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7 Things I’ve learned working with children

So I freelance on the side for a book review magazine, and I have *tried* to get hired on as a freelancer in other capacities to other websites. Here is an Listicle that I shopped around to a few different websites that publish that sort of thing, and it wasn’t picked up. So after waiting for what felt like an eternity, I am deciding to post it here, because I put a lot of effort into it and it can’t just sit in my documents unread! So here it is (peppered with some of my pictures!): 

Children can be challenging, rewarding, frustrating and wonderful all at the same time, and working with kids in a non-teacher capacity is all of those things and more! As a Library Assistant in charge of children’s programming, I get to work with kids in a variety of ways, and here are some things I’ve learned from those kids:

1.      Everything (and I mean everything) is exciting.


As we become adults, it seems as if we become less excited about simple things, such as butterflies or wearing your favorite shirt. Kids are excited about everything! Some of the kids I do programming for come for my two-weekly story time slots, and as they have gotten to know me and become more comfortable in the Library, I am one of the people they excitedly tell about their accomplishments and new experiences. 

Go ahead and be excited for the new Suicide Squad movie, or that the weather is great that day – you don’t have to be ‘too cool’ to show your excitement, we aren’t in high school anymore. Once I graduated high school, I almost felt as if I had to outgrow my too cool attitude and start being excited again, and it was very liberating I must say!

2.      Learning never ends.


Kids are constantly learning, every day presents new opportunities and challenges to learn, and that should never change. Whether you take up a new skill, or simply learn a new aspect of something you already know, it is important to keep learning and it’s important that you be excited about it (see point 1). 

Have a word of the day calendar? Great! Want to perfect a recipe you saw on Pinterest? Perfect! Find something that you want to learn and it will feel so rewarding! You may even make new friends in the process!

3.      Its okay to be constantly changing.


How many times have you asked a kid what they were going to be when they grew up or what their favorite color is? Those answers are constantly different, because kids and growing and changing at such a rapid rate that it only makes sense that their loves and ambitions would change right with them. 

I’m not telling you to go and overhaul yourself every so often (unless you want to, then that is exactly what I’m saying), but you don’t have to hold on to traits, items or activities that you don’t love anymore. It’s okay to change as you get older, that’s part of growing up – if you want to change something (such as a signature hairstyle, favorite band, career) go ahead and change it! You aren’t bound by your life circumstances; change the things you have the power to change and be happier for it!

4.      It is important to tell someone how you feel.


We always tell children to use their words and express their feelings (unless you are Elsa’s parents), and somewhere along the line expressing our feelings was no longer encouraged. How is your boyfriend or girlfriend supposed to know that they’ve upset you? How will someone know if they’ve offended you? 

So here’s the deal, after reading this article I want you to make a point of telling one extra person a day how you feel, and it doesn’t necessarily need to be when you’re upset. I try to make a point of telling someone that I appreciate something they’ve done or said to me – such as a task at work, dishes at home or a compliment.  Even if you are upset and want someone to know, a simple “hey, I just wanted to let you know that hurt my feelings” works just fine.

5.      Sometimes you need to sit down and take a breather.


Time out. Something that every kid seems to hate, but they often come out of it more calm and relaxed. Parents making kids go to time out is essentially an attempt to “reset” their mood and behavior, and while as adults we don’t get sent to time out anymore – it is worth while to reconsider the benefits of stepping away for a few minutes.

We’ve all been in situations where we get frustrated to the point where we may blow up in the face of the person or people involved and say or do something we may regret. We don’t find such expressions in children acceptable, and even less so in adults. Next time you feel this way, excuse yourself from the situation, even if it means just turning around and walking out of the room. It’s ready enough to explain that than try and fix whatever you said or did. Go get a coffee, take a walk or just go house out in a different space, it’ll be worth it.

6. People love when you remember something about them.


Kids LOVE it when you remember who their favorite Ninja Turtle is our what school they go to – it makes them feel special to you and gives them something to talk to you about. 

This is no different among your coworkers and classmates. Did your coworker mention they had a dog?  Dog owners LOVE to talk about their dogs (trust me, I love to talk about my German Shepherd), ask them how their dog is doing, they will be touched you remembered. You don’t have to be emotionally invested in their lives, but if the people around you see you as a thoughtful, caring person, it’ll make your life with them easier.

7. It never hurts to pay someone a compliment.


Kids will be the first person to tell you if they like or dislike something. When I had pink hair I had kids every day telling me how much they liked my hair, and it made me feel great!  Same goes when you compliment a child,  I often tell them I like their outfits, especially seeing the kids I generally work with are just learning to dress themselves. They are always so proud that someone noticed. 

As adults, we put even more effort into how we present ourselves to the world and we often get less recognition!  I have super long hair that I often wear up in a bun, but if I’ve put the (long) time and effort into actually doing something with it, I want someone to comment! And I know that I’m not alone on this one. After reading this article,  tell someone their hair loss nice, or that they did a great job on that project they were working on,  or that you love something about their personality – it will make them feel amazing!  Which in turn will make you feel amazing! 


I hope you enjoyed this article! I will (hopefully) write one that the websites want one day!

Amanda xo.

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