I’m 22. I have no desire to have children of my own any time soon. And before I started coaching I had little experience with kids. I’ve been coaching for almost a full year now, and it is certainly a learning process. You learn about kids, and you learn about yourself. With that being said, here are a few things I’ve learned since I started coaching – and I hope you can relate!
1. How strong your immune system is:
As soon as cold and flu season hits, the kids are sick. Now if you think 6 year olds have the sense not to put their fingers in their noses and their mouths, and then usually on you, you’d be wrong. You can live on Emergen-C but when you coach multiple classes of kids anywhere from age three and up a day, well, lets just say the odds are stacked against you.
I was actually pretty proud of my immune system this fall during round one of sick-gate – I only got a cold once! Then January happened. Worst sore throat I’ve had in…maybe ever. I felt like a truck hit me. Then…I lost my voice. Like completely. I literally could not make a sound. This had never happened to me before and let me tell you, you do not realize how much you talk (even to the cat, when you’re home alone) until you cannot do it for several days.
2. How to be strict in your very nicest voice:
Coaching voice is a very real thing, and it is several octaves higher than your normal voice. Now, if you get mad at one of your classes – because they weren’t listening, because they were being unsafe, etc – you still must use coaching voice. Giving a group of young kids an important talk about listening and safety in a near falsetto is a practiced art form.
3. How many ways you can say “butt” – without actually saying “butt”.
When you work with kids, saying “butt” is kind of frowned upon. Simultaneously, though, you need to be able to tell them to squeeze their butts on a regular basis (is this just a thing when you coach gymnastics? Maybe this isn’t universal). So, you learn allll the other ways to say “butt”. Bottom, bum, booty, bumcheeeks, rump, buns…oh yeah. It happens.
4. Kids say the damndest things:
Okay so you’ve probably (definitely) heard that one before. But it’s the truth. In maybe my first month of coaching, a kid asked me if there were dead bodies in the foam pit. One of the girls I coach regularly tells me stories about her hamster that has no teeth. I’ve heard “I like to listen to people’s conversations when I walk by,” “my cat ate my tight muscles,” and this article is not long enough for things preschoolers say. Basically, kids are funny.
5. Working with kids is something everyone should experience:
Whether nor not you want kids of your own in the future, the things you learn are invaluable. You learn patience, understanding, and how to make your rules and stick to them. You also learn to appreciate the little things that make kids, kids. Whether it’s a group of four year olds giving you a hug in the middle of class, a kid who just looks excited to see you when them come to class, or just something they say that makes you laugh, it is a challenge and a learning experience on a daily basis.
Honestly, do I love it every day? No. But do I appreciate the experience and the things it has taught and continues to teach me? Undoubtedly.