The age of 0-6 years in children is as full of charm and wonder as it is of exhaustion and irritation for the parents and adults dealing with this age group. The day is full of rushing to finish mundane chores and getting the children to do things like finish their tasks, eat their food, leave their play and get ready to go out, come out of their reverie and go have a bath. The list can go on!
Yet, it is interesting to note the very behaviours which are so daunting to us can actually teach us volumes. If we were to closely observe them, these children have so many traits that adults are trying hard to get back into their lives. Let’s look at four nuggets of wisdom we can gain from these tiny children.
Being in the moment: Children are so completely caught up with what they are doing at the moment. It could be playing outdoors, colouring, stacking blocks etc. They completely lose track of time. It’s almost like they don’t have any sense of before and after. As adults, we are advised to get back into to moment instead of allowing our minds to be dragged in a million different directions. It’s a mindful and conscious way of living. We are told it will reduce our stress and keep us relaxed and healthy.
Seeing wonder in everything: A smooth pebble, sunlight glinting on the water, the thrill of puddles, a rainbow, the jewel like pomegranate fruit, soap bubbles in the bath… the list is endless. Children will see wonder in everything. They will stop and stare, touch and feel and revel in the wonder of what’s in front of them. As we grow older, we lose this sense of absolute wonder. What does it take for us to be spell bound and catch our breath in delight? What would help us to recapture that joy?
Not a morsel more: Children have the innate wisdom to eat just the right amount. They will not overeat even by “one last bite” if we let them be. If allowed to self-regulate they have good understanding of how to recognise hunger, enjoy food and eat how much their body needs. Interference with this process has made us grow into adults who have stopped listening to our bodies and are battling with weight and health issues. Force feeding and insisting on the one last bite could end up being costlier than we can imagine. We could learn from children to be more in tune with our bodies.
Try and try again: We observe toddlers trying relentlessly to walk, balance and climb stairs. We can see older children stacking tall blocks repeatedly despite it falling innumerable times. These tasks may seem meaningless to us when we want to get them to do something else, but it’s hard to ignore their intense concentration and spirit of not giving up. What a learning for us! The challenge of persevering with stacking the block to form a tower takes different forms as we grow in life. Do we adults have that determined relentless spirit to keep trying?
The day with our young children can get tiring. It takes a lot from us to keep the rhythm and routine of the day. In some corner of our mind, if we can remember the beauty in this chaos, if we could value those very qualities which make our life difficult , maybe our children will grow to be adults still keeping these nuggets intact.
Author: Mrinalini Banerjea is a certified parent educator with Parenting Matters, an organization which empowers parents to build deeper connection in families.