Talking to children: a how-to guide

I recently took on a new tutoring client. The client in question is 10 years of age, and, actually, they just turned 10 a couple of weeks ago.

When this client’s mom first reached out to me inquiring about tutoring their child, I’ll admit I was a little hesitant to take on a student so young. All of my clients, with the exception of this one, are adults. I was leery to tutor someone so young considering my experience working with students at such a young age was a tad rusty, but I was intrigued by the idea, and the challenge accompanying it, and so I agreed and figured I would give it my best shot. I did some research and prep, and so far, things are going well (touch wood).

I’m not someone who has had the opportunity to spend an extended period of time with children. All of my cousins are grown, and while I’ve been able to spend time with Blaine’s nieces and nephews, I’m not overly confident with my familiarity with kiddos and therefore was feeling a little nervous about working with my young client; more specifically, how to talk to them.

I won’t go so far as to say myself and my new client are the best of friends, but thus far, I think they are fairly comfortable with me. I think part of my issue in not knowing how to hold a conversation with a kid stems from ignorance, but I’ve come to the realization that if you speak to a child as if they’re an adult, you’ll gain their interest and respect.

When I say to talk to a kid like you would an adult, there are obviously some exceptions. Certain words and subject matter are definitely not appropriate to use when conversing with a child, but if you speak to a child with the same level of attention and maturity you would an adult, I think you’re going to have better luck getting through to them. If you speak to a child in an immature manner, or try to dumb yourself down, they’re probably going to catch on and not want anything to do with you.

Kids are smarter than we realize. If you speak with them respectfully, chances are they will do the same.

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