We played Nintendo! This was her very first date I didn't wanna make it seem too fly. We ate cereal! She couldn't stay out at late Her mother told her to be home at nine!
— Another Bad Creation, "Iesha"
Awww! Don't they make a cute couple? C'mon! You know they were totally made for each other!
What do you mean they're both only eight years old?
Sometimes it happens that two characters display a startling amount of chemistry, even though they're both barely old enough to be interested in dating — heck, in an opposite-sex example they might even be making an exception to "Boys/girls have cooties!" (Which may help explain their proneness to the Crush Blush; it's embarrassing!) It may be attempted by the authors if the show deals with characters of that age group, but still wants to add in a romantic subplot.
This trope can be Truth in Television as many people get their first crush sometime during elementary school.
Please note that this does not automatically qualify as squick since most examples involve innocent childhood crushes between the two. Most writers let these characters age a bit before making moves. Some... don't.
Sometimes a couple that's a bit older will reference this as their backstory; one partner (usually a woman) says she started chasing the other (usually a man) back when they were kids, and that "it took me [x] years to catch him- but it was worth it."
May be due to a Relationship Writing Fumble or the fact that Most Writers Are Adults.
A Sister Trope to Toy Ship (the Shipping version), Childhood Marriage Promise, KidAnova. May develop into a Childhood Friend Romance as the characters age.
Compare Precocious Crush (kid having affection for someone older), Father, I Want to Marry My Brother.
Contrast December-December Romance
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Anime & Manga
Chris and Joy, in Superbook of all places. She even mentions that they will get married when they grow up.
Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Strikers: Erio and Caro are set up as this, up to and including their Crash into Hello. This would make it one of the few overt (and straight) relationships in the fandom, and yet the theme of True Companions is so strong in the series they aren't even aware of being set up for a date at one point. Then again, Erio also doesn't seem to notice he's the only boy either... Subsequent stories make it clear that Caro was aiming for him all along, and has been managing a three-year plot to get him. She succeeds.
Mamoru and Hana in GaoGaiGar. One episode even mentions a possible Childhood Marriage Promise... even though they're still in their childhood. At the end of the anime, all the other little kids get Hana into full wedding regalia.
Kisa and Hiro in Fruits Basket. Hiro had even confessed his love for her to Akito. Alas, Akito did not approve of the relationship... and severely injured Kisa. That was the start of Hiro's problems...
Al and May in Fullmetal Alchemist. May is understandable since she looks to be about eight and girls usually have crushes by that age. He's 14, but his voice and mind are stuck at 10 due to his soul being trapped in a suit of armor. Although the ending seems to imply that they may be together, as they're both shown in a family fotograph along with Ed, Winry and their children.
Fairy Tail's Natsu and Lisanna play family. Even after she came back from Edolas, nothing much else has happened between them so far, and lately she seems to have gotten rather close to Juvia.
In Candy Boy, Kanade and Yukino have this going on during the flashbacks of their early childhood. Notably they're sisters.
Keitaro and Naru started this way in Love Hina when they met and fell in love they were both BELOW grade school age. Naru however later forgot. Also Mutsumi and Keitaro or perhaps even Mutsumi and Naru considering she may well have been in love with both.
Amelia Rules!, despite being great in most other respects, abuses this trope and seems to have built later parts around it. Although occasionally averted or lampshaded, this trope is mostly played straight; the eponymous character (who is nine years old) has two love interests (also nine).
When, later, Leah returns from the dead as a servant of Surtur, Kid Loki deliberately gambles both Asgardia's fate and his reputation among the other Asgardians to increase the odds of freeing and saving her. She is impressed enough.
Afterall, to him, she was "The stern girl whose few kind words were more precious than the Asgard's whole treasury"
Lampshaded: When Bentley admits her love to her, Valeria quips that's she's only three years old. Bentley just asks her to avoid spoiling the mood
The Chilean line of Daily Planners with comic storyline Pascualina and Artilugia are based on this. Artilugia even more so, because the plot is about Aldonza, a girl of about 10-11 years old (and the now teen-aged Pascualina's younger sister) that, after moving back to the town she used to live some years ago, discovered that Bruno, the boy she extorted a Childhood Marriage Promise back then, is now being approached by the Alpha Bitch of their class and seems to return her affections... In a attempt to seduce him back she creates the alternate persona of "Artilugia", essentially a more extroverted and eccentric version of herself. With the irony that now she is in a sort of Two-Person Love Triangle, because Bruno is truly in love with Aldonza and now is falling too for Artilugia, but Status Quo Is God so he's too dense to realize both are the same person.
There exists a fanfic of Cody and Penny from The Rescuers and Down Under titled Adventures in the Outback.
Lian Harper and Ceridian (Tempest's little boy) in DC Nation.
A combination of reveals around series 4 of Skins has resulted in a clutch of fics exploring Naomi and Emily's Toy Ship potential (the book notes that Emily's been in love with Naomi since middle school (approx. ages 8 to 12), while the S4 finale reveals that Naomi fell in Love at First Sight when she was 12).
The KaBlam! story Goodbye June. The fact that Henry and June (also listed under Western Animation) like each other was mostly hinted at on the show, but this story has them separated and heartbroken because they miss each other so much. It ends with them reuniting, at which point they declare their love for each other (Henry's only recently started crushing on her, but June's crushed on him since preschool!) and kiss. They even propose marriage to each other in advance, although Henry does mention that it's a ways off and they're way too young to be having this conversation. Though if the characters aged in real time, they would probably be in their early teens around the time this story is set.
It's fairly common in Harry Potter fanfics for an original character to start crushing on, if not outright dating one of the main characters (usually Harry or Draco), despite the fact that they've just started school and are therefore only eleven. Admittedly, this is not limited to relationships. In fics that fall into this trap, the eleven year old children tend to act more like eighteen.
A number of Heroes fics pair Micah with Molly. They do have a fair amount in common, especially after Micah's parents are both killed.
The Harry Potter fanfic The New Marauders by PotterFanSteve has Al Potter and Carolyn, who are pretty clearly destined for each other from the age of two (actually three, as Al continually reminds everyone) when Carolyn plants a (childish, innocent) kiss on him on Valentine's Day. It's kind of adorable and not really squicky, mostly because the story makes it pretty clear that Carolyn was imitating Harry and Ginny. After that the two are just best friends until they're twelve and eleven, respectively, and even when they start dating not much more than cuddling and a bit of kissing goes on until the two really hit puberty.
The first movie contains strong hints that Simba and Nala also feel this way about each other. One gets the sense they aren't necessarily telling the truth when exclaiming how "disgusting" it would be.
Simba's Pride has Kovu and Kiara as young cubs. Kovu shows some reluctance, though probably since he's unused to affection, but Kiara's terribly flirty.
In the prologue of the first movie, Kate and Humphrey are shown to have some degree of cute chemistry when they're younger. Then again, Humphrey's been smitten with her since they were cubs.
A literal example occurs in Alpha and Omega 3: The Great Wolf Games between Humphrey and Kate's daughter Claudette and a Northern Region cub named Fleet who become fond of and try to help each other despite being competitors in the titular games.
Wednesday: Joel, I may never see you again. There are forces tearing us apart - Gary, Debbie, 7th grade.
Peter Pan The 2003 movie. A lot of critics were creeped out. To be fair, this one is in the book. Peter never grew up so he doesn't understand this, but Wendy and Tinkerbell are not competing to be his best friend... hence the whole thing with the "kiss".
The Phantom Menace gives us 9 year old Anakin and 14 year old Padme. This, of course, gets reciprocated; but not until he's much older.
Little Manhattan is Puppy Love: The Movie, as it's about a 10-year-old boy who falls in love with his 11-year-old friend.
A Little Romance is also Puppy Love: The Movie. Lauren and Daniel are about twelve and attempt to conduct their affair as mature partners would, even going to Venice with an adult friend. One of Diane Lane's first pictures, and some still think her best.
The Babysitters Club In a Valentine's Day-themed book, the girls discuss how cute the crushes that a couple of kids they regularly sit for have on each other are.
The Encyclopedia Brown series has several cases that Encyclopedia solves involve friends of his or other kids around the same age as him and their love interests.
His Dark Materials Will and Lyra — At the close of The Amber Spyglass, they are (implicitly) thirteen, and their daemons have just "settled", indicating they are on the verge of puberty. Some fans are a little put off by this, especially because, to fulfill The Power of Love, after a slow, tense, sensuous buildup to their First Kiss, the two touch each other's daemons, a powerfully forbidden and intimate act on par with having sex.
How to Get Married... by Me, the Bride, a picture book, by Sally Lloyd Jones and Sue Heap.
Also Cersei's (well, Jaime's too) daughter Myrcella and Dornish prince Trystane Martell.
The Things They Carried Tim O'Brien's semi-autobiographical novel features the story of Timmy and Linda, quite possibly the saddest story in a novel centered around The Vietnam War.
Percy Jackson and the Olympians starts off this way between Percy and Annabeth in the beginning, but their relationship doesn't actually begin until they're both sixteen.
A pretty weird example in a short story called The Brushwood Boy by Rudyard Kipling, it follows the life of a man named George Cottar from chldhood to a glittering public school career and finally distinguished army service in India. Thoughout it all he remains totally uninterested and unaware of women, despite them constantly throwing themselves at him. However, since early childhood he's nightly had dreams about a girl he met once at a pantomime, sharing adventures with her in an unchanging dreamscape. He thinks she's a figment of his imagination, but, when he's on leave from the army decades later, his mother invites an old friend and her daughter (who's just composed this charming song about dream adventures she's has all her life with an imaginary boy) to tea... Long story short, it ends the day after she arrives with the two of them lamenting the fact that they need to go through the formality of getting engaged before marrying.
Matteo and Ruth in Someone Else's War, though it's by no means the main focus of the book.
Tom and Becky in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, who get "engaged" shortly after meeting. Before he met her, Tom was "engaged" to another girl named Amy Lawrence, which causes no small amount of trouble between them when Becky finds out.
Most of Redwall's main characters and their love interests are about thirteen years old, and Matthias and Cornflower were actually engaged at that age and had a kid within a year (though, being mice and there being timeline issues throughout the series, it's possible that was the equivalent of four years in a human lifespan).
Live Action TV
El Club de los Tigritos was big at this. Venezuelans old enough to have been a kid in The Nineties would remember all the tween soaps this show spawned, especially the ones done as kid salsa orchestra Salserín vehicles. It seemed that once you surpassed the eleven years old mark you could engage in your first Love Triangle.
Carrusel and other Mexican kid soapies since it, while more subdued than other examples, tend to have a sub plot of this kind.
Everybody Hates Chris Chris and his big love, Tasha (although the other Wiki describes their relationship to be deliberately platonic). To strengthen their newly-forged friendship (which he had been looking forward to for more than a season), he invites his notary public with a stack of documents. Ironically, it is Chris, who ultimately breaks up with Tasha. In the same episode.
House The episode "Two Stories" subverted its usual formula of opening with a scene of someone doing something and then someone (sometimes the same person, sometimes someone else) falling extremely sick, instead focusing on a pair of kids about to make out behind the school at recess when a teacher catches them...and then when they get taken to the principal's office, Dr. House is there as well and is in trouble for some shenanigans at Career Day. Most of the episode is then told in flashbacks, and upon seeing the class that House was talking to, it becomes quite obvious that this is an elementary school. (It eventually comes to light that these characters-of-the-day are fifth graders, which is actually about the right time for kids to begin putting aside their "girls/boys are yucky" feelings from when they're younger.) The kids then manage to show that they're much more mature than House when it comes to handling relationships.
Malcolm in the Middle Although he doesn't start high school until the 4th season, Malcolm has quite a few girlfriends and love interests before then.
The Nanny occasionally has moments of this with Grace and boys her age, as well as with Brighton while a pre-teen and girls his age.
Dårfinkar & dönickar (Loonies & Phonies), a Swedish TV series from 1989 about a 12-year-old girl, Simone, who goes to school as a boy. Simone and her classmate Isak fall in love, while another classmate, Kattis, crushes on the boy she thinks Simone is, and Isak and Kattis have a brief flirtation. Two other kids in their class, Anna and Pepsi (yes, Pepsi is a nickname, not an actual Swedish name) also seem to have a thing.
Livet enligt Rosa (Life According to Rosa), another Swedish kids' TV show, portrays its 12-year-old protagonist having crushes on five guys and relationships with three of them before she realises her best friend Ville was the one for her all along.
In Ebba och Didrik, also a Swedish kids' TV show, 9-year-old Ebba and her best friend and sweetheart Philip love one another devotedly. They are building a house together in the woods and plan on living there, till Ebba meets Martin, a poor little rich boy with lots of flashy toys.
Eva & Adam, yet another Swedish kids' TV show, follows the romantic fortunes of its title characters, about 11-13 years old, who become a couple early on. Their classmates have various romantic entanglements too; indeed, Eva and Adam ship their respective best friends as a couple and try to get them together. It...almost works. Yes, Swedish kids' TV loves this trope.
On Happy Days, Joanie suffers a case of puppy love when Potsie (in a practice session) sings "Put Your Head On My Shoulder" to her.
A Lambada by Kaoma. The little blonde waitress and the dark-skinned percusionist boy featured in the video.
Iesha by Another Bad Creation, the song quoted above. One of the stranger examples. ABC were a preteen quartet discovered by Michael Bivins, and the song recounts the lead singer meeting Iesha at the playground and falling in love with her "on the monkey bars". It's a little... odd.
"Europa and the Pirate Twins" Thomas Dolby, a song about very young lovers separated by war. Possibly allegorical.
"Rebecca Lynn" by Bryan White. It's about two children, including the title character, who fall in love "long about the start of second grade", and grow up to become each other's Victorious Childhood Friend.
Harvest Moon/Rune Factory In some of the games, you essentially take part in this yourself if you decide to ship your first character's child with another child.
There are more conventional examples throughout the series: Stu and May in Back to Nature and Friends of Mineral Town, Hugh and Katie in A Wonderful Life and HM DS, Charlie and Eliza in Island Of Happiness, Rahi and Ying in The Tale of Two Towns, Cecilia and Nicholas in Rune Factory and Candy and Marco in Rune Factory Frontier.
In Rune Factory 2, you can invoke this for your own character - the game's second half has the progatonist's child as the player character. He or she can "get married"note explicitly referred to as "playing married", however to one of their friends. One of your options is a pair of Cloud Cuckoo Lander twin sisters who don't really get the whole thing and think "marriage" has something to do with toast.
This is partly what has earned Link (at least the The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time version) his reputation as a Kirk-level ladies' man. Saria (Being a possible example, since Kokiri look like children all their lives, there's no telling how old she actually is) and Princess Ruto both had crushes on him (though how much he reciprocated those crushes varied, he seems more afraid of Ruto than anything). There is also the fact that one of the Gossip Stones talks about how Malon is waiting for a "Knight in Shining Armor" to come sweep her off her feet. Link carries a shield and sword and is possibly either the founder or related to the Knights of Hyrule. Her father offers to let Link marry her when he's young as a joke, with the player given the option to say yes or no (with the same result either way).
Psychonauts Lili and Raz end up kissing, even though both are 10 years old. Lili and Raz far from the only pairing. It almost makes one suspect that psychic powers accelerate development. After all, understanding other people would be much easier and you'll probably pick up details from nearby adults.
Sengoku Basara — Ranmaru Mori and Itsuki often hang around together and Itsuki sometimes does scenes on him. She acts bit of tsundere, fighting him and in the end making him dinner (in Sengoku Basara: Battle Heroes).
In Secret of Mana, one of the towns has a house with a pair of married children.
Super Robot Wars manages to take this up a level by mixing it with Les Yay. Latooni Subota and Shine-hime have some very interesting dialogue, not to mention their combination attack in the Faerlions.
Pac-Man Junior fell for a ghost named Yum-Yum in one game. It's also a case of Starcrossed Lovers, since the two species hate each other (and ghosts apparently eat Pac-people).
Herve and Cecilia in Folklore are a particularly sad and sweet case. Even though both of them were only children, she risked her life and soul to save him, and in the end he gave his life willingly to save hers.
The Simpsons has Lisa and her ongoing Belligerent Sexual Tension with Milhouse, yet both of them have been through plenty of other relationships, one well known one being Samantha Stanky in the episode "Bart's Friend Falls in Love"
Also applies to Bart,to the point that there was an episode recently starring practically all the relationships he's been through.
Ben 10: Kai, the girl Ben had a crush on for one episode despite being of the opinion that Girls Have Cooties most of the rest of the time.
Codename: Kids Next Door loves this trope (it has to, with all its heroes under the age of 13). As the show usually parodies action and sci-fi movies and shows, it would not be complete without romantic subplots.
KND even has a rare villain example of this trope: Numbah Three's mean baby sister Mushi and the self-proclaimed King Sandy. They get bonus points for being even younger than the other couples.
Doug had Doug and Patti, who were both in sixth grade when the series began and just finishing up seventh grade when it ended. There was also Skeeter and Beebe.
The Fairly Oddparents: Timmy Turner, despite being ten-years-old (and mentally even lower), repeatedly sought a relationship with the resident Rich Bitch Trixie and was sought after by two other girls, Tootie and Veronica. Trixie and Tootie are the two most likely to get Timmy, and they've both had their moments with him. According to Word of God, both are likely candidates.
KaBlam!: Henry and June, it's rather obvious that they have crushes on each other.
South Park: A canonical example would be Stan and Wendy, who actually are "boyfriend and girlfriend".
Recess: In one episode, Gus/Cornchip Girl. There's also the kiss episode between T.J. and Spinelli, with the implication that there's a lot more chemistry than either admits.
In another episode, Spinelli's mom even mentions that T.J.'s the one Spinelli has a crush on.
A Google logo made for Valentine's Day featured a short animation about a young boy who was trying to impress a girl jumproping outside by looking up Valentine's Day-related items and gifts like flowers and chocolate, but the girl refuses them and continues to jumprope. The boy continues to give the girl more items, but she still refuses and continues her jumproping, until finally the boy gives up and brings his own rope to jumprope with when the girl immediately drops her jump rope, hugs him, and start jumproping together with the boy's jump rope.
Jonny Quest: The 80's animated series had two TV movies (Jonny's Golden Quest and Jonny Quest vs. The Cyber Insects) both of which featured Race's daughter Jesse. She and Jonny appear to be about 10 to 12 years old. She kisses him in both movies.
The early 90's series has both Jonny and Jesse as teenagers. Theyre' still a buttload of Ship Tease between them.