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20 Things Only Children Understand

20 Things Only Children Understand

For almost all of us, it seems as though our childhood years are far behind us. As adults, certain words hold different meanings to us now than what they meant when we were kids.  For instance, MTV taught us “grown-ups” a crib is a cool house in addition to the baby bed we once slept in. The name Barney triggers the thought of the luxury department store Barney’s instead of a giant purple dinosaur.  The word playtime…well you can use your imagination on that one.

The point is, we’re not kids anymore.  However, that doesn’t mean we don’t still remember what it was like to be one.  For those readers who are parents, you’re the luckiest of the bunch because you get to live out your childhood again through your children, except you’re not the ones screaming this time (or maybe you are).

So while we may be adults(ish), there are still some traces of inner-children in all of us, or so we hope.  Here are 20 things children understand that we should do to.

1). They understand the fun in making a mess

Messy baby boy in high chair with bowl of spaghetti on head

    When we were kids, making a mess was our specialty. It’s not that much has changed in that regard, but nowadays it’s way less acceptable than it used to be back then.  I can imagine the look of disbelief on my roommates faces if I tracked mud into our apartment and decorated our walls with crayon drawings.  It would be priceless to say the least, but not-so-excitingly followed by hours of “clean-up time.”

    2). They know how to have fun by themselves

    Sure, adults know how to have fun by themselves, but way less so than kids. As an only child growing up, I didn’t have siblings to entertain me while my parents worked.  However, I can’t say I was ever bored even when I was alone. After all, imagination counted for a lot in our youth. You could say I had a pretty wild one at that too.

    3). They understand what it’s like to be shameless

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    baby 2

      Looking back on photos from my childhood, I often find myself horrified by some of the outfits my parents dressed me in.  From tapestry-style vests to ridiculous flowery hats, my sense of fashion back then would be laughable now.  Despite this fact, it didn’t phase me as a kid and likely doesn’t phase most kids today.  That is, of course, until they reach middle school. Parents, don’t let your children wear scratch and sniff t-shirts on their first day of sixth grade. Trust me, I would know.

      4).They accept everyone

      As a kid, the world is your friend.  Children have the amazing ability to see past looks and get straight to what matters.  As long as you’re willing to play with them, kids are pretty much down to hang out with anyone.  Nowadays, the percentage of people we’d actually hang out with is about a solid five percent out of everyone we know.

      5). They can sense someone’s true nature

      BabySuspicious

        While kids seem to love everyone, they’re pretty perceptive too.  They can tell when someone doesn’t have the best intentions and are quick to pick up on falseness.  We may underestimate it at times, but kids know what’s up especially when their single parents were dating jerks *cough cough* Dad.

        6). They speak their minds

        In the adult world, we often have to fake niceness to seem amicable in certain situations.  Kids, on the other hand, have no problem speaking their mind. They’re honest to a fault, which is a great and terrible beauty.  It’s one thing when a kid says they hate one of their Christmas gifts, but it’s another when it’s the one you gave them.  Those moments are just embarrassing.

        7). They know how to get what they want

        toy-drive-2

          With cuteness comes power.  Kids, in all their chubby-cheek charm, know how to exercise their adorableness to get what they want.  I mean, how can you deny a doe-eyed, giggly tiny person?  The answer is you can’t.

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          8). They realize the joy in the holiday season

          Oh boy, don’t even get me started on the holidays.  To be fair, I loved them as a kid.  Christmas was the best time of the year and the Easter Bunny might as well have been my idol.  These days though, I dread the crowds Christmas brings to the malls, get terrible anxiety over picking gifts, and the Easter Bunny seems more like a giant demonic mascot than a thing of wonder. If only the holidays weren’t ruled by Hallmark and awkward family get-togethers, I think I, and every other adult for that matter, would feel differently.

          9). They understand the magic of Disneyland

          disney-girl

            Disney ignites the same response as the holiday season for adults – anger, impatience, panic, disenchantment.  It’s sad, but so true.  Unless you are experiencing Disneyland with a child and feeling second-hand joy from their reaction, Disneyland isn’t as great as it seemed when we were kids.  Then again, I live for those Mickey-shaped PB & J’s. Those are magical.

            10). They know their needs

            I’m not saying adults don’t know their own bodily needs, but we definitely suppress them most the time.  From being hungry at work to waiting until we get home to go to the bathroom, adults exercise control over all their needs for better or worse.  However, kids are all about the “now.”  What I mean by that is when a kid has to go, they go. When a kid has to eat, they eat. They don’t wait around for their stomach to shrivel up or their bladders to explode. Kids just do, whether we like it or not.

            11). They understand what it’s like to be gross and adorable all at once

            baby 4

              Kids, even in their undeniable cuteness, can also be undeniably nasty. From noshing on boogers to drooling everywhere, children know how to make our skin crawl with their disgusting habits. That being said, there’s something weirdly adorable about a baby trying to eat your hair. I know I’d coo over that slobber any day.

              12.) They feel all the frustrations in being handed the kid’s menu every time

              When I was a kid, I hated being handed the kid’s menu at restaurants instead of the adult one.  Even when I was young, I always felt older than I was and wanted to be treated like it. Now, this may not be the case for all children, but I know at a certain point kids don’t want to be treated like kids anymore.  As long as they have an option, that’s all that matters.

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              13.) They know the horror of taking liquid and chewable medicine

              baby 5

                The thought makes me cringe even as an adult.  The day I was finally able to start taking swallow-able pills was one of the best days of my life (I’m exaggerating but you get the point). Though it’s been awhile since I’ve had to take liquid or chewable medicine, I feel for all those children out there who don’t have the option of pills just yet.  Hang in their kids. Just keep chasing it down with Sprite and hope it doesn’t come up later.

                14). They see everything in rose-colored glasses

                In my eyes, kids are the eternal optimists of the world, until of course they grow older.  Everything they see and touch and visit entrances them into a blissful state of wonder.  Theme parks, costumed people, clowns – things that would normally send feelings of discomfort through some of us makes their eyes light up like no other.  What I wouldn’t give to see everything like children do again…

                15). They understand innocence

                Child-Photography-by-Monikha-1

                  As much as we all hate to admit it, there’s a sense of innocence lost when one becomes an adult.  While many of us try to keep our innocence about us, it’s incredibly difficult to do so in this day and age.  When surrounded by children though, I’d say a portion of our innocence returns in maintaining theirs.

                  16). They understand pure love

                  Not to go all sex-ed on everyone, but the idea of pure love pretty much tanked after puberty hit.  Unless you’re abstinent by choice (if you are, I commend you highly), the adult version of love, for the most part, involves mood lighting and romantic dinners followed by “dessert.”  When you’re a kid though, girls have cooties and boys are gross.  The birds and the bees don’t exist for these kiddies and that’s the way it should be.

                  17). They know what it’s like to be scolded

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                  discipline-for-child1

                    Okay, so to be fair, adults and children alike get scolded all the time.  The only difference is in the way we’re scolded now versus how we used to be scolded as children.  When we were kids, our parents put us in time out, spanked us, and told us “no” several times over.  As adults, our parents say I told you so, our bosses give us warnings for mistakes made on projects, and our romantic partners just yell at us to get their point across.  So it’s essentially the same, but I think I prefer the less passive-aggressive punishments I received as a kid.

                    18). They aren’t afraid to show weakness

                    Something about growing up forces us to develop a thicker skin.  If we trip, we get up and laugh it off.  If we’re rejected, we buy a bottle of wine.  But if kids trip, they cry; and if they get rejected, they’ll cry twice as hard in front of the one they liked.  It’s terrible to say, but adults are afraid of showing their weaknesses and for good reason.  Though I’d have to say, I value vulnerability over restraint any day.

                    19). They understand how to make people smile

                    Child-smiling

                      How can you not smile when looking at a child?  All they have to do is take one look at you and you’re done for.  And those giggles they make, don’t even get me started.  I’m smiling just thinking about it.

                      20). They know what it’s like to be a tiny person that everyone loves

                      It’s hard not to love a child, especially after all the points made above, and they know it too.  They can tell in your smile, in the way you hold them, and kiss their cheeks.  They know we love them, but they also love us too.  After all, it’s our smile that makes them smile, our hugs that warm their hearts, and our kisses that let them know they’re never unloved when we’re around.

                      Featured photo credit: Happy Days/Lana via flic.kr

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                      Last Updated on April 11, 2019

                      How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

                      How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

                      Possessing strong communication skills will help you in every phase of your life. This is especially true in the workplace.

                      I have personally worked with several leaders who were masters of communication. A few were wonderful speakers who could tell a great story and get everyone in the room engaged. Those of us in attendance would walk away feeling inspired and eager to help with what came next. Others were very skilled at sharing a clear direction and job expectations.

                      I knew exactly what was expected of me and how to achieve my goals. This was the foundation of an energized and vibrant role I was in. What I have found is strong communication skills are incredibly helpful and sometimes critical in how well we perform at work.

                      Here we will take a look at how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

                      How Communication Skills Help Your Success

                      Strong communication skills pave the way for success in many ways. Let’s look at a few of the big ones.

                      Create a Positive Experience

                      Here are two examples of how well developed communication skills helps create a positive experience:

                      When I first moved to the city I now live in, I began a job search. Prior to my first live interview, I was told an address to go to. Upon arriving at the address provided, I drove around and around attempting to find the location. After 15 minutes of circling and looking for the address, I finally grabbed a parking spot and set out on foot.

                      What I discovered was the address was actually down an alley and only had the number over the door. No sign for the actual company. The person that gave me those very unclear directions provided a bad experience for me.

                      Had they communicated the directions to get there in a clear manner, my experience would have been much better. Instead the entire experience started off poorly and colored the entire meeting.

                      As a recruiter, I frequently provide potential candidates with information about a job I’m speaking to them about. In order to do this, I also provide a picture of the overall company, the group they might be joining, and how their role fits in and impacts the entire company.

                      Time and time again I have been told by candidates that I have provided the clearest picture of a company and role they have ever heard. They have a positive experience when I clearly communicate to them. Even when the position does not work out for them, often times they will want to stay in touch with me due to the open communication and beneficial experience they had during the interviewing process.

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                      Strong communication skills will provide a positive experience in virtually any interaction you have with someone.

                      Help Leadership Skills

                      It’s certainly a skill all its own to be able to lead others.

                      Being a mentor and guiding others towards success is a major hallmark of great leaders. Another characteristic of effective leaders is the ability to communicate clearly.

                      As I referenced above, having a leader who can plainly articulate the company’s mission and direction goes a really long way towards being the Captain of the boat that others want to follow. It’s like saying “here’s our destination and this is how we are going to get there” in a way that everyone can get on board with.

                      Another critical component of everyone helping to sail the boat in the right direction is knowing what your portion is all about. How are you helping the boat move towards its destination in the manner than is consistent with the leaders’ vision?

                      If you have a boss or a manager that can show you what it takes for not only you to be successful, but also how your performance helps the company’s success then you’ve got a winner. A boss with superior communication skills.

                      Build Better Teams

                      Most of us work in teams of some sort or another. During the course of my career, I have led teams up to 80 and also been an individual contributor.

                      In my individual contributor roles, I have been part of a larger team. Even if you are in business for yourself, you have to interact with others in one manner or another.

                      If you have strong communication skills, it helps to build better teams. This is true whether you are in an IT department with 100 other fellow programmers or if you own your own business and have customers or vendors you communicate with.

                      When you showcase your robust ability to communicate well with others while interacting with them, you are building a better team.

                      Now let’s jump in to how to improve communication skills to help you pave the way for your workplace success.

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                      How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

                      There are many tips, tricks, and techniques to improve communication skills. I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much information, so let’s focus on the things that will provide the biggest return on your time investment.

                      Most of these tips will be fairly easy to become aware of but will take time and effort to implement. So let’s go!

                      1. Listen

                      Ever heard the saying you have two ears and one mouth for a reason? If you haven’t, then here’s the reason:

                      Being a good listener is half the equation to being a good communicator.

                      People who have the ability to really listen to someone can then actually answer questions in a meaningful way. If you don’t make the effort to actively listen, then you are really doing yourself and the other person a disservice in the communication department.

                      Know that person who is chomping at the bit to open his or her mouth the second you stop talking? Don’t be that person. They haven’t listened to at least 1/2 of what you’ve said. Therefore the words that spill out of their mouth are going to be about 1/2 relevant to what you just said.

                      Listen to someone completely and be comfortable with short periods of silence. Work on your listening skills first and foremost.

                      2. Know Your Audience

                      Knowing your audience is another critical component to having strong communication skills. The way you interact with your manager should be different than how you interact with your kids. This isn’t to say you need to be a different person with everyone you interact with. Far from it.

                      Here is a good way to think about it:

                      Imagine using your the same choice of words and body language you use with your spouse while interacting with your boss. That puts things in a graphic light!

                      You want to ensure you are using the type of communication most relevant to your audience.

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                      3. Minimize

                      I have lunch with a business associate about 3 times a year. We’ve been talking for several years now about putting a business deal together.

                      He is one of those people that simply overwhelms others with a lot of words. Sometimes when I ask him a question, I get buried beneath such an avalanche of words that I’m more confused than when I asked the question. Needless to say this is most likely a large portion of why we never put the deal together.

                      Don’t be like my lunch business associate. The goal of talking to or communicating with someone is to share actual information. The goal is not to confuse someone, it’s to provide clarity in many cases.

                      State what needs to be stated as succinctly as possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t have some pleasant conversation about the weather too.

                      The point is to not create such an onslaught of words and information that the other person walks away more confused than when they started.

                      4. Over Communicate

                      So this probably sounds completely counter intuitive to what I just wrote about minimizing your communication. It seems like it might be but it’s not.

                      What I mean by over communicating is ensuring that the other person understands the important parts of what you are sharing with them. This can be done simply yet effectively. Here’s a good example:

                      Most companies have open enrollment for benefits for the employees in the fall. The company I work for has open enrollment from November 1 to 15. The benefits department will send out a communication to all employees around October 1st, letting them know open enrollment is right around the corner and any major changes that year. There’s also a phone number and email for people to contact them with any questions.

                      Two weeks later, we all get a follow up email with basically the same information. We get a 3rd communication the week before open enrollment and another one 1 day before it starts.

                      Finally we get 2 emails during enrollment reminding us when open enrollment ends.

                      There’s minimal information, it’s more of a reminder. This is effective over communication.

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                      5. Body Language

                      The final critical component to how to improve communication skills for workplace success is body language. This is something most of us have heard about before but, a reminder is probably a good idea.

                      When I am in a meeting with someone I am comfortable with, I tend to kind of slouch down in my chair and cross my arms. When I catch myself doing this, I sit up straight and uncross my arms. I remember that crossing arms can many times be interpreted as a sign of disagreement or conflict.

                      In general, the best rule of thumb is to work towards having open body language whenever possible at work. This means relaxing your posture, not crossing your arms, and looking people in the eye when speaking with them.

                      When you are speaking in front of others, stand up straight and speak in a clear voice. This will convey confidence in your words.

                      Conclusion

                      Possessing strong communication skills will help you in many facets of your life and most certainly in the workplace.

                      Good communication helps create better teams, positive experiences with those we interact with, and are critical for leadership.

                      There are numerous tactics and techniques to be used to improve communication skills. Here we’ve reviewed how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

                      Now go communicate your way to success.

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                      Featured photo credit: HIVAN ARVIZU via unsplash.com

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