One of the things I love most about working with children is that it is easy to connect with them. Kids want to trust others, and the older they get, the more work it takes to earn their trust and connect with them. Here’s what I do to connect with kids in 10 seconds or less:
- When you first meet younger children, look to see if they are carrying a toy with them. If they are, start a conversation with them, engaging them if they begin talking about it or their imaginary world that involves their toy. The second you start engaging with them, they will begin to trust you, and after about two minutes will be your friend!
- With older children, I try to keep 8-10 topics in the back of my head that I can bring up to start a conversation with them. What are some of the latest movies out that they may have watched? Do they play any sports? What are there favorite books? If I strike out on one or two questions, I usually ask them what they did last weekend (if it’s Sunday, I ask what they did the day before). Usually, this question works great, because they get to tell you about something they did that isn’t related to school.
- One of the fastest ways to connect with kids of any age is to LITERALLY get down on their level. When I meet kids for the first time, I crouch down so that we are about the same height, introduce myself, ask for their name, and give them a high-five. This gives them the feeling that I value who they are.
What methods do you use to connect with kids when you meet them?