12 Things I Learned From Working With Kids
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12 Things I Learned From Working With Kids

These are some of the main things I learned from children that changed me as a person.

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12 Things I Learned From Working With Kids
Miracle Recreation

Recently, I put in my two weeks notice and finished working with children on a consistent basis. Transitioning has definitly been a bit challenging and, as part of this transition, I wanted to write down the 12 main things I learned from this experience because I think they changed me a lot as a person.

1. Patience Patience Patience

I had a friend who used to tell me I had the patience of a fly. It used to be one of my violin teacher's main things to work on week by week. Working with children has given me a much larger reserve of patience because every day is different and some days are difficult and each child needs something different.

2. Always work to understand

This is a big one that's really impacted my adult life. It's so easy to misunderstand and toss someone else's ideas to the side without a care. With children I feel like I have to try to understand them. I have to slow down and think it through before I go with my gut instinct - particularly if I feel it's a moment that needs to be learned from.

3. Remain kind

It's easy to get worn down. One of the best lessons I've learned has been because of what I've observed, and later put into practice working with kids, and that is to always forgive and immediately treat them kindly once they're done sitting in time out. And this is important in everyday life as well - everyone needs to be able to feel forgiven when they mess up. Holding a grudge for minor offenses is never useful.

4. Embrace creativity

Children see the world in an entirely different way. They make up words or turn normal words into a type of superhero. Sometimes it's about looking at something I've stared at forever and then restarting my interpretation. This really helps when it comes to working on creative projects.

5. . . . And embrace literalism

Working with kids often means I have to say what I mean. Sarcasm rarely has a place and while I do love being sarcastic, sometimes I need a reminder to pull back and be purely honest.

6. Remain consistent

When working with children this means sticking to what I and the other teachers believe to be right so that they learn what decisions are good choices and bad choices. In real life this means sticking to what I believe in - sticking to the choices that fit me best as a person and encouraging others to do the same.

7. Never give up

I think in any job there are hard moments but with children it's not always a consistent journey forwards. There are days where it feels I've fallen back months but that's when it's most important to maintain every system and keep going. And the next day or week it gets better and it feels worth it. It's always important for me to be reminded of this.

8. Recognizing my impact

It's easy to believe words and actions have only a fleeting impact but when I worked with children I knew that that was far from true. How I phrase how I'm feeling, how I speak, and the actions I take are seen. Some children might copy them, some might use them to place what is right and wrong, and regardless, if I handle things poorly it does send a message. It's something I still carry with me because I believe that everything everyone one does matters. Even if it seems super small at the time.

9. Have fun

Every job is hard. Every responsibility is hard. It's important to find and have fun. To play with kids, to apply what you're learning to something you care about, and to choose occupations you can find some joy in.

10. Work through the challenges

Always keep problem solving. I always believe there's a solution - even if it's long term and I am only the first step. Working with kids helped me realize that there was always a solution. Even if it may take days, weeks, or months, there's a solution and it's almost always worth it.

11. Be reliable

I feel like we all need a bit of consistency in our lives and I need to not only be reliable for myself but also for others. Being reliable is a huge part of trust and while I may struggle with it every once in awhile, working with children always helped me remember it's importance.

12. Find something to enjoy, always.

This goes along with #9 but it definitely deserves to be reiterated. It's always worth it to spend a little extra time learning what brings you joy and how to apply that to what you spend most of your time doing.

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