We do a fair amount of teaching our children, but the truth is, they teach us just as much – about all kinds of things explains Terence Mentor, aka Afrodaddy.

Parenting comes with many tasks. Feeding, cleaning and desperately trying not to lose your patience are the first things that come to mind, but few are as important as teaching.

We teach our kids how to eat and bath and tie their shoelaces. We teach them how to ride a bike and brush their teeth and how to say “Please” and “Thank you”. We even, often indirectly, teach them how to cope with the world.

And yet, despite the role of teaching falling squarely on our shoulders, we can actually learn much from our kids … if we are willing.

Dirt = fun

Apparently my boys don’t head outside with the specific purpose to cover themselves in sand and soil, but they manage to achieve that anyway. Why? Because throwing dirt over yourself is actually pretty cool.

Also, what is the point of having all these couch cushions if you can’t throw them on the ground and use them as a wrestling area?

Sure, the hassle of cleaning up afterwards falls squarely on our shoulders, but I think parents would have a lot more fun if we stopped thinking about the tidying up that has to happen afterwards.

Sleep isn’t fun – unless you’re doing it

My two tend to fight sleep so much that you think it is the worst thing to do. But then when you try to wake them up, there is always a fight for a few more minutes. It’s the only thing that they want to do at that point.

Peppa Pig episodes require deep analysis

This must be the lesson here. Why else would they insist on watching the same episode over, and over and over again? They are definitely working on an in-depth critique on the Peppa Pig world, right?

I have to keep telling myself this to maintain my sanity.

Have your person

If they are in a new place, or aren’t feeling too sure of themselves, my boys have the perfect coping strategy: cling to Daddy or Mommy, and don’t let go until you are certain of your surroundings. Sure, this often means my jeans have almost been pulled down in the middle of a conversation with another parent at a playdate, but it seems like my boys feel pretty safe!

Simple things can be interesting

My youngest is particularly good at this. A stick can very easily become a most precious possession. I’ve seen a pile of sand entertain him for hours. And that’s weird, because his dad becomes impatient with the five-second wait to skip an ad on YouTube.

Open emotions are a release

Why hold back on your emotions, when you can let them out and then quickly go back to playing? This especially applies to my eldest, who can let loose a tirade of yelling and tears and then after a hug or two can go back to giggles and kisses. He gets all the ugly stuff out as soon as possible. I’d love to be able to do that!

Craziness is the best

Run around in the rain. Dance like a mad person. Start laughing for no reason. Make up new words and look confused when everyone around has no idea what you are talking about.

These are just some of the ways my boys let out their crazy, and they have the most fun doing it! The great thing about being this kind of crazy is that it is completely inclusive ‒ everyone is welcome to join in. In fact, the more the merrier.

Terence Mentor – or Afrodaddy – is a blogger and the father of two boys, Liam, and Eli. Terence blogs at https://www.afrodaddyonline.com/

Photo Credit: Jessica van Rensburg, @FoxandtheHare

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