How to Feel Young at Heart
In Daily Affirmations for Kids, I wrote about parents teaching your kids to train their inner voices to be positive. This builds self-assurance and confidence, amongst other things. Now, I’d like to turn the tables and focus on something that you can learn from your kids. It’s all about embracing your inner child to help you feel like a kid again.
You’re an adult. So, you know what a drag being an adult can be. Instead of the freedom and joy your kids enjoy, you are saddled down with structure, routine and responsibility.
Don’t get me wrong, I know those things have their place. Without them, bills wouldn’t be paid, meals wouldn’t be cooked and life would likely fall off the rails.
But, what about the moments in-between all of the responsibility. Could there be a way to inject a little joy and spontaneity into your lives?
I often sit in wonder watching my kid and I do one of 2 things… smile or shake my head. I smile because she amazes me. She is smart and curious and so silly. I shake my head because, she’s precocious and stubborn.
But, I love how she looks at life. I actually do remember when I was the same way.
I’m not sure when, why or how that part of me died off. But watching her reminds me that you can learn from your kids and rediscover the inner child within yourself.
If you’ve said to yourself, “I want to feel young again,” then read on!
Why Do We Lose Our Childlike Spirit
I wish I could pinpoint the time in my life when I stopped being optimistic and curious and spirited. When I was a child, I had no fear; I was confident and self-assured.
Could it be when you were “too old” to play with toys? I feel like that’s a pivotal time for kids. That messaging not only comes from adults, but your peers.
Once this happens, it’s all about what’s appropriate for the age. Suddenly a life that was built on embracing your imagination, becomes one of practicality. It’s not just the toys that stops, but jumping rope and rolling down grassy hills… everything about being youthful.
Adults that retain their inner child are deemed immature.
You get so involved in being an upstanding, responsible adult, that you don’t leave room for fun.
But, to what gain? What do we gain by letting that side of ourselves die off?
How to be a Kid Again
When you’re up to your neck in “adulting,” what do you to do be a kid again? Well, if you’re a parent, you likely have a real-life example running through your house right now!
Just watch kids and do what they do. I realize that it starts in the mind.
Kids have an incredible mindset. They are naturally happy, curious and fearless. Additionally, they are spontaneous and eager to learn. Kids are also so confident! They won’t hesitate to hold their ground to argue their point, but that’s more about being willful than righteous.
They also have a way of speaking their minds. I’m sure some parents cringe with how direct they can be, but it’s kind of refreshing. They say what they mean. Timing and delivery could be improved, but they aren’t ones to mince words.
Adults spend so much time trying to edit themselves. In working to choose just the right word, sometimes nothing is said at all. In some ways this is the right solution. But in others, your voice is not being heard.
Have you watched kids in action when meeting new people? They go right up to them and say, “Hi! I’m Emma!” They are bold! There’s no warming to the friendship after months and months… they’re just friends.
Can you imagine? Even hidden behind the veil of social media, I feel myself shrink from shyness/ insecurity. They are open and lead with kindness, while adults tend to be suspicious.
Of course kids are kids, right? Even while displaying all their amazing traits, they can be territorial or disruptive from time to time. But, I think if you average it out and watch how they behave over time, they are consistently far better people than we are.
What lessons can you learn from your kids?
Have More of This
Do Less of This
- Work: Yes, work is important, but remember what you’re working for.
- Enjoy the life you have while you have it to enjoy.
- Make Excuses: Adults are full of excuses why you can’t do something.
- Instead of finding a way out of it, find a way to it or through it.
- Come up with an alternative if needed.
- Complain: Like excuses, complaints can add up.
- Try to find solutions rather than allowing the bitterness to take hold of your spirit.
- Watch the News: There’s being informed, then there’s immersing yourself in all of the negativity that is swirling around these days.
- Keep Toxic People in Your Life: Young kids do a good job of editing negative friends from their lives.
- Adults can hold on to toxic people for far too long, allowing gaslighting and making excuses for them.
40 Activities to Feel Young Again
- Dance Like No One Is Watching
- Jump Rope
- Hula Hoop
- Chase butterflies
- Run In and Out of the Surf
- Race Paper Airplanes
- Fly a Kite
- Run Through the Sprinkler
- Go Down the Slide
- Bubbles: Blow, Chase & Pop
- Chew Bubblegum and Blow Bubbles
- Finger Paint
- Hide-n-Go Seek
- Play Tag
- Joust with Pool Noodles
- Get Your Face Painted
- Sled Down a Hill
- Have a Water Gun Battle
- Have a Silly String Fight
- Take Silly Selfies
- Jump in Puddles
- Dance in the Rain
- Have a Pillow Fight
- Take a Bubble Bath
- Build a Snowman
- Make Snow Angels
- Build an Igloo
- Have a Snowball Fight
- Chase Butterflies
- Build a Sandcastle
- Climb a Tree
- Dress in Lots of Color
- Wear Mismatched Socks
- Spin Around in Your Office Chair
- Say ‘Hi!’ to Random People You See
- Be a Superhero for the Day
- Eat Like a Kid
- Make a Blanket Fort in the House
I could go on, but this should give you a place to start. If you’re ready to Try Something New, take inspiration from your kids or the kids in your life.
Just think about how amused your kids will be seeing you acting more like them!
I can remember my dad playing video games with us, eons before it was cool for adults to play video games. Anyway, thinking about how his whole body moved when he was trying to get the characters to move was hilarious! A warm memory to this day.
Be a Kid Again Day
Embracing your inner child is so important that there’s a annual U.S. holiday reserved for it. ‘Be a Kid Again Day,’ takes place on July 8th every year.
On this date, adults are encouraged to free themselves from adult constraints and live in the moment! Pick something from the list above, or if you need some more ideas, check out the list from Kids Summer Activities.
Play with puppies, eat a PB&J with a glass of milk or buy a balloon just for fun. For once, do something that brings you joy and don’t worry about what other people think!
The great part of it is that, when you’re a parent, you have the perfect cover for indulging in “child-like” activities. It’s the perfect cover for people who do worry about how it might look.
Some of you might remember the ‘Friends’ episode when Phoebe goes running with Rachel? She’s looks like a wild woman with her arms flailing about, but for good reason. In her words, “Me, I’m more free. I run like I did when I was a kid, because it’s the only way that’s fun.”
Find something that you can do in your life to invite that freedom. If restraint is your normal, then be a kid again on July 8th.
What I wouldn’t give to be young again. Childhood is the shortest, freest, most joyful time of our lives! It’s when we charge head-first into all experiences. Since I can’t actually be young again, I’ll settle for feeling young again.
I think we can all agree that life is tough. Kids have the benefit of ignorance to color their perception. So, is it feasible for us to retain that youthful innocence as an adult? Probably not. We know too much.
But, would it hurt to tap into that part of ourselves again? I don’t think it would. As parents, when we see our children react in a wonderfully childlike way to something, we say, “Oh, I hope they never lose that.”
But, the truth is they will and we’ll be partially responsible. We will be the ones trying to prepare them for the adult world. In that world, there’s no room for them to be kids.
When you’re looking for a way to bring joy and adventure into your life, embracing your inner child can be the change you need.
I also think that you should be able to throw a toddler sized tantrum every now and then. I’m sure it has therapeutic benefits.
What are you going to do to feel like a kid again? How are you going to celebrate Be a Kid Again Day?
Do you invite joy and playfulness into your life? Tell me about the last time you felt like a kid again in the comments below.