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8 Things We Should Learn from Young Children

Posted by on in Early Childhood
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So much uneasiness and so many serious events in the news. Pondering it all took me to a different place. It just seemed to be a good time for a change of direction.

The focus always seems to be on what we can teach our youngest contingent. Let’s turn things around, shall we? What are some of the valuable things we can learn from them?

These aren’t new lessons, because when we were children, we had them down. Somehow, as we got older, busier… perhaps sidetracked, what came naturally to us as kids became unpracticed and sometimes as good as gone. Well, are these things still important now that we’re grownups? You betcha! So let’s be reminded.


1. Be confident. You never see a five-year old shy away from proclaiming what she doesn’t like or what she wants. Sure, we can use a bit more decorum, but there’s something to be said for speaking up. That’s how change happens, after all.

laughing child

2. Be silly. What a great stress reliever! Find opportunities to let out your inner silly heart…. with or without a child present. If you have #1 down, it won’t matter much what other people think. And, chances are, they’ll either envy your reckless abandon or join in.

show affection

3. Show affection. As the years go by, we tend to be less spontaneous and generous with affection towards those who mean the most to us. Remember all those big hugs we used to give out without provocation? Who doesn’t still benefit from those?

up the slide

4. Take risks. Children are constantly seeking out new adventures and experiences. Why should that stop? No one should allow themselves to get stale. Too old you say? Nonsense!

laughing together

5. Find humor in things. As kids, this was so easy. Now, everything is so serious. We use humor to diffuse tension with young children, so why not use it to lighten our own mood. Laughter is contagious, so spread it around!

helping each other

6. Focus on the good in people. Children will have an occasional tiff with their friends, but they move on. There are no grudges. They enjoy and accept each other at face value, without dwelling on their shortcomings or over-analyzing. Getting back to this would sure make life a lot better, right?

board game

7. Value the little things. That’s what children do. The best part of that pricey family vacation might not be the theme park. Instead, what they talk about again and again is the day it rained and they played board games in the hotel room with their siblings. Try to appreciate those kinds of special moments now, too.

dad reading

8. Live in the moment. Don’t be fixated on what you have planned for tomorrow. And, try to cut back on the multitasking. It isn’t doing you any good. Put down the devices and be there for your children, significant other, friends, and even yourself. You may be surprised at how meaningful this can be… and how much you’ve been missing.

Ahhhh, yes.

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Debra Pierce is professor of Early Childhood Education at Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana. Ivy Tech is the nation's largest singly accredited statewide community college systems, serving nearly 200,000 students annually.

Her professional background has always involved children, over the past 40 years, having been a primary grades teacher in the Chicago Public School system, a teacher of 3 and 4 year-olds in a NAEYC accredited preschool for 15 years, and a certified Parent Educator for the National Parents as Teachers Program.

Debra is a certified Professional Development Specialist for the Council for Professional Recognition. She has taught CDA courses to high school career/tech dual credit juniors and seniors in preparation for earning their CDA credentials. She also conducts CDA train-the-trainer events across the country and develops and teaches online CDA courses for several states, is a frequent presenter at national and state early childhood conferences, and is a Master Trainer for the states of Minnesota and Arizona. She was also awarded the NISOD Teaching Excellence Award by the University of Texas.

Debra is active in her community, supporting children's literacy and is on the board of directors of First Book in Indianapolis. Debra is a contributing author for Hamilton County Family Magazine and Indy's Child in Indianapolis.
She loves spending time with her two grandsons, Indy, who is 7 and Radley, 3.

Debra has spent the last 16 years dedicated to the success of those pursuing the CDA credential and is the author of The CDA Prep Guide: The Complete Review Manual for the Child Development Associate Credential, now in its third edition (Redleaf Press), the only publication of its kind. She hosts a website providing help and support to CDA candidates and those who train them at http://www.easycda.com
The comments and views expressed are not in collaboration or affiliation with The Council for Professional Recognition or Ivy Tech Community College.
Follow me on Twitter at /easycda

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Guest Wednesday, 22 May 2019