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It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that it’s our job as parents and as adults to teach our children everything they need to know about the world. But the truth is, there is a lot of lessons we can learn from children too. Their innocence and untainted view of the world gives fresh eyes to how we tackle our days.
I am convinced, if we could all tap into our inner child just a little more, we would live in a world that had much more kindness and wonder than we see now. And re-learning these lessons from children is a reminder that we had these abilities and understandings but at some point in our lives, we let them fall by the wayside.
Perhaps it’s time to make these life lessons we can learn from children a priority again.
1 – It’s Okay To Cry When You’re Upset
What’s one of the first things kids do when they are upset? They cry! And a good cry can be so therapeutic. While I don’t think it’s necessary to cry over every dropped piece of fruit or scraped knee (yes I still fall over as an adult and scrape my knees, I’m pretty clumsy like that) I do think giving ourselves permission to cry about the things that upset us is important.
There are even suggestions that crying is physically healthier for us as we are literally crying out the chemicals that are associated with stress and emotional imbalance.
Have a think about it, have you ever felt worse after a good cry? Crying is also a signal to others that we need love and support. Sometimes it’s difficult to actually say these things but crying is a visual trigger for a cuddle and care. Not that we should rely on crying to get attention, but sometimes it’s the only available response.
2 – It’s Okay To Ask For Help When You Need It
Still on the ‘sometimes it’s difficult to communicate what you need’ train, adults tend to find it difficult to ask for help when we need it. We somehow see this as a sign of weakness and for gosh knows what reason, we think we have to do everything ourselves.
Kids know this and we need to remind ourselves of it too.
While there are plenty of things we can do for ourselves that we know kids still need to ask for help with (like wiping your own butt), the point is that sometimes we just need to ask for help from someone we know and trust and who can help us.
It’s okay to ask your parents to babysit so you can do the groceries on your own, or go to an appointment for a massage or take time out at a cafe by yourself.
It’s okay to ask your friends to bring you coffee and to help you at home for the day with a newborn.
It’s okay to say you don’t know how to do something.
It’s okay to outsource the things you don’t like doing and hire a cleaner or a cook.
It’s okay to not be perfect at everything.
It’s okay to ask for help.
3 – You Need To Find Happiness In The Smallest Of Things
Have you seen the way a child’s eyes light up over the smallest of things? The excitement they get when something so simple happens. It’s these things we often take for granted.
My son still thinks that the way the days go from light to dark and dark to light is amazing. He squeals with excitement when he see’s the moon in the sky during the day. And he will often say ‘Mummy, it’s such a beautiful day today’.
When was the last time you appreciated how amazing it is that the day gives way to night? When was the last time you looked for the moon during the day and took a moment to think of how awesome it was to see? When did you last say to someone how beautiful the day was?
Taking a few moments to find happiness in these everyday things and be grateful for what we have can make our days so much brighter.
4 – Your Imagination Is Limitless
I made the mistake a few weeks ago of tidying up some boxes from the toy room. I say mistake because apparently, they weren’t just boxes. One was a microwave for a kitchen, the other was an oven and another was a box full of ‘food’. All things my son created with his imagination.
Just think about it for a minute. Imagine all the things you could achieve and do in your life if you didn’t allow your perception of reality get in the way.
And I mean it when I say ‘your perception’ of reality. Because really, everything is part of our imagination until it is created and then becomes our reality.
Do you think Steve Jobs allowed his current reality stop his imagination? Or Elon Musk? Or Richard Branson? Or anyone who has ever set foot into space? They all tapped into what comes naturally to kids. They imagine and then they create.
Those boxes were just boxes until my son made them kitchen appliances.
What are you missing in your life because you are limiting your imagination? Let it run wild.
5 – A Lot Of Things Can Be Fixed With a Nap or a Cuddle
Seriously, my favourite lesson and one that is actually really full of value. We live in a world that is so stressful and so full on and so much in ‘go’ mode all the time. It can be overwhelming and sometimes make it difficult to think or to take action.
But so many things can be fixed with a nap or a cuddle.
Sleeping changes the way we view things. It allows us to get out of our heightened state of response, allows us to relax our mind and when we wake, look at things with a fresh perspective. If you’re upset, stressed, overwhelmed, tired, exhausted or need time out – take a nap. You’ll be amazed at the difference it makes.
If you can’t take a nap (because some of us have to work and run a family life and adult… I get it), then let it be until you’ve managed to sleep on it. Rarely do decisions absolutely have to be made in the there and now. Give it 24 hours and a sleep – then take action.
And remember how good a cuddle feels. Human touch releases a hormone called oxytocin that makes us feel happy and loved. Such a simple thing can make us feel so much better, reduce our stress and anxiety and allow us to focus on what needs to be done. Take a deep breath and have a cuddle. It really works.
What do you think are valuable lessons we can learn from children?