Nine Lessons I Learned from My Kids

As parents, we work hard to teach our children the best we can, so they are adequately prepared to go out into the world. However, as parents, we quickly learn that we are not the only teachers in the household. Often it is our children that are teaching and inspiring us. By observing our kids, we are opened to a whole other world. This week I am sharing Nine Lessons I Learned from My Kids.

1. Change Your Perspective

Akiane Kramarik said, “If we experienced life through the eyes of a child, everything would be magical and extraordinary. Let our curiosity, adventure and wonder of life never end.” By watching the world through our children’s eyes, we are gently reminded that there are much kinder ways to look at the world, than how we often do as adults when we are stuck in the grind. Sometimes when we are feeling stuck, we just need a change in perspective.

We can work to look at old things in new ways. We can take what we have and instead of trying to change it, we can change how we view it. Instead of being frustrated with a long commute in traffic, we can see it as an opportunity to think through our day or use the time to listen to a favorite podcast. Instead of dreading a difficult project, we can look at it as a challenge to overcome. By changing our perspective to a more optimistic viewpoint, we can experience the world in a more positive way.

2. Appreciate the Little Things

Watching my children be amused with a squirt bottle all morning and sticks for the better part of an afternoon reminds me to appreciate the little things. Kids don’t need fancy toys to entertain themselves. It’s often the most commonplace items that bring young kids the most amusement as it allows them to engage their imagination.

We don’t need fancy gadgets, luxury cars, or expensive vacations to find happiness. We can find joy in the everyday activities of life. Stepping outside to appreciate nature, talking to friends over a cup of coffee, or visiting a new place nearby can bring just as much excitement to our lives, and bonus – they are much kinder to our bank account.

3. View the World as if We Are Seeing it for the First Time

One of the most magical parts of having kids is seeing them experience so many new things for the first time. Their eyes are wide open, and they are thrilled to explore their worlds.

We too can open our hearts and minds and look at our worlds with fresh eyes. We can go through our day observing everything we see. Through observing, we can allow ourselves to see our world in a new way.

4. Be Present…Even for the In-between Stuff

For a young child, every part of the day is important, and every part of the day can be a chance to have fun. It’s not just about the planned activity, it’s also about getting ready. The transitions, the preparation, it all holds significance. And the great thing about young kids, is they stay in the moment for all of it. They are not preoccupied with thoughts about what they need to do later. Instead, they are present with the now. They experience everything they do more fully, and because of that, they are open to finding delight in almost anything.

When we have an endless to-do list, we are often racing through our days causing us to miss small, but important opportunities to find joy. Instead of racing through our everyday simple tasks such as brushing our teeth and hair, we can be present for them and find gratitude in having the time and space to take care of ourselves. Throughout our day we can work to fully experience not just each scheduled task but be fully present for the transitions between tasks. As we walk past strangers, instead of rushing past, we can take a moment to smile and acknowledge each other’s presence.

5. Adopt the Beginner’s Mindset

Children are constantly learning and absorbing everything around them. I have noticed my children are often most joyful when they are learning something new.

As adults, we too can adopt the beginner’s mindset. We can stay curious and explore new ideas and new ways of thinking. We can stay open-minded and embrace a willingness to learn so our lives may continue to expand with new knowledge. By committing to always learning, we are allowing ourselves to experience a fuller life.

6. Be Fearless

Young children have the gift of innocence which allows them to experience life with little or no fear. They are often more willing to try new things, as they lack the full understanding of the consequences.

As adults, we are more keenly aware of the risks of our actions. Many of us let fear hold us back. However, we can learn from children, put our fear aside, and embrace trying new things. We can take a leap of faith and go after what we want or (safely) try something that scares us! You might surprise yourself with what you can do!

7. Make Time for Play

Ralph Emerson Quote
On the wall at Strong National Museum of Play

As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “It is a happy talent to know how to play.” Kids are experts at play. Playing is how they learn. Whether it’s playing with toys or making up games as they go along, children are experts at creating fun and laughing at the silliest things.

We can take a break from our to-do list and play. We can take time to be silly, have fun, and make sure to laugh. Playing allows us the time to recuperate so we are ready for when it’s time to go back to our work. Even more, according to the Mayo Clinic, laughter has both short-term and long-term health benefits. These benefits include improving your immune system, relieving pain, and helping your mood.

8. It’s the Journey, Not the Destination

If you have ever tried to walk anywhere with a toddler, you will quickly discover that pausing to look around is a requirement. We learn to be patient as a child takes their time observing and discovering the beauty of their surroundings. Whether it’s a gooey piece of gum stuck on the sidewalk, a sticky pinecone, or a beautiful sunset, it’s all worth stopping for. To a child, it is about the journey, not just the destination.

We too can learn to slow down and appreciate the process and not just the end goal. If we are training for a race, we can take time to appreciate each run. If we are working on a project, we can find enjoyment in the work we are doing. We can take pride in each step and soak up what it means to be in the moment through each journey.

9. Bad Moments Don’t Have to Ruin Our Day

A toddler can go from the happiest to the most miserable child in ten seconds flat. However, they also have an incredible ability to rebound from it. Little kids get upset, cry it out, and then move on with their day.

When we have a bad moment, we can do our best not to let it ruin our day or our week. As the saying goes, “If something won’t matter in five years, don’t waste more than five minutes being upset by it.” We can learn from our children to be resilient. Instead of dwelling on a negative situation, we can simply take a few minutes to process it, then leave it alone, and move on.

Thank You for Reading

Thank you for reading Nine Lessons I Learned from My Kids. What lessons have you learned from observing kids? 

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3 responses to “Nine Lessons I Learned from My Kids”

  1. Shannon Z Sawyer Avatar
    Shannon Z Sawyer

    Those are some very wise kids!
    Also, love the new format <3

  2. Grace McGrath Avatar
    Grace McGrath

    This is lovely Meghan. You have encapsulated some of the wisdom handed down by philosophers and great spiritual teachers. Thanks!

  3. Richard McGrath Avatar
    Richard McGrath

    It never ceases to amaze me what sponges children are. The amount of learning in their early years is astonishing.

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