If you are in #kidmin or work with children in any capacity, then you talk to kids all the time. As you “talk” with kids, don’t miss opportunities to engage them in a deeper conversation. Here are 6 simple reminders for engaging kids in conversation from Henry Dutton. Henry is a CentriKid camp director who excels at training camp staff & modeling how to have intentional conversations with kids.
- Call children by their names. This is very important because it communicates that you care. For all of us, our name is one of the best things we like to hear…its how we are wired.
- Ask open-ended questions (about family, friends, interests, school, etc.). If they can shake their head or answer yes/no to your question, then you won’t go very deep with this conversation.
- Ask appropriate personal or spiritual questions. Too many times, adults shy away from asking kids personal questions. Remember, kids don’t have the same awkward filter that adults do…so they are happy to answer personal questions and talk about spiritual things.
- Share appropriate personal stories with kids. It can be a big relief to find out someone they look up to has been through the same thing. The story can help solidify the point you are making with them too.
- Strive to be honest, genuine, and caring. If we are genuine with kids, we model how they should be when they grow up. They will begin to reciprocate that genuineness now, and it can become a part of all their conversations.
- Have fun! Smile! Strive to foster a responsible sense of childlikeness. It’s okay to be a big kid and express to a child that you enjoy hanging out and chatting with them!