My job is fun because I get to work with kids on both ends of things. I get to do our infant and toddler lapsits with the youngest of our patrons, and then on the upper ends of things I do all the teen programs too. I like to think it keeps things lively and gives me a lot of variety in what I do day-to-day. But there are times when I think working with toddlers and working with teens really aren’t too different. I thought I’d share a few of the similarities I’ve discovered between these age groups.
- They can be loud, messy, and leave chaos in their wake.
- They might feel awkward and unstable in their bodies. Toddlers are just learning to walk and frequently tumble over. Teens, well everything is changing, of course it’s awkward!
- Their emotions are all over the place; they can be laughing one minute and sobbing or throwing a tantrum the next.
- They are pushing boundaries and exploring their limits. Toddlers are learning to say “NO!” and express themselves. Teens do almost the same thing when they try to see how much they can get away with.
- They are learning to be independent and want to do things themselves.
- They are expanding their horizons and learning about the world!
Working with these age groups really requires you to be flexible and embrace the chaos. I remember one of my first lapsit program and the terrifying feeling that things were slipping out of my control as toddlers wandered about the room and all my structured plans fell apart. I’ve gotten much better at adapting since then and I feel so lucky to be able to work with groups of kids who keep me on my toes. They are at such an exciting time of growth in their lives, it is marvelous to watch them learn and grow, even if it can be tumultuous at times!