Young children are amazing. But, of course, you probably already know that if you’re reading this. Children amaze me all the time. I think that’s why I chose and continue to choose this profession even amongst all the trials and tribulations child care providers have faced, especially the last two years. The days are hard, but the smiles and laughs I get to witness make it worthwhile.
Since children are so wonderful, I think we should choose to live every day more like them. Children are brave, curious, confident, passionate, and free. They exude confidence and I love this about them. They don’t think they are soccer stars; they know they are. Kids are the first to show you how fast they are and how high they can jump. They are the first to offer to help you with a task. They can always one up you but in the most innocent way. I think we need to find more of this within ourselves, too. Try something new, be a “friend helper” to someone who isn’t even a friend, run fast, jump high, smile big, and laugh hard!
Children do not worry about bills and vacations plans or planning out their day tomorrow. If anything, they are constantly excited by the thought of tomorrow or an upcoming vacation. They tend not to worry but rather look forward with excitement. As adults, we have to worry about bills and making dinner, yes. But, do we have to do it as much as we do? My current director, through teaching the children, also taught me about taking a mindful minute. I won’t go into all the research here, but I believe mindfulness can prove effective in coping with mental health struggles. I know it will allow us to slow down and notice what’s around us. Once we train our brains to slow down a bit, I think we begin to notice and appreciate the small things.
I think we often get so busy with the day to day, especially those of you that run a program, that we forget to just sit and be. To sit with the kids and enjoy life. To watch them enjoy life. We need to do this more! This will bring us back to the joy of taking care of young children and supporting them in their growth and learning. I challenge you to find one free moment every week, or even every day if you are able to stop. Stop cleaning, stop planning, stop bustling, and just be. Watch the kids you are with and notice what they are doing and what they are saying. Watch them as they plan, learn, and discover. Watch their little fingers explore an object. Watch their facial expressions as they listen to a story or tell a story! Really focus on how they react to problems with their peers and how they show and then cope with their big emotions. Go back to the beauty of early childhood and let it guide you once again.
For more information on mindfulness, check out this article from Zero to Three.
Meghan is a born and raised Montanan, mama to a rambunctious toddler and a bonus mom to two amazing preteens. She recently earned a Master's degree in Early Childhood Education. In addition to her position as an Early Childhood Specialist at the University of Montana, Meghan enjoys a variety of odd mix of jobs; nannying, creating and selling travel play dough kits, making essential oil blends for kids, providing families with child guidance on Facebook and Instagram, and now providing ideas and tips to child care providers in partnership with Raise Montana! Meghan is also a content contributor for 406 Families, a site dedicated to connecting families to local events and resources.