This contribution demonstrates that the CJEU cases Ruiz Zambrano and Chavez-Vilchez are particularly significant from a children's rights perspective. The article connects these two judgments and their implementation in the national Dutch context, with three commonplace themes from children's rights literature; (1) the child as an equal bearer of rights, (2) the child as a distinct bearer of rights, and (3) the important role of developmental research. This perspective shows that the approach adopted by the CJEU with regard to the EU citizen child is paradigm shifting, as it breaks with dominant approaches in fundamental rights law and immigration law which historically place parental rights front and centre. The contribution demonstrates that the importance of this shift cannot be underestimated, because it provides the contested notions of children's rights and the Convention on the Right of the Child (CRC) with both legitimacy and meaning.