Kids as Teachers

According to my nurturing medical carers, I was a geriatric when I gave birth to my son – I was 43 at the time.  Back then, I could never have imagined just how much he would teach me as he grew. It got me thinking on many occasions about what I have re-discovered, re-learnt or learned anew about life through Tomas.

Here’s my top 5.

#1 Laughter

We hear that laughing gives us great benefits such as boosting our immune system, lowering cortisol and other stress hormones, improving breathing, lowering blood pressure and probably making us a better, more social person, to be around!

Yet very often adults seem to have lost the art of genuine laughter (It is said that adults laugh around 17 times per day – and children – wait for it – up to 400!) Imagine how our wellbeing could improve by upping our laughter quota. I’d certainly forgotten to laugh at the easy things in life – instead expecting comedians, and TV shows, to entertain me. (I was shocked at how lazy I’d become in the entertainment department!)

Now watching my son tickle my husband makes me laugh too! He’s at the ‘Home Alone’ phase in his life and his laughter at the slapstick comedy and his re-enactments of the same cannot help but make me smile and get involved in all things silly, giddy and self-entertained. And it’s guaranteed to make me feel better about myself and life as a result.

#2 Can Do – Resourcefulness

Without verbally articulating it, children communicate the, “There is always a way” message. If a block can’t slot into a certain place in a certain way, it’s taken out again and again until it works. The same with a jigsaw puzzle. The word ‘can’t/cannot’ is learnt through those around children so if you hear a little one saying they can’t they have most certainly heard that, observed it, taken it in and believed it through an adult.

So, our lesson, and to reflect on the NLP presupposition, ‘We have all the resources we need’, is to check out all the options for a dilemma, problem or challenge. Then when we have all the possible options for a solution think again and come up with one final option – in my experience as a Behavioural Coaching Partner – that last option is often the most creative, the most apt and the most straightforward of possible answers.

Try it out when you next have a dilemma you’ve no idea how to start fixing.

#3 Posture.

If you think about how a baby starts to sit up or observe how a toddler bends down to pick up a dropped toy, they are efficient, accurate and precise in their movements, a toddler bending its knees and maintaining a straight back. This ultimately enables the task to be undertaken with the minimal of damage.

We have heard through much scientific research the importance of using our skeletomuscular system efficiently to avoid immediate, or delayed, damage to our bodies. Yet as adults, several of us have ‘unlearnt’ this efficiency, resulting in poor posture and, worse still, pain as a result of our body’s misalignment and mis-use.

#4 Honesty

Plain and simple. Sometimes the brutal honesty of little ones makes us adults cringe as they harshly comment on the size of one’s gluteus maximus, nose, ears, other defining feature, lack of life partner, etc etc…but you know where you stand with them!

Through a sense of consideration for others’ feelings or a reluctance to bear the fallout of an individuals reactions to comments, adults tend to be selective with the truth. For example, how many pair of shoes, handbags or other purchase of choice have been ‘….bought ages ago’ when in reality the ink on the receipt is barely dry? (My excuse is that I don’t want to burden my husband with the worry of wondering where I’m going to store said new shoes! Honest! Well, it’s my reasoning and I’m sticking with it’!) Were I to consider being honest though the reality is I think I’ll look good in the shoes, I’ll feel good wearing them and be a better person as a result)……So why don’t I just ‘fess up? Habit I’m afraid!

Honesty is likely to be the best policy so in order to mitigate the risk of hurting someone’s feelings, instead of fibbing perhaps we need to be more mindful of the words and language we choose –  Worth considering?

#5 Learn, learn, learn

Children have voracious appetites for learning, but when did most of us stop learning? Maybe the boxed room school environment put us off for several years or for life. It’s easy to fix though. Kids usually learn through observation, trial, repetition and story telling.

They observe everything around them. Adults, other children, TV characters, strangers, animals, songs………and they pick up and develop as a result.

The great news is research now indicates that we can learn at any age by creating new connections in our brains and strengthening these connections through practice….so let’s not leave it to the kids to develop new thinking, skills, interests and hobbies.

I’ve even learnt the lyrics to Justin Beiber’s Despecito as a result of Tomas performing his own rendition again and again. Now, without my gorgeous little man I would never -ever- have learnt those lyrics. He’s also taught me to count 1-5 in Irish!

So, let’s give it up for the kids and learn through and with them. What have you learnt from little ones? I’d love to hear from you. @una_davey #Learnthroughchildren.