There is nothing quite like spending time with kids to remind you just how old you are. There is no getting away from it, the enthusiasm, energy and all round non-stop ‘busy-ness’ that kids bring into our lives is a challenge to anyone with a few years on the clock. Taking care of toddler is hard work but manageable if you’re a fit and healthy 30-year-old but it can be a whole lot tougher if you’re a little longer in the tooth.
But it’s not just the energy levels that youngsters can counterpoint in our day-to-day lives. It’s worth remembering that in many respects they are radically different physical and mental types. The whole point of childhood is that it is nature’s way of allowing us to learn about what we can and can’t do.
Picking up new skills and absorbing new information is what young brains are programmed to do. There is certainly no shame in admitting that - however much accumulated knowledge and experience we may have stored up over the years - we won’t be able to compete when it comes to getting to grips with something new.
Dealing with a new toy or a new electronic device of one sort or another can quickly make you feel like you may be losing your faculties. But don’t panic if you find yourself having to hand the controls over to a five-year-old. They are meant to be quicker on the uptake than we are. It’s not a surrender if you find yourself second best in that setting, it’s just nature’s way.
And the same contrast holds true in other areas as well. Children’s hearing, for example, is attuned to a different set of frequencies than that of adults. They don’t just hear more than us, they hear differently as well. If you find they are picking up sounds that you are not and you have been prompted to worry that you may have issues with your hearing, don’t be alarmed. You might as well be comparing yourself with a completely different type of creature.
A good trick is to keep one step ahead of the kids. They like nothing better than to be the one who can find the missing piece of the jigsaw (metaphorically speaking) and show themselves to be useful in a grown-up way. Armed with that insight you have the means to manage what can be a wonderfully rewarding partnership.
The great thing about kids is that, for all they may be a little self-centred at times (again, that’s just the way they’re wired, there’s no need to take it personally). They are entirely adaptable. If you need a time out after 15 minutes of hectic activity, they won’t hold it against you. And if you do find yourself getting tired and possibly even a little ratty, don’t beat yourself up about it. Learn to go with the flow, because, you know what? That’s exactly what the kids will do, irrespective of how you feel about it. And that, like everything else we’ve discussed here, is just how it is meant to be.
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