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How to talk to a child

15 March
Posted by:
Michael Grose

I figured out a simple formula for talking to kids. It holds for adults too, but if you can do it with a child, you can do it with anyone. (The only difference is in the timing. You can hold an adult’s attention much longer than you can a child’s .......or can you?.)

But you can use the same type of voice, with the same pacing, and the same amount of colour and expression for both children and adults.

Here’s the winning formula for talking with a child or young person:

You need to be interesting. You can hold a child’s attention if you have something of interest to say, or say it in an interesting way. ‘How was your day?’ is not interesting. “You’ll never believe who I ran into today?” kind of perks up their interest.

TIP: It helps to reveal a little of your world, if you want them to reveal something of theirs......and make it interesting! So don’t be plain vanilla when you talk with kids. That’s boring! There are so many interesting flavours you can choose from.

You need to be interested. You can hold a child’s attention if you can talk about the stuff that they are interested in, but only if it’s done in a genuine way. Not one that talks down to or patronises them.

So what’s your child interested in right now? Who are their heroes? Who are they listening to?

I know a bloke who gave his teen son a copy of some music he overheard him listening to. His son upon hearing the same song on the radio said, “Hey dad, they’re playing our song.” That’s pretty nice.

But it only happened because this dad was interested in his son’s music, rather than just ignoring it or asking him to turn that &*%$ down!

TIP: Be interested in their world; ask them to show you what they are doing; ask them to show you how to set up a Facebook account (if the a teen); ask them to explain the game they playing or tell you about their friends. Just be interested.

So there you have it.

Be interesting and be interested and you’ll be in the best possible position to talk to a child or young person.
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