Sometimes as parents we can be focused on teaching our children everything we think they should know, telling them what we think, what they should do, taking them to non stop clubs and activities in the hope that they learn, learn, learn… and schools of course are being forced by the government to only concentrate on test results and academic progress. Of course it will be interesting to see what the pandemic experience will result in with children’s development; of course they have missed the social, personal, play and practical elements of school. But the assessments? I am not convinced that the lack of formal teaching and assessments will have as a big an impact as we think.
What the experience this year has shown us is that we can take a breath….let the kids entertain themselves and even be bored!! And actually there have been interesting benefits, for them and us!
What this time has encouraged a lot of us to do is to stand still, step back and look at how fantastic our children are at this very moment.
And there’s so much we can learn from them when we do this.
I think most children are getting it pretty much right most days to be honest. This is what I have learnt from my children….
1/ Laugh every day.
“A day without laughter is a day wasted.” – Charlie Chaplin
My children must laugh 100 times a day and they have this ability to find joy all around them. Whether it’s in the car, in the park or in the supermarket they can see silliness everywhere. And we can all benefit from some silliness sometimes!
2/ Be courageous.
“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” – Anais Nin.
Sing out loud. Dance when you feel like it. A child’s life feels limitless because they are not confined by fears of failure or humiliation. They march forward with hope and determination because they don’t know any better. They embrace life and all it has to offer with open arms.
3/ Creative activities are fun and good for you.
“Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt
How often do you see children losing themselves in a creative project for hours at a time? Drawing, playing with clay, building a sandcastle with meticulous attention to detail?
For some reason, as we get older, we stop seeing creative activities as worthwhile. How many adults, aside from artists, draw on a regular basis? How many play with paints, clay or do colouring just for the fun of it?
Research shows that creative tasks open your mind up to new possibilities and allow solutions, ideas and thoughts to flow more freely. Creative activities are so important to helping children to express themselves, build confidence and try new things. And us adults could benefit from some of this too!
4/ Be active
“Play energizes and enlivens us. It eases our burdens. It renews our natural sense of optimism and opens us up to new possibilities.” – Stuart Brown
I loved playing outside as a child. it was just fun and what we did! Children seem to play out less nowadays but when they do the joy and freedom is clear. I think we not only need to encourage daily outside play for our kids but for ourselves too! One of my favourite things still now is to get on the swing next to my daughter and see who can swing the highest!
5/ Be the hero.
“Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.” – Nora Ephron
When a child tells you a story about school or their sports club, they are usually the hero of their story. The world revolves around them. As we get older, we don’t want to be conceited or egotistic, so we downplay our accomplishments and achievements. But in doing so, we often slip to the side of self-deprecation. We put ourselves down to make others feel better or to be more relatable. Modesty becomes an admirable quality and we start to convince ourselves of our own mediocrity. We start to doubt our abilities and it becomes easier to be the victim than to take responsibility for our own story. Sometimes remembering that we can be the hero in our life just like our children are can help us to remember we only have one life!
6/ Try new things
Children are not afraid to play a sport they have never tried before. They will jump on a trampoline, jump into a pool or ski down a mountain even if it is foreign to them. As adults, we fear the unknown. We stay safely ensconced in our comfort zone and rarely venture out. Yet adventure exhilarates us and awakens the spirit so we need to get out and try something new, learn a new skill or experience something new.
7/ See Everybody as Being Special
Have you noticed the admiration children have in their eyes when they look at you and everybody around you? How many special people children have in their life, from their favourite friend, favourite teacher, to favourite shopkeeper! They see everybody as being special and unique and that’s exactly what we all are it’s just that our lenses are too dirty and we can no longer see reality as clearly as children do. Children haven’t yet learnt about making judgements and criticisms.
8/ To Use More of Your Imagination
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution. It is, strictly speaking, a real factor in scientific research.” Albert Einstein
There can never be too much inspiration in the world! If you think about it, with the amount of technology we have access to, we have information overload, but information without new ideas and imagination is no good. No matter what you do, no matter who you are, no matter where you are, learn to use more of your imagination, because it is one of the greatest gifts we possess. And as parents we should be modelling that to our children; that will one of the greatest lessons we can give them.
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