5 Reasons We Should All Act More Like Kids


As an actress and writer living in New York City, I spend a lot of time with children. This isn’t because I’ve booked a ton of Gerber commercials or like to take my “think time” on the swing set at Tompkins Square Park, but because babysitting is currently the closest thing I have to a real job. Take it from an expert: when kids aren’t too busy pooping themselves or testing your personal tolerance levels for noise, they’re actually pretty cool people. In fact, I would venture to say there are a few key things about them us “adults” should try to replicate.

They give their parents all the affection they deserve.

On a regular basis from the ages of 4 to 11, I used to scream “DADDY DADDY DADDY!!!“ at the top of my lungs and then tackle my father to the ground. Compared to my younger self, I am now such a dick. I realize wild banshee screaming and head-on attacks may be semi-inappropriate at this point, but that’s no excuse for my current “Oh hey Dad, didn’t see you there” attitude. Why do we all have to act like such nonchalant brats to the people who raised us? I don’t know about you, but I was a loud baby, a stubborn child, and then a total raging jerk from the ages of 11 to 16. Rather than acting all cool-casual to our parents in a weak attempt to prove we don’t need them, it may be more sensible to start making amends for the poor behavior we showed them in our formative years.

Self-consciousness eludes them.

I once babysat a kid who got bored of watching Spongebob and decided to “practice his old Italian mobster accent” instead. He proceeded to do the most pristine Al Pacino impression I’ve ever seen, and he doesn’t even know who Al Pacino is. The lesson here: it’s amazing what you can get done when you don’t care about your self-image.

They have an awesome relationships with food.

If you asked a kid what a calorie was, he or she would probably guess it was a new planet or a dinosaur discovered on the west coast. If you were to introduce him or her to the concept of “getting some exercise,” the kid’s mind would immediately translate your words to “what I do on a daily basis anyway.” I realize it’s a bit ridiculous to compare my dietary habits to that of a child’s, but I can’t help but admire the way they eat when they’re hungry, stop when they’re full, and never make the obscenely poor choice to spend a night out drinking their weight in margaritas. And don’t even get me started on the brand of child who “just won’t eat.” I can only imagine how drastically different my physique would be if my parents had to coax me into chewing and swallowing. “Sydney, finish your serving of toast, would you? For the love of God, you’re withering away.” These are the kinds of circumstances that I daydream about. That and meeting a burrito the size of Kim Kardashian’s left butt cheek.

They always tell the truth.

Recently, a five-year-old alerted me to the fact that I have some hair above my lip. While I was embarrassed at first, I ultimately felt profoundly grateful. I mean, even my best friend in the whole entire world would never tell me I had hair above my lip, and here was a five-year-old unabashedly announcing the variety of things she saw on my face. I’m not saying we should all start calling one another out on our zits or widow’s peaks or stretch marks or what have you, but would it kill us to be a little less tactful? I want to know if I have something on my face. The older I get, the more I find polite conversation beautiful but boring. (By the way, I still haven’t done anything about my lip. Sorry for face-partying.)

They fully commit to everything they do.

Until you’ve gotten down on your knees and played house, school, or (awkwardly enough) war with a child, you can’t even imagine the raw, unbridled commitment they put forth in acting out these activities. Words to the wise: if a little girl is playing “mom” and you’re her “daughter,” you better fake-eat the plastic vegetables she gave you for “dinner” or there will be hell to pay. Similarly, if you’re a “soldier” and have been “shot,” a half-hearted uttering of “oh noooo!” won’t cut it. Get down on the ground, hold your chest, and palpitate for a realistic amount of time until your eyes glaze over. If we all approached adult things like “making money” and “maintaining relationships” with the kind of gusto kids do in “playing Mom” and “killing the enemy,” every single one of us would be rich and happy.

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