Concerning Kids – What adults can learn from playing children


Christian Life

Anna Gnatyshyna, CNE.news

Children play on a playground. Often they do not feel any hesitation to start a conversation with other kids and play together. Photo AFP, Liselotte Sabroe

Making friends seems as natural to children as breathing. They have a magical ability to build connections with others that adults often lack. Where did we lose our friend-making skills?

I was enjoying coffee with my friends when in several minutes we were surrounded by children. My friends’ two-year-old daughter could not speak yet, she was only looking at other kids and smiling. And soon she managed to attract other kids to our coffee table. I wish I could attract people like that.

Kids are curious and open. Unlike adults who tend to approach social interactions with caution or scepticism, children are eager to explore and to connect. They share their toys, start a conversation, or just silently smile. That behaviour is infectious.


The next day I was travelling, and I had a guided tour. I’ve spent 8 hours in a touristic minivan with 10 strangers. We travelled together and enjoyed the sightseeing. However, nobody cared to introduce themselves, so we all acted as total strangers. I enjoyed my privacy, but I felt that it was quite weird to spend 8 hours with people who managed to ignore each other. Kids would behave totally differently.

Kids lack the inhibition. It seems that they have no barriers of social expectations or fear of rejection. They are excited to meet others and are open to quickly evolving friendships. It is so easy to become a friend to a kid, you just need to talk, to smile, to play together. Adults are more suspicious and do not as quickly build good connections.

Another factor that facilitates children's ability to make friends is their natural empathy and intuition. They are quick to extend a hand of friendship to those in need, or to invite others to join the game. They start the communication with inbuilt trust. Adults have a mutual distrust until the opposite is proven.


Kids love playing and their play is often the universal language through which friendships are formed. Children use play as a means of communication, cooperation and connection. But the most important aspect of childhood friendship is its simplicity. Kids don’t look at social status, appearance, or background. Their friendship is based on shared interests.

Kids are also social doors openers. I find it amazing that whenever I am with a kid in public, I connect with other people quick and naturally, because the child breaks the ice anywhere, she goes.

Sure, you can say it is a baby’s magic because most people love babies and little kids. But we as adults also used to be those children who are open and simple. We lost something during our growth. I don’t minimize bad life experiences and mean people who hurt us. However, every time I watch kids, I get jealous of their excitement and desire to connect with others. Maybe someday I will regain the skill of uninhibited connection with people and genuine interest in sharing my life with many new others.



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