leather shoes.
In the later middle ages, boys from wealthy families started wearing doublets that were hip-length jackets and hoses that covered their legs from their waist down to their toes.
Medieval peasant children wore cloaks, tunics, and woolen socks. Medieval children also wore different kinds of hats, for boys, there were round hats whereas the girls had bonnets.
Medieval Royal Children were usually Prince and Princesses and lived in castles or manors with their families, servants, advisors, knights.
At a younger age, royal children learned manners, reading, writing, and dancing. At the age of seven, noble boys were sent to other noble households to learn how to become Knight. Similarly, noble girls at this age were sent to other noble houses to become a lady.
Medieval peasant children lived in small cottages that had small windows and were mostly dark. Food was cooked in the main room over an open fire, hence these cottages were also smokey.
Peasant children mostly spent their time helping their parents with day-to-day activities that included activities such as growing food, raising livestock, and doing household tasks.
Medieval children played with toys such as dolls, marbles, sticks, rattles, and spinning tops.
Girls played with “poppets”, dolls made from cloth, wax, wool, wood, or clay. Their dolls were dressed in different kinds of costumes. Peasant girls mostly had them dressed in working clothes whereas noble girls’ dolls were dressed in long robes.
Hobby and rocking horses were popular among the noble children. They were painted with different colors and decorated in such a manner that they looked like real horses.
Hide & Seek, See Saw, walking on stilts, swimming and tag were medieval children’s favorite games. Children from rich families also played board games such as checkers and chess.
The lives of medieval children were tough as most children died during the first years of their lives. Medical facilities were not advanced and quality of life was also not that good. Peasant children mostly helped their parents in the fields and with household activities.
Medieval Noble children, mostly stayed at home with their parents and after reaching the age of seven both boys and girls were sent to other castles to continue their education.
There were fewer educational facilities and only a handful of schools were present in medieval times and children were also married at a very young age.