What I Learned At Daycare

What I Learned At Daycare

As a college student, daycare is a little different.
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For my first summer as a college student, my first summer back in Newnan after making Athens my home, I knew it was time to get serious. I couldn’t laze on the couch like I did during my high school days. It was time to get a serious, proper job. I couldn’t volunteer all the time; volunteering wasn’t going to pay student loans. A letter from the Humane Society wouldn’t count as payment for my rent. It was time to be something of an adult-ish creature.

Well, at least, that was the plan.

You see, the biggest issue I’d faced as a college student coming back home for the summer was that the majority of “summer jobs” were taken by high schoolers that lived here full-time. Any other job wasn’t hiring for just the summer, and many discovered that after the interview process. (I’d spent three hours in a Babies R Us waiting for an interview only to be told they were “highly impressed with me, but wouldn’t be hiring short-term.”) So my job search went on for much longer than I’d anticipated.

Finally, however, on May 30, the day before summer truly began (at least that’s what I told myself to make me feel better) I got a call. A local daycare wanted me to start tomorrow. I was ecstatic. To be honest I’d forgotten about that application entirely; I’d did it quite offhandedly and when asked for any actual qualifications for an early childhood education center, I figured I’d never get the job. But out of sheer luck my enthusiasm mixed with their desperate need for help and bam. I had a job.

Now when people think “summer job,” usually it’s a hand at a car wash, a clerk at a grocer, or maybe even a cushy office internship. Instead, I was drinking apple juice and watching Bubble Guppies. Definitely not the worst way to spend a summer. However, I didn’t expect to be as involved with the kids as I was. Or rather, I didn’t expect the kids to be so involved with me. My love for my summer job and my love for these kids has brought me some interesting wisdom that I’d like to share with you. So here are some life lessons given to me by children too young to read.

1. Stay positive in rough situations.

When you’re alone in a room with ten two year olds, every second can feel like a disaster waiting to happen. A kid gets hit, someone falls, someone takes another’s toy. While these are relatively small problems, in a child’s scope of mind, it’s like their entire world is exploding. As an adult, it can be hard to relate to that, as your frame of reference is infinitely bigger than theirs. But if a child was hit, all they needed was a hug and an apology, and it was as if nothing ever happened. There were no grudges held, no ill will, barely even a tear shed. The endless energy and enthusiasm of children never ceased to amaze me; after some of the worst days the kids still ran up to me before they left and gave me a hug, which felt better than any praise I could’ve gotten from my coworkers.

2. Snack time is the best time.

If you ever want a huge group of kids to sit down and shut up, hold up a box of graham crackers. It works like nothing else, which came to both my surprise and amusement during my first week on the job. Kids love snack time, and I think our obsession with health food and body image really removed our appreciation for a two-o’-clock Little Debbie cake. It made me think about how much these kids cherish even the smallest things, like snacks, and how we lose that sense of wonder and appreciation as we grow older. Trust me: you’re never too old for snack time.

3. APPRECIATE NAPS (I CANNOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH.)

As anyone over the age of fourteen will tell you, the number one thing they miss about elementary school/daycare was naptime. As we grow older, our responsibilities increase exponentially until the point that we’re lucky for a solid six hours of shut-eye. Even though these kids groan and complain when the sleep mats go out and the lights go off, they’ll be begging for them by the time they reach maturity. In adulthood, any opportunity for a nap is like a diamond in a pile of coal. So make sure to take every second of sleep that you can, as every other adult in the vicinity is spitting with envy. Also exhaustion. Lots of exhaustion.

4. Respect and appreciate the efforts of authority.

As a kid I remember absolutely loathing my daycare teacher; she made me wait an extra 30 minutes for lunch, she put me in the corner, and she constantly called my mom. 3-year-old me saw her as Evil Incarnate, my own personal hell demon. It never occurred to me that she did these things because I bit every kid within four feet of myself. I know getting reprimanded sucks; you feel a mix of shame, anger, annoyance, and patronization, which all ends in a hateful cocktail towards whoever’s cursed with punishing you. But make sure to take into account that they’re just doing their job. No, they probably don’t hate you. No, they probably don’t even care what you did. They just want to go through their generic “don’t do it again” speech and have you both move on with your day. So don’t be so hard on authority; they’re usually just doing it because they have to.

5. Don’t grow up so fast.

It makes me smile every day to see the happiness in these kids’ faces. Granted, sometimes I want to throw them over my knee and spank them silly, but even still. When I see the magnitude of their emotions, it makes my heart ache with nostalgia. The hurricane of tears over a bug bite. The genuine scream when a baby doll is dropped. The elation at the announcement of outside time. The sheer joy of that cry of “your mom/dad is here!” As we grow older we miss a lot of the little things in life, and take for granted things we see every day, such as our family, our friends, or the nice things we own. I appreciate nothing more from this summer than the opportunity to go back to my inner kid again and spend time relearning how to love life and appreciate the happiness that comes with waking up every morning. These kids may not know their colors, but they sure now how to live.

Cover Image Credit: http://cssdioceseofscranton.org/content/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Day-Care.jpg

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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To The High School Graduating Seniors

I know you're ready, but be ready.

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Seniors,

I am not going to say anything about senioritis because I was ready to get out of there and I'm sure you are too; however, in your last months living at home you should take advantage of the luxuries you will not have in a college dorm. The part of college seen in movies is great, the rest of it is incredibly inconvenient. It is better to come to terms with this While you still have plenty of time to prepare and enjoy yourself.

Perhaps one of the most annoying examples is the shower. Enjoy your hot, barefoot showers now because soon enough you will have no water pressure and a drain clogged with other people's hair. Enjoy touching your feet to the floor in the shower and the bathroom because though it seems weird, it's a small thing taken away from you in college when you have to wear shoes everywhere.

Enjoy your last summer with your friends. After this summer, any free time you take is a sacrifice. For example, if you want to go home for the summer after your freshman year and be with your friends, you have to sacrifice an internship. If you sacrifice an internship, you risk falling behind on your resume, and so on. I'm not saying you can't do that, but it is not an easy choice anymore.

Get organized. If you're like me you probably got good grades in high school by relying on your own mind. You think I can remember what I have to do for tomorrow. In college, it is much more difficult to live by memory. There are classes that only meet once or twice a week and meeting and appointments in between that are impossible to mentally keep straight. If you do not yet have an organizational system that works for you, get one.

I do not mean to sound pessimistic about school. College is great and you will meet a lot of people and make a lot of memories that will stick with you for most of your life. I'm just saying be ready.

-A freshman drowning in work

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