The first reason spending time with kids is great is you get to do fun things. When was the last time you played a game of duck, duck, goose? Or read Captain Underpants? My friends and I often have the classic “childhood nostalgia” conversation. We stopping to watch little kids running wildly through a park, or happily eat sand on the beach will trigger this conversation. We then lament on how much easier things were “back then”, when the biggest challenge we faced was learning how to spell our names. After this we promise to do some “little kid things” together, to try to take a break from our oh so grown up lives and problems.
I remember one time my friend and I realized how much we missed drawing. So one day in the library at school we got out some paper and those smelly markers. We attempted to keep our heads high as while everyone else studied, we drew pictures that smelled like fruit. But the magic just did not occur, because we had forgotten a key ingredient to bringing back the feeling of childhood, a child. When you are with little kids, you not only get to participate in these activities, you get to do them free of embarrassment. When I am babysitting I can shamelessly scream as loud as I want on the monkey bars, perfect my Play Doh sculpture, get really into a game of Uno. Basically, spending time with little kids gives you an excuse to become a child yourself again, and enjoy all those activities, games, and books you have long since forgotten about.
Another perk of being around children is that they will find you ten times funnier than you actually are. Often times my immature and extremely weird sense of humor does not go over well with people my age, especially strangers. They tend to chuckle nervously while eyeing the room for someone else, anyone else, to talk to. Yet with children, as I impersonate an elephant, or speak in an exaggerated British accent, they erupt in laughter. Many a time, I have had to stop my antics for fear they will collapse from lack of oxygen. I am not bragging about my comedic abilities, but making the point that little kids find pretty much anything funny. If your friends have never considered you particularly witty, have no fear. Spend some time with 5 year olds and watch them literally wipe tears from their eyes as you make farting noises.
Now I’m not saying you should ditch your current group of friends for a bunch of first graders. I’m just saying that people shouldn’t always complain when forced to spend time with children. Next time you are at lunch with your mother, her friend, and her two children, look past their mismatched socks and striped leggings. Ask them about what they’re learning in school. Don’t be afraid to help them build houses out of the free sugar packets, and then blow them over. Simply hang out with them, because they really aren’t as different from you as you think.