10 Make friends anywhere
For a person sometimes scared by their own closet door or the wolf in Red Riding Hood, the average kid is pretty fearless. At least when it comes to rejection or social embarrassment. A best friend can be made on the criteria that they’re in the same sandpit or ball pool. It is a degree of openness and innocent willing to be happy that parents could do well to emulate. Want to play catch with your neighbour and then sit on the step eating Smarties until somebody tells you it is bed time? Go ahead and ask, as they might just say yes.
9 Be inquisitive
Why is the floor hard? Why does sound make noise? Why is the sky blue in the day, but black at night? Why does Daddy always fall asleep in our playhouse? Why does Mummy lock herself in the toilet and eat cookies? A natural curiosity is ingrained in a child’s mind. Why don’t you have it anymore?
8 Don’t hide emotions
The adult world can probably do without hair-pulling tantrums over eating vegetables or exhausted meltdowns when we get tired. But a kid’s willingness to be vulnerable and freely communicate feelings is admirable. Hug somebody when you love them, tell somebody when they make you sad and always, always let your face show how impressed you are when a magician pulls a coin from behind your ear.
7 Don’t be shy
Want to feel special when you go out to a fancy restaurant? Then put on your sparkliest princess dress and work it. Like the feel of a cape when striding through the mall? Squeeze into your superhero costume. Reckon the dance floor would be a great place to slide on your knees? Slide on.
6 Negotiate hard
Be willing to go to extremes to get what you want. Don’t budge from your position, make strong demands and have a flair for the dramatic and you will boss the negotiation. For a kid, that usually means holding your breath until somebody removes the peas from their dinner plate. Learn their tactics and you could be big in business. We don’t negotiate with terrorists, but everyone negotiates with kids, right?
5 Expect to be rewarded
Why would you work for kind words and sentiment alone? You draw a good picture, then you should at least get a gold star. A trip to the candy store is just as welcome. Take this realisation of self-worth into adult life.
4 Don’t accept boredom
A life where you accept the mundane drudgery is no life at all. Be like a kid and keep your playful side alive. If you see boredom on the horizon, then loudly confront it and challenge those around you to be more entertaining. We don’t mean moping around saying how bored you are all the time – more along the lines of keeping your days busy and active.
3 Eat when you’re hungry
Don’t pick up a kid’s messy and fussy eating habits. That would be a disaster. But kids are in touch with their bodies. When they are hungry, they will eat. Knowing that all the running around and playing will burn off the calories is liberating. Instead of starving yourself on a fad diet, eat what and when you want to. Then stay healthy by dashing around after a ball in the park once in a while.
2 Dream big
As far as a child is concerned, anything is possible. If you put your mind to it, so a kid thinks, then a bed made from jelly and a full-time job playing videogames is just around the corner. Whatever your ambitions are (and the jelly bed videogame life seems good to us), don’t limit them to the mundane and obvious. Reach for the stars and thrive for the best.
1 Be forgiving
Best friend to worst enemy is a short distance in playground politics. It is delightful to see how the reverse happens as well. A child won’t hold grudges. It doesn’t matter how many times we steal their candy, let them down or force them to wander around malls when they want to go and play, they will always bounce back and start the next day full of optimism. You have to respect that.