From the expert: 5 ways to tap into your inner childMar 05, 2023
From our resident scholar Susie Beghin, early childhood educator and author
As an educator, parent, and daycare owner, I feel blessed to be around children every day. Being with children has allowed me to learn how to tap into my own inner child. I have seen firsthand how important it is to my relationship with them. Children tend to engage with me and seek me out when I’m connected to my inner child.
What is the inner child?
The inner child lives inside you. It can best be described as “child-like,” innocent, energetic and free from worry. It can’t be taken away, but it can hide. It’s like a light shining within you that can’t burn out, but it can be temporarily dimmed.
Why tap into your inner child?
There are a couple of important reasons to tap into your inner child.
One of the main reasons you will want to do this is to feel more joy and energy in your life. Have you ever noticed that children seem to be full of joy most of the time? They tend to smile and laugh more than adults. They are full of energy!
The second reason is, as a parent, it will strengthen your relationship with your children. In the book Learn to Play: The Four Pillars Learning System, I explain the importance of tapping into your inner child when you are engaging in play. It will allow you to influence and educate them in the best way possible.
And finally, it's good for your mental health. When you tap into your inner child, it feels good!
Here are five way you can tap into your own inner child.
Spend time with children in play
Children naturally will bring out your inner child when you are playing with them. Resist the urge to direct the play and become a play partner instead. In the book, Learn to Play: The Four Pillars Learning System, I provide five key principles to effectively engage with your child and become the play partner that your child truly needs.
We can learn how to be curious by observing children. They naturally have a sense of wonder and curiosity about everything. They are learning about their world and there are many new things to learn. Children are like scientists that are always testing a hypothesis. They are curious about how things work. We need to see the world in the same way—to look at the world with the eyes of a child.
Being mindful means focusing on the present moment without any judgement. Children are naturally mindful and have a heightened sense of awareness. They tend not to worry about the past or future and are mostly focused on what is happening in the present moment. We can learn a lot from children in this regard. Many of our worries and problems arise when we are too focused on the past or the future. We forget to enjoy the present moment, which is full of opportunities and joy.
We live in a world with a lot of distractions and mobile phones have had a huge impact on us. I am guilty of spending too much time looking at my phone and scrolling through social media instead of enjoying the scenery on a drive. I have sat at the dinner table answering a message on my phone instead of engaging in conversation with the people sitting beside me. These same phones that are supposed to connect us to the world, often tend to disconnect us—emotionally. When we look up from our phones, we notice the world around us in a new way. We can’t engage with that world if we are looking down. Our inner child needs us to look up.
Do something new
One of the best ways to challenge yourself to tap into your inner child is to try something new. Learn a new language, visit a new destination or try out a new craft. Whatever you do, make sure you haven’t done it before. This will challenge your brain to make new connections the same way a child does when they learn something new.
Once you learn to tap into your inner child, you will be well equipped to engage with you kids and build the relationship. The spark is within you, you just need to let it shine!
Learn to Play: The Four Pillars Learning System, a must-read for all parent-to-be or parents with young children! In the book, Susie shares the importance of play and her unique “four pillars” teaching method as a tool for learning at home. For each pillar of learning, there are strategies on how to build skills as well as sample free-play and intentional play activities – by age group, from infants to preschoolers.
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