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Learning from Kids: How to Connect with Your Inner Child

Vector illustration of three swirly figures holding handsAs adults we generally think that children learn from us in a variety of ways. That notion is certainly right because children see everything we do, and absorb all of these life lessons about how to behave, (hopefully like a decent human being) and even think in this world by observing us on a daily basis. Recent research has emerged which proves that even our emotional responses as parents trigger a visceral reaction in our children’s responses, and subsequently their emotions are heightened through their mirror neurons, “mirroring” or mimicking adults responses.

That being said, as much as children learn from us and look up to us as they navigate the world, there is so much that we can learn from kids, and in general from children of all ages, especially those that are on the younger side. Read on to discover your inner kid, and tap into that energy to appreciate everything you have got.

  1. Kids do not hold grudges — they let go and forgive very easily. Adults bottle everything up which can contribute to a whole host of problems.
  2. Kids listen to their emotions. Most adults deny them.
  3. Kids have no filters. They say what is genuinely on their minds.
  4. Kids are for the most part pretty straightforward, and shy away from convolution.
  5. Kids are curious about the world, and why things are the way they are. They are also curious about other people. In fact, they are curious about everything around them. Have you lost your sense of curiosity?
  6. Kids love to be outside and explore their surroundings.
  7. Kids are resilient. Research shows that children are generally resilient in the face of stressors. Learn to embrace this sense of resiliency in ways that you feel comfortable with.
  8. Kids like moving around, and not being idle. Being sedentary is not in their vocabulary.
  9. Kids love nature. When was the last time you explored nature, and truly heard the birds sing?
  10. Kids explore everything. They are courageous, and aren’t afraid of failure.
  11. Kids laugh at the silliest things-sometimes it’s at nothing at all. When was the last time you laughed, particularly at something that wasn’t funny?
  12. Kids seek out friendships, and crave social attachments on an ongoing basis.
  13. Kids are eager to try new things, so they are never quite bored. Still employing the same routine day in and day out, and afraid to incorporate any positive change, however small?
  14. Kids notice the little things that we as adults have forgotten to pay attention to, until of course, something happens to remind us.
  15. Kids are honest. Adults, at times, have a hard time confronting reality and sometimes as a result, choose to engage in some form of escapism.
  16. Kids are intuitive and perceptive, as they tap into their instincts quite naturally. Psychological research shows it is quite rational to think with our gut. Nothing paradoxical about that.
  17. Kids are ready to start the day with enthusiasm and vigor. Every day is looked at as another opportunity worth exploring.
  18. Kids play. When was the last time you played as an adult? When was the last time you improvised at something, or created new games to play out of boredom? It is hard for adults to embrace plain old fashioned boredom, given the ‘busyness’ of today’s life. It’s ok to be bored sometimes, and more importantly it’s cognitively beneficial.
  19. Kids live in and enjoy the present moment without thinking about what’s next on their plate. When was the last time you slowed down, and truly focused on what you were actually doing? Multi tasking is overrated, and truly hurts your chance at focus, clarity and productivity.
  20. Kids appreciate the little things in life, and even without formal expression at a very young age, they intuitively learn the art of cultivating gratitude. When was the last time you expressed genuine gratitude to someone?
  21. Kids appreciate simplicity in so many ways. Adults tend to overcomplicate things that should be quite simple.

I am sure there are many more ways we can learn from children on a daily basis, whether you have your own, or simply observe others. If you spend time cultivating your inner child, you just might recapture some of that lost magic that has been dulled inside of you throughout the years, or as time dragged on. Tapping into your inner child-self might just be how to start the New Year off right. So go, and explore just a few ideas on this list, and see how you might begin to envision the world anew, and with a fresh pair of innocent eyes. You just might see the world differently.

Learning from Kids: How to Connect with Your Inner Child


Emily Waters

Emily Waters earned her Master's degree in industrial psychology with an emphasis in human relations. She possesses keen insight into the field of applied psychology, organizational development, motivation, and stress, the latter of which is ubiquitous in the workplace environment and in one’s personal life. One of her academic passions is the understanding of human nature and illness as it pertains to the mind and body. Prior to obtaining her degree, she worked in both the corporate and nonprofit sectors. Presently, she teaches a variety of psychology courses both in public and private universities.


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APA Reference
Waters, E. (2018). Learning from Kids: How to Connect with Your Inner Child. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 15, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/blog/learning-from-kids-how-to-connect-with-your-inner-child/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 1 Feb 2017)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.