What Can Your 5-Year-Old Teach You?
Parenthood is by no means easy. There are moments of pure joy, fuzzy cuddles and loads of laughs. Then there is a good dose of overwhelming pressure to discipline and educate our kids on the hows and whys of life. With such responsibilities weighing on your mind, you are probably wondering what can you possibly learn from your 5-year-old child. Isn't it the other way around?
Right now, you are probably thinking about how to keep your child occupied with a storybook or puzzle or playground as you watch them jump excitedly up and down on the couch. (The same couch you are sitting on, trying to drink your hot cuppa while glancing at this article!)
Hold on, I have a simple request. Later, I want you to give this article some thought—the ideal time would be after you finish their bedtime story tonight and watch them curl up and sleep contently. As you gaze at your’s child’s peaceful face and feel the same peace within you, that instant would probably be the right time to dwell on the following list of suggestions!
The Top 5 Qualities You Can Learn From Your 5-Year-Old
- Be Very Curious
- Be Stubborn
- Be Excited About New Things
- Show Empathy
- Be Creative and Silly
1. Be Very Curious
At this age, children talk constantly. You might be thinking, "Didn't I answer three questions in a row? How many more does she or he have in mind? How do I gently guide their attention away before I lose my sanity?" Granted, it is not easy to feed their curiosity constantly, but the focus here is their insatiable curiosity! You have to marvel at how they are never satisfied with the responses you give and want to know more. This thirst for knowledge is what you need to learn from them. Be curious enough to create this thirst and go on a quest to quench it.
Seek More Answers
Don’t take things at face value; look deeper for better answers. You will be amazed by how much better you cope with everyday situations. Another way is to trigger your thirst for learning. Is there a new sport you want to learn? Did you love something as a child but never got to pursue that dream? It is never too late to learn something new. Do your research and figure out where you can learn it from!
Don’t shy away from learning because you feel you are too old or that you don’t have the time to pencil it in your schedule; make the time. Age is never a deterrent to learning new things. Scientific studies highly recommend that our brains be engaged constantly to keep your brain cells buzzing and improve your memory and creativity. It also empowers your health against diseases like Alzheimer’s, for example!
Scientific studies highly recommend that our brains be engaged constantly to keep your brain cells buzzing and improve your memory and creativity. It also empowers your health against diseases like Alzheimer’s, for example!
2. Be Stubborn
If you are like me, you have often idly observed your child playing with toys, cardboard boxes and all kinds of objects around the house, which you sometimes grudgingly deem safe (but by no means less messy). Have you noticed how they sometimes struggle to figure out something that needs fixing? As you fight the urge to help, you see them keep at it stubbornly. They often try different ways to get what they want out of the toy or your kitchen utensils. As kids, we are usually very enthusiastic about fixing a problem without giving up easily. When life gets you down, you need to think like a 5-year-old—figure out alternate possibilities!
Don’t Give Up When You Are Up Against a Wall
Is there a problem you have always brushed under the carpet because it was just too complex or stressful to think about? Is there some insecurity plaguing you? Take a piece of paper and write down the problem. Figure out how this problem is bogging you down, how it is affecting your progress, and think about the possible solutions—even if they are out of your comfort zone. Put away that paper, give it a day or two, come back to it and dwell on each part until a promising answer shows up!
3. Be Excited About New Things
When you decide to take your child to a new neighbourhood shop, have you seen their excitement? Especially if it is a supermarket—they just love to help you shop and like to take the toddler trolley along! Why? They love the colours, the different sections, the assortment of things, the lanes to explore . . . as you read this, you might chuckle and ask, "Abitha, are you sure they're not just excited about those boxes of chocolates that are in plain sight?" Yes, sure, that is a compelling factor, too, but it is never just that!
Renew Your Zest for Life
As adults, sometimes we get absorbed by our routines. For that matter, a child loves his routine, too, and like us can get upset if it is disrupted. Yet they jump at the chance to try something new! Some of us cannot be bothered about venturing into an unfamiliar zone, be it a place or habit. Just to get out of your comfort zone, try to get unstuck from a routine or habit for awhile!
It could be that you cannot live without that cup of coffee, or maybe you love sleeping late—try something new in place of the old habit. Just for the sake of it, replace coffee time with lemon tea or wake up early just to see the sunrise! Try attending a music summit or a spiritual fest. (Note how it is not a spiritual summit or music fest anymore!) Embrace the newness of it.
As a first step, you could find out what is happening in your neighbourhood that matches your interests—it could be a trekking or rollerskating club or a group for cycling enthusiasts or a poetry reading club. Pick one activity where you can meet people who share your enthusiasm.
As adults, sometimes we get absorbed by our routines. For that matter, a child loves his routine, too, and like us can get upset if it is disrupted. Yet they jump at the chance to try something new!
4. Show Empathy
Remember those times when you stubbed your toe or bumped your shin into some furniture in the dark and yelped in pain? More often than not, it eventually fades away. Your child, however, might remember it much later and sometimes inquire quite sweetly if you're feeling better! It surprises you every time, doesn’t it? You expect to be their caretaker and not the other way around. Apart from treasuring those moments, you have the opportunity to learn from them also.
Put Yourself in Someone Else's Shoes
If you haven’t tried it before, try to put yourself in other people’s shoes, especially if they are loved ones. Show empathy and try to see two sides of the coin to help your relationships gain a better perspective. This often helps you observe a situation with clarity after an argument, for example.
5. Be Creative and Silly
When you are reading a bedtime story, sure enough, your child chimes in and adds a dose of creativity to the story or takes turns with you to come up with their creative additions. They grab words you use often and spin them into unique sentences which amuse you to no end. Also, have you noticed how they act out stuff or draw whatever they see or read?
At times, when you discuss their artwork with them, thinking you know exactly what it is, they surprise you once again with a different context to it, don’t they? It is a joy to see them use their imaginations during play or when they come up with wild narratives of their experiences, sometimes exaggerated a bit much.
Challenge Your Creativity
Infuse creativity into your everyday life. Try a new recipe that seems dauntingly creative, like a 10-layer cake. Sail paper boats with your child when it rains next, or try jumping in muddy puddles (with your boots like Peppa Pig does, of course). Whatever suits your fancy, be creative; be silly. What happens when you do this? This will seep into all other areas of your life, and you will start experiencing a perspective shift. Things you missed before may become obvious, and it will greatly aid your problem-solving at work or home.
Connect With Your 5-Year-Old Self
So what’s stopping you? Connect with the 5-year-old self that you once were, and bring back your mojo for life. Once you have a bit of this and a bit of that, watch your transformation and cherish it—take a break from the usual you. Reinvent yourself! Revel in change!
What do you love about your child the most?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Questions & Answers
© 2019 Abitha