As I pull away at 1 am with a big wad of cash in my hand, I reflect on my night spent babysitting instead of going out with my friends. Sure it’s awesome that I am now $120 richer, but the memories I made that night with a 10-year-old are worth so much more.
What we really do not realize when we interact with children is how much we mean to that child. When I was a young girl, I had a babysitter and older cousins who I believed were the coolest people in the world. I looked up to them for advice and relied on them to know what to do in tough situations. This is how the children we interact with think of us, along with having the mindset that you are simply the most awesome person ever. You may not realize it, but you are this child’s role model, even if they don’t want to show it.
Whether it is babysitting or hanging out with little cousins or siblings, there are 5 main life-lessons I have learned while interacting with children that I often overlook.
1. You should always know where the first aid kit is. Always. You never know when someone might trip over a curb, wipe out and scrape an elbow up.
2. There is no limit to your weirdness. You are encouraged to be as weird as you want. You are never too old to bring out the little kid in you, because there is nothing more important than creativity and originality. Think outside the box. Don’t be afraid to try new things. Go outside your comfort zone.
3. You now know how to cook a variety of delicious meals such as boxed Kraft macaroni and cheese and frozen dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets, and that Disney Channel is actually entertaining sometimes.
4. Patience is a virtue. Patience is a very, very, very, very hard virtue. The capacity to accept or tolerate delay and trouble will be needed in life, but also when you’re trying ever so desperately to help a child get their homework done.
5. You have no idea how much you mean to a child. In their eyes, you are simply the most awesome person ever. You are a role-model, so set a good example.