I love teaching kids here at the nZone! It is really amazing to see them succeed in so many ways, from doing their first push up correctly, learning how to open up to connect with others, and gaining the confidence to become more of themselves.
For those of you who know me, you know that I don’t have any children of my own (yet!) but wow have your children taught me SO much the past 3 years here at the nZone. And they make my life so much better for all the lessons they teach me. Here’s just a few that stand out most to me (I’m sure you can probably relate):
Patience… so… much… patience
I work a lot with children ages of 2 – 5 (we actually do breathing exercises and yoga together.. imagine that)! and one of the most important things I am continually learning more of is patience.. compassionate, ever consistent patience.
I’ve found a lot of times stress (either “bad” or “good” stress or even excitement) is sometimes misinterpreted as “misbehaving.” When in reality, it is a lot of energy that can be refocused into a fun learning experience. If we have the patience to let them learn at their pace and in their own way, we give them space to grow how they know how to grow best.
How to lovingly say no
This isn’t a news flash to you parents: sometimes the answer is no. One thing I’ve learned is HOW I say no is essential. I like to always empower the kids by giving them choices- what would you like to do given these choices? If they want to do something else, the answer is firmly and lovingly no. And despite any emotional reaction from them, standing my ground teaches them to say what they mean, and how to create healthy boundaries.
How to use our words
How often do we as adults not say how we feel, or say what we really want?
I see so often at the younger ages they haven’t learned how to fully communicate either! So we work on using our words. Saying how that made us feel, asking for what we want (and no we don’t always get it), so how we can still make light of the situation and find a positive outcome together?
How to let go
I mean this in two ways – letting go of the serious, responsible side and having fun. And letting go of how they turn out. We can’t control others, which includes these starry-eyed beautiful ones that sometimes turn into startling screamers out of nowhere. Trust me (as I’m sure you know), many children do not respond well to being told what to do or feeling “forced” what to do (note: this doesn’t mean they aren’t disciplined, they ARE told the expectations and consequences, are always given choices that empower them to choose). But at the end of the day, we do the best that we know how to do, which means letting go of any unrealistic expectations we have of ourselves as well.
Finally. How to show appreciation
At the end of the day, these kids.. no matter what age, are incredibly caring, thoughtful and will warm your heart for the whole week with one meaningful gesture. I love my surprise hugs, the big smiles when they see me, and the random “you’re awesome Miss Jennifer!” They are incredible examples to use to show those around us more kindness and open welcoming arms.
So, I think it’s important to sometimes step back and ask myself how I can use these lessons they have taught me:
- How can I have more patience today?
- How can I lovingly say no when I need to?
- How can I use my words in a kind and loving way to say what I want and how I feel?
- How can I let go of control over the situation, and embrace a little more playfulness?
- How can I show more appreciation (to myself and others) today?
And on the final note there, I want to also take a moment to thank YOU for trusting me with your little (and big) ones to teach them more – not only about fitness but about growing together.
– Jennifer Burns, nZone Kid’s Fitness Manager