Guest Post // Kid Talk

Hello LCA readers! I'm Jess, a 20-year-old student and blogger living in the San Francisco Bay Area. You can find me over at

Foreign Room

, where I talk about my latest travels, my love for iced coffee, creative living, personal style, and daily adventures in life.

I'm also an aunt to a pretty big gaggle of munchkins and am a nanny to some awesome kiddos, so I was definitely excited when Abby asked me to write a post around my experiences with that. I clearly love kids enough to want to spend every day with one set or another, so being a good role model is something that has become an important part of my life.

Today I wanted to share a handful of tips with you to guide you in being someone to look up to in a little person's life and some inside secrets to help make your relationship run a little smoother.

+ Be mindful of what you say and how you say it.

In my experience, kids absorb and remember almost

everything

 you say (except when it comes to things you want them to do, of course hehe), so it is especially important to think about what you say before you say it. You just never know when it could come back to haunt you! Also,

how

 you say something is almost just as important as

what

 you say. Always try to speak with kindness and in a way that lets them understand your thinking.

+ Always listen intently and sincerely to what they are saying.

Sometimes it is difficult to pull yourself away from what you are doing or to not let your mind wander while listening to a kid talk to you, but doing your best to listen to them with a sincere heart is one of the most important things you can do for them. This quote by Catherine M. Wallace really says it all:

"Listen earnestly to anything your children want to tell you, no matter what. If you don't listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are little, they won't tell you the big stuff when they are big, because to them all of it has always been big stuff."

+ Try to take an interest in the things that they are interested in.

Sure, you may not care about what Rainbow Loom crafts they can make or what each of their Transformer guys can do, but these are the things that interest them and it would truly mean the world to their little souls if they could do these things with you too. Showing interest in these little things allows you to build a special bond with them and to gain their trust, as well as shows them that they are important to "big people."

+ Do your best to be patient and fair.

Patience is definitely something that is needed to spend long lengths of time with kids and it can be tricky (& exhausting) to maintain. In the end, though, patience will get you further than frustration and will make your life easier. Fairness is also important because kids tend to remember how you handled a situation with another kid and will expect the same consideration. They will have no problem calling you out on this discrepancy, too!

+ Do your best to be the kind of person they would be proud of.

Give every situation and obstacle all you have. Be courteous and kind to others. Be smart and responsible. Be sincere and compassionate. In the end, all you can do is be the best you that you can be, and if you do that, a child will look past all of your flaws and love you for

you

.

But most of all, take the time to show them the love, kindness, support, and respect that you hope they will show others in their life.

Having a relationship with a child can sometimes be intimidating because of the pressure and responsibility that comes with it, but developing and maintaining a closeness with one can be such a rewarding experience. There is nothing like seeing all your hard work and teaching reflected in them, and being able to watch them grow into great people.

Though I am not planning on becoming a parent anytime in the near future, I know that these things I have learned along the way through my time as an aunt and nanny will greatly benefit me when I do decide to have children. Being a role model to a kid isn't always easy, but I know that Abby and Seth are going to be such wonderful parents to baby William, and I can't wait to see them grow as a family :)