17 Things Kids Can Teach You

5 minute read

By John Hardy

Children handle themselves differently than adults, offering pure honesty, love, and curiosity. There is much we can learn from their behavior. Start a search today to explore 17 things kids can teach us about how to live a better life.

As much as we love kids, most of us are too busy with our responsibilities to recognize what they intuitively understand. Luckily, for generations, psychologists have been studying how children can motivate and inspire us in our adult lives.

1. Spontaneity

Some say it’s a perk of being carefree but whatever it is, the fact of kid life is that kids do not plan or organize what they do. No lists. No prioritizing. They live spontaneously, taking in every uncertain moment for all it’s worth.

Of course it’s absurd to suggest that adults shouldn’t do proper time management or planning. It’s just that spontaneity is so appealing!

2. Don’t Let a Lack of Qualifications Deter You

It’s all relative, but kids never seem to get hung up about a lack of qualifications. Kids seem to instinctively feel that qualifications are man-made restrictions intended to keep adults from doing what they want to do.

If they have never done something before, they test the waters… and then just do it. If they fail, they brush themselves off and take another stab at it until they get it right.

3. Exercise as Fun

Some call it “playing” or “activities.” One way or another, kids exercise all the time. And it’s hardly ever thought about as “working out” or “exercise” — or even as healthy. It’s just fun – plain and simple.

They chase each other. They do sports. They climb trees, bike and they play tag. Somewhere along the way, adults have forgotten that exercise can also be fun. The trick is finding an activity we really enjoy.

4. Keep an Open Mind

Adults have accumulated too many facts, opinions and habits to cloud their judgement and weigh them down. In some situations this can be a good thing, but in others, it can result in bad decisions and procrastination.

A child’s mind is wide open to all the world has to offer. Kids make most of their judgments strictly based on spontaneity, gut-feel and first-hand experience.

5. Mistakes = Opportunities

Unlike adults, kids do not beat themselves up or sweat the small stuff when they make mistakes. They don’t know mistakes are something to be ashamed of until someone tells them so.

They transform mistakes into new experiences, try again and, eventually, find ways of getting it right.

6. Use Imagination

Most adults have found themselves amazed by how kids manage to have so much fun with a big, empty box or a simple stick. Kids don’t need a bunch of fancy toys to have fun. Put a kid in a puddle and watch them splash. Give a kid permission to chase the cat around the house for a couple minutes, and the giggles will be contagious. Or just tickle a kid until he is beet red from laughter.

Almost instinctively, kids rev-up their imagination to discover new things about themselves, their situation at the moment and find ways to make it interesting and fun. Sociologists have pointed out that imagination drives both our dreams and our curiosity.

7. Improvise!

Kids rarely get bogged down about hesitation and fear of doing something wrong or doing something new. They usually dive head first into every situation, leaping over hurdles and improvising their approach when they must.

Sometimes adults overanalyze and worry that they may not get it right. Things happen! Getting it 100 percent right the first time may not happen.

8. Learning by Imitation

Kids watch, intensely. Even when adults don’t think they’re watching. They typically mimic the actions that work and ignore the ones that don’t.

As adults grow older, they tend to become less observant and rely on instructions and directions to do things. Adults don’t get as inspired by just observing others.

9. Play!

Just simple, good ole fashioned playing. It comes so naturally to kids, mostly because playtime is fun-time, and kids love to have fun.

As people get older, they forget how great it feels to just let loose and play around. It stops occurring to adults that there doesn’t always have to be a reason, a greater purpose, for doing things.

10. Laugh

Laugh every day. Iconic comedian Charlie Chaplin once said, “A day without laughter is a day wasted.”

Children have the beautiful ability to find joy all around them. Just watch the humor a child can find in the most unlikely sight. And most people are familiar with what researchers say about the health value of laughter in all stages of life.

11. Go Ahead! Be Creative!

Kids wonderfully lunge into most everything they do. They rarely stop to ask for instructions. They much prefer figuring it out for themselves.

Kids lose themselves in a creative project for hours at a time. Drawing. Playing with clay. Building a sandcastle with meticulous attention to detail.

For some reason, as people get older, creative activities don’t come naturally. They aren’t valued as worthwhile. Kids consistently happen on innovative, new and creative ways to do things. Maybe it’s because they don’t have to worry about somebody asking them for explanations, or “how/why did you do that?”

12. Expressing Feelings

Kids are usually blunt, open and sometimes wild about expressing their feelings. Their faces usually tell it all. Adults rarely have to guess whether kids are happy, sad, and angry or just don’t care.

Adults tend to mask or hide their feelings from others, making it much more difficult to read their reaction and determine how they really feel. Researchers warn that openly expressing feelings also makes communication easier and maintains sincerity in life.

13. Every Day Is a Fresh Start

Sometimes adults get jealous, remembering back to school days, when the end the day always felt so final, so finished. The break between June and September seemed like a lifetime.

This is actually true – because when we are young, every day feels like an eternity. A new day means new opportunities to make new friends, explore new adventures, and learn new things. Also, kids don’t carry baggage (or grudges) from one day to the next. They start fresh, always.

14. Start Every Day With Enthusiasm

It’s well-known that kids hit the ground running every morning. And it’s all about sheer, genuine and unashamed enthusiasm!  They are excited to be alive and absolutely revved and pumped-up about any new experiences that pop-up.

Lesson to learn: no day will ever be exactly like today.  Don’t waste it!

15. Ask Lots of Questions

Why? How? Are we there yet?”

When kids are not involved in an activity, they are asking an endless barrage of questions. Yes, it can get annoying and not every question has an answer. But many do.

Asking questions is probably the second-best way to learn new things, behind firsthand experience. Following curiosity expands horizons and often leads people to surprising personal discoveries. It may be a cliché but adults have to remember: they may never get an answer to a question they didn’t ask.

16. Call It Like It Is

Adults often mask, deny or hide their feelings. Kids are open and brutally honest. They call every shot just like they see it, the moment it happens.

Open honesty and honest communication builds character and healthy relationships. Healthy personal relationships are one of the keys to happiness.  Sure, life gets busier as people get older, but busy schedules shouldn’t keep adults from the people they care about most. Unfortunately, for adults, on many occasions and in various situations, it’s also easier said than done.

17. Be Present and Aware

Be fully aware of your surroundings. Most adults are not. It’s not just about being more generally observant, either. Kids take in every aspect of their surroundings, down to the finest, pickiest detail.

Look around! Psychologists emphasize that adults must be more aware about what’s going on around them so they can take the appropriate action.

John Hardy