So many of us go into the parenting game thinking that it’s our job to teach our kids everything we know in the hopes that they will grow up into well-rounded humans. But what we often discover is that they are actually teaching us way more about ourselves, and life, than we realise.
Children have the wonderful ability to approach the world with an untainted mind. They are curious about discovery without the preconceived ideas, biases or fear of failure that can hold us back as adults.
Our generation has grown up with the answers to almost every question at the touch of a button, and we sometimes forget to look up at what is out there beyond our screens. Then you have kids and suddenly you’re responsible for introducing this little being to the world and for shaping the person they will become. It’s a lot of pressure. We all want to make sure we are raising our kids to be emotionally intelligent, resilient, confident and just generally just good people.
But sometimes you realise the lessons they are teaching you are just as important as the ones you are teaching them if we just stop long enough to notice them.
It’s ok to feel big emotions
Hell hath no fury like a toddler who didn’t get their way. These emotions are hard to be on the receiving end of, as children can feel the full gamut of emotions, often on a daily basis. This is something that toddlers eventually learn to regulate as their cognitive development matures. However, it seems that most of us end up too far in the other direction as we grow, and learn to deny or suppress those big feelings and emotions.
As adults, being able to accept uncomfortable emotions isn’t something that comes naturally. And thankfully most of us grown ups know that tantrums and screaming aren’t the way to process those emotions. But what we can take from our kids is to feel and sit with those emotions, and knowing that it’s ok to have a big old cry.
It’s how we process our feelings and work through them that our children will see and model themselves -- which will help them develop the skills to grow into emotionally confident and resilient adults.
The only limit is your imagination
We so often get caught up in our busy lives with routines, schedules and appointments (when we’re not stuck inside in lockdown, that is). We look at something and see what it is meant to be – rather than what it could be.
Somewhere along the way we lost the magic. But lucky for us, our kids see it everywhere. Through a child’s eyes the possibilities are endless; a tub of LEGO DUPLO can become a rocket ship blasting off into outer space or a jungle filled with wild animals.
Play is about so much more than just play. Play is the basis for which so much of our child’s cognitive and social development is formed. It is what helps our children assess risk, to accept and learn from failure and to help them formulate ideas and concepts in their mind. Play is where our children can hone their creativity and learn confidence, resilience and build the early foundations of emotional intelligence.
Imagine everything you could achieve in your life if you weren’t bound by rules, stereotypes and preconceived ideas of what is (and isn’t) possible…
You’ve just got to back yourself
Every day, we tell our kids how amazing they are, and that they can be or do anything they want. But we often don’t have our own backs. We question, we doubt, we lack confidence and we let fear get in the way.
However, our kids (whether we like it or not) are fearless when it comes to learning new things. From the moment they learn to walk it seems like they are into everything, climbing, running, jumping, sliding without a care in the world. And they won’t let anyone tell them they can’t do something.
If only we all had the confidence of a toddler wearing a superhero costume to the grocery store!
Find joy in the everyday
The first time you see your child discover something new is a truly special moment. When they see a plane flying through the sky, the crunch of the autumn leaves under their feet or tasting chocolate for the first time – over time we become desensitised by these things and take them for granted.
To rediscover this sense of childlike joy, take the time to stop and smell your coffee before you drink it. Stop and feel the warm sun on your skin as you bring the washing in, or walk on the grass with bare feet. Taking a moment to observe and absorb the environment as though you were seeing it for the first time can help you feel gratitude and find joy amongst the chaos.
Every day is a chance to start over
Yep, any parent will know that toddlers bound out of bed with energy to burn – while we stumble for the coffee machine, scroll mindlessly through Instagram, check emails and play over our to-do lists in our minds (and curse ourselves for not going to bed earlier…)
Toddlers live in the present moment, they don’t hold grudges, they forgive and forget and move on. Many of us grown-ups struggle with letting go of negative thoughts or feelings and carry them with us through life.
But if we can see each day as a fresh start with endless possibilities, imagine what we could achieve. To remember that even if we had a bad day, or we lost our cool or things didn’t go our way, that tomorrow is a new day.
Life with toddlers is never dull, that’s for sure. But as a parent you realise pretty quickly that some of the greatest lessons are the ones your children can teach you, especially in these early years. Then as our children grow and the world seeks to take that magic away from them, you can help them hang onto it with the lessons they taught you.
LEGO DUPLO is created to harness children's resilience, creativity and self-expression. Check out the full range here.