Common sense says it’s a parent’s job to teach their children about the world. While that may be true for the more practical things like teaching them to speak, teaching them manners or showing them how to eat with a knife and fork, on a more profound level our children have a lot more to teach us than the other way around. After all, someone who hasn’t yet been moulded into what society expects of them is an excellent illustration of our true nature. With that in mind, here are 5 things a 3 year old can teach you about life:
From taking ages to complete a simple task like putting on shoes, to asking the same question repeatedly, to half-opening every banana on the bunch until they’ve found the one that meets their exacting standards, parenting a small child is a true test of patience. While this can be frustrating and even maddening at times, it’s also a great illustrator of how set in our ways we can be as adults, and how little patience we have if things aren’t done the way we want them.
Having a sense of humour.
Most toddlers have a taste for high comedy – especially of the absurd or slapstick variety. Three year olds are wonderful examples for how not to take life too seriously, and that almost every situation has a funny side. As adults, we’re too serious with ourselves most of the time; a young person in our midst is a great antidote to this, and helps ease our anxiety and stress.
The joy of life.
It’s a well-researched fact that young children laugh many more times a day than adults. Somewhere along the way as we grow up, we forget how to be naturally happy in everyday life. A little person’s joy at even the smallest things – eating a cupcake, walking on a pile of crunchy leaves, splashing in puddles – is the perfect reminder of the simple joy of life that we often seem to ignore or miss completely.
For an adult, a walk around the block may take a matter of minutes. But with a 3 year old in tow, the trip will take much longer. They’ll want to stop and sniff the roses, inspect the bugs on the road, the cracks in the pavement, and a multitude of other details along the way. Spending time with a 3 year old is an excellent way to learn to stop rushing, and to not live in the past or the future but rather to appreciate present moment just as it is right now.
Not to sweat the small stuff.
Do you like owning nice things, looking after them lovingly and storing them neatly? You’ll learn to detach yourself from your belongings if you live with a 3 year old. Your electric toothbrush? Perfect as a toilet scrubber. Your hairdryer? Ideal as a drill used outside in dirt and sand. And how about your expensive nail polish and make up? They’re just begging to be used as fancy dress up props. Once you’ve got over the frustration this inevitably brings, a 3 year old is a great reminder that it’s just “stuff”, after all.
If you’re used to a life that’s ordered, free of chaos, and highly controlled, you’re in for a big shock. A typical 3 year old is unpredictable, irrational, active and messy – all things that don’t fit in with a measured existence. But this is probably the best lesson of all: that letting go means you’ll more flexible and adaptable, and far more likely to live a joyful, contented life.
Parenting a 3 year old can at times be the most frustrating thing you’ll ever do. But with all the lessons and self-examination you’ll be forced to do along the way, it will also be the most rewarding for your self-growth. So, accept where you are, buckle up and try and enjoy the ride!
DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.