Usually, people associate small children with temper tantrums and whining.  When this happens, someone invariably says “they don’t know any better”.  It’s true, in a way – they do not have the emotional maturity to understand cause and effect, complex feelings or Mommy’s finances.  I have a four-year-old and a two-year-old.  There are many tantrums in my house.  I have to take a deep breath and remind myself that this is a phase they will grow out of when they are approximately eight to ten years of age (and that there will be a brief period of peace before they become teenagers).  Generally, I remind myself that “they don’t know better”

The thing we do not often stop to consider, however, is that there are areas where children know better than we do.  It’s true!  There is so much that we can learn from our kids!  Here are some things that  iam beginning to pick up from the wee ones:

1. Enjoy the little things!  You know, while my daughter does spend an awful lot of time fretting because her stuffed animals are not perfectly lined up or the cheese stick is not absolutely symmetrical, she also spends a large portion of her time being very happy about small things.  Tonight she was thrilled that I was going to blow dry her hair before bed. For me, this was something necessary since I hadn’t found the time to get her a bath earlier in the day.  For her, it was a magical experience to watch her hair blow around in the hot air. She had been just as excited to take a bath.

2. It’s okay to ask for some attention!  We spend most of every day dealing with the things that Must Get Done, and we rarely take a moment to ask others for a hug or support.  While i do not like it when my daughter acts out for attention, I think it is great when she leaps into my arms and says “Mommy! I need a hug!” – and as adults, we forget that this is okay.

3. There is always something new to learn! I get asked “what is this?” and “why” quite often.  For us, it can be annoying because we know the answers…but little kids do not know, and the wonder and awe that they have for the world around them is an amazing thing!  I try to imagine myself on an Archaeological expedition or a trip to the future – I would be the same way” “Oooh! What is that!?  How is it used? Can I have one!?”

4. You don’t need to have the latest flashy thing! My son taught us this when he received his Hanukkah and birthday gifts.  He enjoyed the gifts.  He said thank you.  He then spent an hour running around with a gift bag over his shoulder collecting wooden blocks from the floor and porting them around the house. His light-up alphabet toy is something he really likes, but if we had just given him the gift bag, he would still have been happy.

5. Determination is key! My son wants very much to do everything himself: brush his teeth, change his clothes, wash his hair, etc. He will sit and try again and again and again until he perfects something.  I often give up on something halfway through the second try.

I think we can all learn from the examples of small children, even while they are learning from our examples.

Jenifer, 34, New York