5 Lessons I Have Learned From 5 Year Olds

1. People will always work harder, and do more, for someone they trust.

Human beings, whether big or small, will always put more effort into a task when they are doing it for someone that they care about. It is extremely important to take time to make the people in your life feel validated. I am not saying put all of your time and effort into other’s needs, but listen when people talk, like really listen. When you find out what a person likes, or is good at, ask them about it occasionally. It doesn’t take much to make a person feel like you are invested in their well being, but it will go a very long way in helping to form a bond with them.

2. Routine is important.

Yes, spontaneity is fun, but living life without at least somewhat of a plan can become overwhelming and stressful. Have at least a loose idea of what your goals are for the day and plan around them. Some days nothing will go as planned, and some days everything will work out perfectly, but having a general path for the day makes people, especially the kiddos in our lives, feel like they are in control of what is happening, and lord knows everyone likes to feel at least some sense of control over themselves.

3. A good book is always a good idea.

In my classroom I find that even on the craziest of days a book always works some kind of magic. I have had days where kids were cranky, crying, yelling at each other, wound up, and just generally uninterested in anything I had to say to them. On days like that I bring the class to the carpet, pick a high interest book, and just read. You can watch the sense of peace and calm seep into their tiny bodies as they get immersed in the story. Allow yourself to feel this peace and calm occasionally too. Maybe books aren’t for you, and that’s o.k. Read a magazine, listen to a podcast, or watch your favorite movie, but by allowing your brain to forget about the real world for a second there is a good chance that your body will feel lighter even if for a moment.

4. Movement is a must in a world that wants us to be sedentary.

The education system wants children to work more and play less. The time spent at desks and tables is increasing in an age when children already spend an awful lot of time sitting playing video games and looking at tablets. I find that allowing children to get their wiggles out by dancing, marching, or even going for a quick walk down the hall allows them to better focus on the work at hand. Adults, like children, need to move. Not only is a movement break important for your physical health, but it also allows your brain to re-charge and allows for more focus when returning to the task you are attempting to complete. Walk, dance, run, jump, just move. Your brain and body will thank you.

5. Accidents happen, but you just have to change your pants and keep on truckin’.

It always amazes me that after a bathroom accident the kiddos are so capable of just changing their pants and moving on with their day. I feel like I would not be able to get over an accident quite so easily, but that’s one of the beautiful things about kids- they realize that accidents happen and do not feel the need to give them any more thought than they’re worth. Let’s allow ourselves to do the same. If we mess up we need to own what we did, clean it up if necessary, and then move on. Whatever has happened cannot be changed so we can only learn from it and attempt to grow in the future. If we never made mistakes, or had accidents, we wouldn’t grow as people.

As adults, we get so lost in our daily list of tasks that we forget that it is o.k. to just enjoy life once in awhile. Children have this great way of accepting others where they are at, finding the humor in situations, and just being in the moment. Perhaps if we were just a little more like the tiny humans that we are raising we would be less stressed and happier. I know this is easier said than done, but let’s try, at least once a day, to let our guard down a bit and just enjoy life.

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