Working in childcare, whether as a nanny, date night babysitter, or in a preschool will give you so much insight on life that you didn’t even realize you needed. Children will push your buttons, give you unreal migraines that need about 50 Advil to subdue, but they will change your life and teach you so many life lessons that could never be taught except by that of a two year old.
1. They will teach you patience you didn’t even know you had. They know how to push your buttons and will undoubtedly do it day after day, but you learn to stand strong and maintain patience the whole way through.
2. You will learn to not only accept chaos but to embrace it. There’s no sense of organization in a toddler classroom with toys, food, and children flying. Chaos will simply be accepted because there is a time and place for organization and there is a time and place for peace. You only get to choose one. Choose wisely.
3. You will truly learn to value what is important in life. A three year old once told me that his favorite place to attend was “The Basket” (A.K.A. Market Basket) because he liked to spend that time with his family. It puts your values into perspective and makes you truly question what is most important in life.
4. They will spark the inner child in you that needs to let out every once in while. Believe me (and the kids), life’s not as serious as you make it out to be. Live a little.
5. You will learn that how you act as a person speaks infinitely louder than what you say. How you act and what you do will be translated and copied by every single three year old in the classroom. You learn to become a better person because of it.
6. There are no secrets and it’s refreshing. Immensely different than real life, a child will not hold back against the truth whether you want to hear it or not.
7. You learn to laugh more often and love a little more. Nothing in life should be taken too seriously and laughing about the silliest things is truly the key to happiness. Preschoolers will gladly reinforce this thought in your mind.
8. You learn to try new things. It’s extremely difficult to convince a little boy to eat the broccoli on his plate if you would never do it. So there you are shoving a whole piece down your throat with a big grin.
9. They teach you to be fearless. For a child there is no doubt about anything in the world; they are so determined and passionate that it inspires courage within yourself as well.
10. You will learn to dream bigger than you ever have before. The sky is not the limit, it’s indefinitely higher than that. Their dreams are so big and so extravagant that you can’t help but hope it ends up being everything and more for them.
11. No one will love you as unconditionally as a child. To him, you are so much of his world and he loves every part of you. This is rare; cherish it.
12. And vise versa, these kids will teach you unconditional love. It’s an entirely different kind of love than what you’re used to and it’s the kind you probably won’t experience until you have children of your own.
Working in childcare truly changes your life. Even hundreds of miles away at college, I am worrying about my kids. I am thinking of that boy who’s mother just had twins and wondering how he is adjusting to life with siblings and I’m wondering if that little girl with the rocky home life needs my hugs and cuddles right now. There is truly no experience in the world quite the same as having 20 children light up when you walk into a room and run over to embrace you.
So, if you are ever given the experience to change the life of a child’s: take it. They will only change yours more.