Why we should embrace our inner child and 5 ways to do it

Anya Meyerowitz
·6-min read
Photo credit: Justin Lewis - Getty Images
Photo credit: Justin Lewis - Getty Images

From Red Online

During a year that has undoubtably aged us all, the need to embrace our inner child is all the more poignant. We stand to learn so much from children: their curious attitude to life, their fearlessness and their carefree attitude to life, and numerous other qualities that we can lose as the stresses of adulthood start to take over.

With bills to pay, money to save, errands to run and a life full of rules and responsibilities, it can be all too easy to forget the curiosity for life and zest for each day that we use to have.

But, that doesn't mean we can't reclaim those qualities. Getting back in touch with your inner child is a great way to relieve yourself from stress and to re-embrace the creativity and vitality that you had as a child, that you still have deep down.


'We get caught in the grown-up trap and forget to have fun, embracing your inner child will reconnect you with the contentment and simplicity that you once had as a kid,' explains Nicky Taylor, co-author of new book, Be More Kid.

'As adults we are always looking for the end destination of happiness; embracing your inner child will assist you to reconnect with finding contentment in the moment and relish life’s journey.'

As we are growing up we think that adults have all of the answers, what if it's actually the opposite? What if we need to unlearn the unhelpful habits we have learned as an adult and embrace our inner child in order to lead a meaningful and fulfilling life?

'We’ve all had the resources inside of us all along, not just to get us through tough times but to flourish,' encourages Nicky. 'We simply need to unlearn unhelpful habits we have picked up as adults and 'be more kid'.'

So, here are five ways to embrace your inner child, as researched by Nicky and her co-authors, Mark Taylor and Ed James.

5 ways to embrace your inner child:

1. Reconnect with Your Lost Dreams

Kids believe they can be anything they choose – they have no doubts that limit them, and the adults around them also encourage them to believe anything is possible.

Growing up, those dreams and possibilities start to fade and are replaced with ‘have to’s’ and ‘must do’s’. Those same people who once encouraged our dreams now tell us that we need to find something sensible to do that pays well or it isn’t possible to achieve, until we don’t even think about those dreams that we once had.

How to embrace your inner child:

Get back in touch with the dreams you had as a kid: what were they? What was important to you about those things you used to dream about? How can you recreate something similar as an adult?

If you wanted to be a ballerina and dancing is still important to you, why not go to classes?

Reconnect with that unwavering belief in yourself and your possibilities. Surround yourself with cheerleaders, the people who wholeheartedly believe in you.

2. Art & Science of Underthinking

Kids think in a very simplistic way. It doesn’t cross their mind that things might go wrong.

Obstacles simply don’t exist. If you explain why they can’t do something they will explain to you all of the ways that they can do it!

Adults do the opposite, believing their own reasons why they shouldn’t do something and if they push through those, they will often end up feeling guilty or imagining everything going wrong, which spoils their enjoyment.

Photo credit: Catherine Falls Commercial - Getty Images
Photo credit: Catherine Falls Commercial - Getty Images

How to embrace your inner child:

Retrain your mind to focus on everything going well. To do this: think about something specific that you have coming up, spend time imagining the scene fifteen minutes after the successful conclusion of that event. What will you see, hear, feel, be saying to yourself?

Every time you think about that event, remember that positive image – this is the only version you must imagine. Notice how positive and relaxed you now feel about that event, maybe even a little excited just like a child would be. It’s easy to embrace your inner child once you know how!

3. Be Persistent

Think about how persistent a child is when they want something. They keep repeating their request until they get what they want, and they don’t care how annoying they are!

As an adult, at best we ask for something once and if our request falls on deaf ears or we don’t get the outcome that we want, we don’t feel we can ask again.

How to embrace your inner child:

You don’t have to go to the extremes that a kid would, yet if something is important to you, adopt that kid-like determination in making it happen. Maybe look for a different approach, put yourself in the other person’s shoes and find a win-win that will be a positive outcome for both of you. It’s your life, you owe it to yourself to make it the best life that you can.

4. Play More

Kids are really inventive and can turn anything into a game. They love having fun and freely invite their new best friend round for a sleep over, even though they have only just met them.

In contrast, adults avoid doing tasks they don’t enjoy, rather than finding a way to enjoy them, and even procrastinate over doing the things they do get pleasure from.

Making new friends becomes a major hurdle and it’s even seen as suspicious if people are too friendly!

How to embrace your inner child:

Find creative ways to turn the tasks you don’t enjoy into a game or a competition, you will be amazed at how quickly you get them done when they are fun.

Take the opportunity to speak to new people wherever you go. Just be yourself and enjoy the conversation for what it is. You will be surprised at the interesting stories people have to tell. (It might be best to wait a while before you invite them round for a sleepover though!)

Photo credit: pliona - Getty Images
Photo credit: pliona - Getty Images

5. Contentment Not Happiness

Kids find enjoyment in the moment, becoming absorbed in what they are doing or what they are going to be doing next. They don’t think beyond that.

Adults look outside of themselves for happiness or feel they will be happy in the future when things change, perhaps when they have more money or can retire. In doing so, they completely miss the opportunity to be content in the moment.

How to embrace your inner child:

Keep your attention fully on what you are doing right now. Relish the experience of being in the moment, don’t wait to reach a destination. Instead, just enjoy the journey of life.

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