You all kill me! Children are only scary when they have a cold and sneeze in your eye - yes that's happened to me. Many of you tell me you can't work with children or don't know how to. Barring any restrictions of the law stating you can't work with children, you're probably the best person to work with children. 'Why?' you ask. Cause you'll avoid talking to them and oversharing. This is all tongue in cheek, so hang with me.
Us adults are know-it-alls. We like to strut our knowledge whenever possible - it seems children are the perfect little people to force our opinions and knowledge onto - except this is what we definitely shouldn't do. Your fear of children means you'll be hands-off and let them self-discover.
But Kisha, I love children and want to help them be creative contributing members of society.
All is not lost, you can still be a world changer by learning to do exactly what we ask of children:
- Keep your hands to yourself
- Ask questions
- Actively Listen
1. Keep your hands to yourself
I watched a person take the safety scissors out of a child's hands and start cutting his rocket out for him. I was enraged. I said nothing and watched while my inner child cried. Let children do it themselves. Unless you see that they are about to impale themselves or someone else, let them make mistakes. Their projects don't need to be perfect or even complete. Children don't see the risks and barriers us adults see. Experience and adult intervention create obstacles for children the next time they give it a go. Sorry for the rant. This experience is still too fresh.
2. Ask questions
This is by far my favourite part of working with children. They always surprise me and come up with the most creative and imaginative answers. When I want to intervene and bestow my knowledge on a little person, I try to form it in a question. I'll ask, "How are you going to attach your puppet to the stick? What can we use?" Instead of saying tape or glue, they create some crazy solutions that I would have never thought of. They're creative brains make fun of the most mundane tasks if you let them run with it!
3. Actively Listen
You asked the question, now listen. That's it. Make 'Ooo' and 'Ahhh' faces to show you're engaged and ask more questions to show your interested. This is the easiest job. Who knows, you may even be able to write a children's book from it.
This will get you bonus points. Take on the character the child assigns to you and go with it. Playing with children has been a game changer for me. It's helped me to be more creative and get over those boundaries we gain as adults. Who cares if we act a bit silly, dance and sing? No one. So get out there and play!