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Since I started working in a before/after school club, it has taught me so much. You would think since I’m the adult in the situation I would be teaching them things, but you’d be very, very wrong. I’m just hoping that some of the things I’ve learned can be useful to our HC gals and guys reading this!

Stop taking yourself so seriously

When you work with kids, you absolutely cannot take yourself seriously! For me personally, I absolutely hate sports with a passion; I have two left everything’s and I make a fool of myself every time. Thing is, if a kid comes up to you and asks you to play football or tag with them, you can’t exactly say no. So just get over yourself and kick the ball even if it goes in the completely wrong direction!

Learn to laugh at yourself

In any and all parts of your life you will makes mistakes and trip up (often literally), which is why you need to learn to laugh about it. If every time you do something stupid you get angry or cry, you’re going to end up letting that crap take over your life; believe me, I’ve been there, and it isn’t fun! I’m not saying that if you get embarrassed and upset that it isn’t valid because it 100% is, but in my personal experience, if you laugh it off, you forget about it 1000x quicker

Get out of your comfort zone every once in a while

There are a lot of things I’ve never done and a lot that make me uncomfortable which I’ve had to do at work. Whether it’s playing a game where I have no idea what the rules are, or being in charge of however many kids for messy play and trying to make sure none of them put anything in their mouths that shouldn’t be there; you’ve just got to get on with it. For me, it’s been great practice for later life of doing things I’m unsure of, things I’ve never done before and just trying to thrive outside of where I feel comfortable.

Fake it till you make it – confidence edition

When I walked in for my first couple shifts at work, I was absolutely crapping it like most people in a new job. The difference was, after a few shifts, I had to start being in charge of groups of children; these small but whole human beings that could break at any point. This is obviously a complete exaggeration; kids are surprisingly robust, but that is exactly what you think the first few times. All you’ve got to do is fake the confidence until it’s actually there! Your confidence will come with time, but until then just pretend – who’s going to know except you?

Children can be some of the best humans you will ever meet

Some people don’t really get on with kids and that’s fair enough, but for most if you sit down and chat to them for a while, you’ll learn how absolutely wholesome they can be. There have been days when I have felt like absolute crap, but when I walk into that place and just chat to some of the kids, they’ll have you laughing in 30 seconds flat. They can be funny and kind and cheeky and just the best little humans! Yeah, sometimes they have their bad days, but who doesn’t? I definitely do, but they will have you laughing in no time!

Working with kids isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and I get that, but hopefully a few of these things that I’ve learned along the way in my job (I don’t even want to call it that because it very rarely feels like a job) can help someone else get out of their own head and flourish as the magical human being they were always born to be!

Masters student at the University of Aberdeen!
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