Working with kids has been the most rewarding, yet frustrating job I have ever come across. I have learned a lot about how to be a good person and what are important things in life, as well as the weird shenanigans that kids seem to get into. I have definitely wondered if I was like them as a child and hope that I was not for the sake of my previous camp counselors. Although I want to pull my hair out sometimes, some kids have really made an impact on me and softened who I am as a person.
Like I said it has been rewarding and frustrating work so here as few things I have learned from working with kids.
Kids are easily distracted
Kids' attention span are, at max, five minutes long. So, whatever you are trying to discuss with them or do with them that is not what they want to do, keep it short, sweet and to the point. Or they have no hesitation in walking away from you. Just do not take it personally.
You cannot take yourself too seriously
Kids are weird. One time, I watched a kid eat a bug. Enough said, but I laughed a lot. Even though that is incredibly gross, it makes you realize that life is not that serious and sometimes you have to forget your own expectations. This also makes you a more interesting person, so what do you have to lose?
They are brutally honest, so grow a thick skin
Kids' filters are not fully developed probably until the age of 10. Until then, you have to learn that their opinions of you are not that important. Plus, they do not actually care about how you look, they will just tell you how you look to them.
You will be exhausted more than they are at the end of the day
If you do something and the kid you are hanging with enjoys it, you will be asked to do it over and over again. Once, I spun a kid around and after that, I was asked week, after week, after week... after week to do so again. And again. And again. I am pretty sure my biceps grew that summer from solely spinning them around.
You need to be creative
Because kids' attention span is so short, sometimes you have to keep them interested in creative and weird ways. Arts and crafts are great when you are trying to have some quiet time as well as keep them interested in something. Plus, if you ever have riddles or jokes, kids will actually listen to you.
You are going to lose patience, but keep your cool
Again, kids are weird and do weird things like eat bugs. Or they refuse to listen to you and instead make fart noises with their friends. As frustrating as it is when they do not listen to you, you have to keep your cool with them. In some cases, they do not understand their wrongs. Losing your patience with them is only going to make the issue worse rather than helping them, so just keep calm.
Kids look up to you no matter what
You are the role model who does not live with them. You are important to their development in a different way from their family. Watch your actions and words because kids will pick up on what you say or do. Sometimes you have no idea they heard you or saw you because they were watching silently. Kids always need a good role model in their life so they do not go down a bad path,
I may always work with kids because of everything I have learned. I have laughed a ton and kept my anger inside while kids continued to frustrate me. I can only say that those moments when kids tell you that "you are their favorite", it makes the job all worth it. Plus, what job can you get biceps without actually working out or test your patience?