How to Talk to Children

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  • user warning: Table './tipsformom_drupal/cache_filter' is marked as crashed and should be repaired query: UPDATE cache_filter SET data = '<div class=\"mw-parser-output\">\n<p>At times, talking to kids can feel like learning a foreign language. Unfortunately, there’s no handy phrasebook or translation app that can make you sound friendly, encouraging, <i>and</i> firm all at the same time. Don’t worry. We’ve put together plenty of conversational tips, tricks, and ideas, so you can have an open and honest chat with any kids in your life.\n</p>\n<h2><span class=\"mw-editsection\"><span class=\"mw-editsection-bracket\">[</span><a target=\"_blank\" href=\"https://www.wikihow.com/index.php?title=Talk-to-Children&amp;action=edit&amp;section=1\" title=\"Edit section: Steps\">Edit</a><span class=\"mw-editsection-bracket\">]</span></span><span class=\"mw-headline\" id=\"Steps\">Steps</span></h2>\n<h3><span class=\"mw-editsection\"><span class=\"mw-editsection-bracket\">[</span><a target=\"_blank\" href=\"https://www.wikihow.com/index.php?title=Talk-to-Children&amp;action=edit&amp;section=2\" title=\"Edit section: Sit or kneel at their level.\">Edit</a><span class=\"mw-editsection-bracket\">]</span></span><span class=\"mw-headline\" id=\"Sit-or-kneel-at-their-level.\">Sit or kneel at their level.</span></h3>\n<ol>\n<li>Lowering yourself makes you a lot more approachable. Even if you’re keeping things light and friendly, a child might feel intimidated if you’re towering over them. Instead, grab a seat or take a knee near the child, so they don’t have to look up at you. This can help take the edge off your conversation.<sup id=\"_ref-1\" class=\"reference\" aria-label=\"Link to Reference 1\"><a target=\"_blank\" href=\"#_note-1\">[1]</a></sup><br />\n<div class=\"mwimg largeimage floatcenter \" style=\"max-width:728px\"><a target=\"_blank\" href=\"https://www.wikihow.com/Image:Talk-to-Children-Step-1-Version-3.jpg\" class=\"image\"><img alt=\"Talk to Children Step 1 Version 3.jpg\" src=\"https://www.wikihow.com/images/thumb/b/b7/Talk-to-Children-Step-1-Version-3.jpg/aid1334483-v4-728px-Talk-to-Children-Step-1-Version-3.jpg\" decoding=\"async\" width=\"728\" height=\"546\" class=\"whcdn\" /></a></div>\n</li>\n</ol>\n<h3><span class=\"mw-editsection\"><span class=\"mw-editsection-bracket\">[</span><a target=\"_blank\" href=\"https://www.wikihow.com/index.php?title=Talk-to-Children&amp;action=edit&amp;section=3\" title=\"Edit section: Chat about relatable topics.\">Edit</a><span class=\"mw-editsection-bracket\">]</span></span><span class=\"mw-headline\" id=\"Chat-about-relatable-topics.\">Chat about relatable topics.</span></h3>\n<ol>\n<li>Kids love talking about their interests and preferences. As far as conversations go, asking about favorites is a pretty safe go-to topic. You might ask about their favorite singer, or what TV shows they like to watch. You could even ask about their favorite animal, or compare favorite colors.<sup id=\"_ref-2\" class=\"reference\" aria-label=\"Link to Reference 2\"><a target=\"_blank\" href=\"#_note-2\">[2]</a></sup><br />\n<div class=\"mwimg largeimage floatcenter \" style=\"max-width:728px\"><a target=\"_blank\" href=\"https://www.wikihow.com/Image:Talk-to-Children-Step-2-Version-3.jpg\" class=\"image\"><img alt=\"Talk to Children Step 2 Version 3.jpg\" src=\"https://www.wikihow.com/images/thumb/0/09/Talk-to-Children-Step-2-Version-3.jpg/aid1334483-v4-728px-Talk-to-Children-Step-2-Version-3.jpg\" decoding=\"async\" width=\"728\" height=\"546\" class=\"whcdn\" /></a></div>\n<ul>\n<li>Pets are another safe, easy topic. You could ask if they have a dog or cat at home, and what its name is.</li>\n</ul>\n</li>\n</ol>\n<h3><span class=\"mw-editsection\"><span class=\"mw-editsection-bracket\">[</span><a target=\"_blank\" href=\"https://www.wikihow.com/index.php?title=Talk-to-Children&amp;action=edit&amp;section=4\" title=\"Edit section: Ask for help or advice.\">Edit</a><span class=\"mw-editsection-bracket\">]</span></span><span class=\"mw-headline\" id=\"Ask-for-help-or-advice.\">Ask for help or advice.</span></h3>\n<ol>\n<li>Children love to solve “adult” problems. Share a light-hearted, not-too-serious problem you’ve run into during your daily routine. Maybe you have trouble heading to bed at a good time, or you can never find your car keys before heading to work. The child will love a chance to figure out a solution to your problem, whether it’s big or small.<sup id=\"_ref-3\" class=\"reference\" aria-label=\"Link to Reference 3\"><a target=\"_blank\" href=\"#_note-3\">[3]</a></sup><br />\n<div class=\"mwimg largeimage floatcenter \" style=\"max-width:728px\"><a target=\"_blank\" href=\"https://www.wikihow.com/Image:Talk-to-Children-Step-3-Version-3.jpg\" class=\"image\"><img alt=\"Talk to Children Step 3 Version 3.jpg\" src=\"https://www.wikihow.com/images/thumb/0/09/Talk-to-Children-Step-3-Version-3.jpg/aid1334483-v4-728px-Talk-to-Children-Step-3-Version-3.jpg\" decoding=\"async\" width=\"728\" height=\"546\" class=\"whcdn\" /></a></div>\n<ul>\n<li>You might say, “I don’t know what to get my friend for his birthday. Can you help me pick out a gift?” or “I was going to watch a movie this weekend, but I’m so indecisive. What do you think I should watch?”</li>\n</ul>\n</li>\n</ol>\n<h3><span class=\"mw-editsection\"><span class=\"mw-editsection-bracket\">[</span><a target=\"_blank\" href=\"https://www.wikihow.com/index.php?title=Talk-to-Children&amp;action=edit&amp;section=5\" title=\"Edit section: Offer genuine, encouraging compliments.\">Edit</a><span class=\"mw-editsection-bracket\">]</span></span><span id=\"Offer-genuine,-encouraging-compliments.\"></span><span class=\"mw-headline\" id=\"Offer-genuine.2C-encouraging-compliments.\">Offer genuine, encouraging compliments.</span></h3>\n<ol>\n<li>Focus on a child’s effort and character, not something superficial. Superficial compliments, like “Your hair looks so cute” or “I love your shirt” are nice, but they aren’t very long-lasting. Instead, focus on something the child is actively doing. Specific compliments make a much bigger impact and will help you connect more easily with kids.<sup id=\"_ref-4\" class=\"reference\" aria-label=\"Link to Reference 4\"><a target=\"_blank\" href=\"#_note-4\">[4]</a></sup><br />\n<div class=\"mwimg largeimage floatcenter \" style=\"max-width:728px\"><a target=\"_blank\" href=\"https://www.wikihow.com/Image:Talk-to-Children-Step-4-Version-3.jpg\" class=\"image\"><img alt=\"Talk to Children Step 4 Version 3.jpg\" src=\"https://www.wikihow.com/images/thumb/9/99/Talk-to-Children-Step-4-Version-3.jpg/aid1334483-v4-728px-Talk-to-Children-Step-4-Version-3.jpg\" decoding=\"async\" width=\"728\" height=\"546\" class=\"whcdn\" /></a></div>\n<ul>\n<li>For instance, compliments like “I love the way you draw horses” “You’re looking really strong on those roller skates” and “That was so kind of you to share your snack with your brother” are a lot more genuine than “Your eyes are such a pretty color!” or “Your family is so huge.”</li>\n</ul>\n</li>\n</ol>\n<h3><span class=\"mw-editsection\"><span class=\"mw-editsection-bracket\">[</span><a target=\"_blank\" href=\"https://www.wikihow.com/index.php?title=Talk-to-Children&amp;action=edit&amp;section=6\" title=\"Edit section: Ask open-ended questions.\">Edit</a><span class=\"mw-editsection-bracket\">]</span></span><span class=\"mw-headline\" id=\"Ask-open-ended-questions.\">Ask open-ended questions.</span></h3>\n<ol>\n<li>Yes or no questions won’t get you super far in a conversation. Instead, invite the child to go into lots of detail about what they’re thinking and feeling. Before asking a question, play it over in your head first—if the child could answer it in 1 or 2 words, try restructuring the question instead.<sup id=\"_ref-5\" class=\"reference\" aria-label=\"Link to Reference 5\"><a target=\"_blank\" href=\"#_note-5\">[5]</a></sup><br />\n<div class=\"mwimg largeimage floatcenter \" style=\"max-width:728px\"><a target=\"_blank\" href=\"https://www.wikihow.com/Image:Talk-to-Children-Step-5-Version-3.jpg\" class=\"image\"><img alt=\"Talk to Children Step 5 Version 3.jpg\" src=\"https://www.wikihow.com/images/thumb/1/1f/Talk-to-Children-Step-5-Version-3.jpg/aid1334483-v4-728px-Talk-to-Children-Step-5-Version-3.jpg\" decoding=\"async\" width=\"728\" height=\"546\" class=\"whcdn\" /></a></div>\n<ul>\n<li>“What was your favorite part of school today?” is a much better question than “Did you have a good day at school?”</li>\n</ul>\n</li>\n</ol>\n<h3><span class=\"mw-editsection\"><span class=\"mw-editsection-bracket\">[</span><a target=\"_blank\" href=\"https://www.wikihow.com/index.php?title=Talk-to-Children&amp;action=edit&amp;section=7\" title=\"Edit section: Express lots of interest.\">Edit</a><span class=\"mw-editsection-bracket\">]</span></span><span class=\"mw-headline\" id=\"Express-lots-of-interest.\">Express lots of interest.</span></h3>\n<ol>\n<li>Small, encouraging comments let a child know that you’re listening. As the kid shares their story, look engaged and interested throughout the conversation. Phrases like “That’s so interesting” or “Please go on” let the child know that their time is valued and that you care about what they have to say.<sup id=\"_ref-6\" class=\"reference\" aria-label=\"Link to Reference 6\"><a target=\"_blank\" href=\"#_note-6\">[6]</a></sup><br />\n<div class=\"mwimg largeimage floatcenter \" style=\"max-width:728px\"><a target=\"_blank\" href=\"https://www.wikihow.com/Image:Talk-to-Children-Step-6-Version-3.jpg\" class=\"image\"><img alt=\"Talk to Children Step 6 Version 3.jpg\" src=\"https://www.wikihow.com/images/thumb/d/d9/Talk-to-Children-Step-6-Version-3.jpg/aid1334483-v4-728px-Talk-to-Children-Step-6-Version-3.jpg\" decoding=\"async\" width=\"728\" height=\"546\" class=\"whcdn\" /></a></div>\n<ul>\n<li>“Tell me more about that” or “No way. I don’t believe it!” are great ways to express interest.</li>\n</ul>\n</li>\n</ol>\n<h3><span class=\"mw-editsection\"><span class=\"mw-editsection-bracket\">[</span><a target=\"_blank\" href=\"https://www.wikihow.com/index.php?title=Talk-to-Children&amp;action=edit&amp;section=8\" title=\"Edit section: Pay attention to body language.\">Edit</a><span class=\"mw-editsection-bracket\">]</span></span><span class=\"mw-headline\" id=\"Pay-attention-to-body-language.\">Pay attention to body language.</span></h3>\n<ol>\n<li>A kid might claim to be “fine,” while their body language tells a different story. Instead of being cheerful and relaxed, they might mask emotions with their body language, like crossing their arms or hunching their shoulders. Factor in both their words <i>and</i> movements, so you have a more well-rounded view of what the child is trying to say.<sup id=\"_ref-7\" class=\"reference\" aria-label=\"Link to Reference 7\"><a target=\"_blank\" href=\"#_note-7\">[7]</a></sup><br />\n<div class=\"mwimg largeimage floatcenter \" style=\"max-width:728px\"><a target=\"_blank\" href=\"https://www.wikihow.com/Image:Talk-to-Children-Step-7-Version-3.jpg\" class=\"image\"><img alt=\"Talk to Children Step 7 Version 3.jpg\" src=\"https://www.wikihow.com/images/thumb/1/19/Talk-to-Children-Step-7-Version-3.jpg/aid1334483-v4-728px-Talk-to-Children-Step-7-Version-3.jpg\" decoding=\"async\" width=\"728\" height=\"546\" class=\"whcdn\" /></a></div>\n<ul>\n<li>For example, if a child says they had a good day at school but refuses to make eye contact, you might assume that something went wrong.</li>\n</ul>\n</li>\n</ol>\n<h3><span class=\"mw-editsection\"><span class=\"mw-editsection-bracket\">[</span><a target=\"_blank\" href=\"https://www.wikihow.com/index.php?title=Talk-to-Children&amp;action=edit&amp;section=9\" title=\"Edit section: Let the child speak without interrupting.\">Edit</a><span class=\"mw-editsection-bracket\">]</span></span><span class=\"mw-headline\" id=\"Let-the-child-speak-without-interrupting.\">Let the child speak without interrupting.</span></h3>\n<ol>\n<li>Interrupting will only shut down your conversation. Think of it this way—if you were sharing a really exciting story with a friend, would you want them to interrupt and talk over you? The same principle applies to kids, too. Give children plenty of time to share what’s on their mind, even if they’re having some trouble coming up with the right words. Once they’ve finished sharing, feel free to reply and comment on whatever they shared.<sup id=\"_ref-8\" class=\"reference\" aria-label=\"Link to Reference 8\"><a target=\"_blank\" href=\"#_note-8\">[8]</a></sup><br />\n<div class=\"mwimg largeimage floatcenter \" style=\"max-width:728px\"><a target=\"_blank\" href=\"https://www.wikihow.com/Image:Talk-to-Children-Step-8-Version-2.jpg\" class=\"image\"><img alt=\"Talk to Children Step 8 Version 2.jpg\" src=\"https://www.wikihow.com/images/thumb/1/1c/Talk-to-Children-Step-8-Version-2.jpg/aid1334483-v4-728px-Talk-to-Children-Step-8-Version-2.jpg\" decoding=\"async\" width=\"728\" height=\"546\" class=\"whcdn\" /></a></div>\n</li>\n</ol>\n<h3><span class=\"mw-editsection\"><span class=\"mw-editsection-bracket\">[</span><a target=\"_blank\" href=\"https://www.wikihow.com/index.php?title=Talk-to-Children&amp;action=edit&amp;section=10\" title=\"Edit section: Listen instead of offering solutions.\">Edit</a><span class=\"mw-editsection-bracket\">]</span></span><span class=\"mw-headline\" id=\"Listen-instead-of-offering-solutions.\">Listen instead of offering solutions.</span></h3>\n<ol>\n<li>Sometimes, kids just want a listening ear. If a child is venting about their day, let them finish their story instead of rushing to solve their problem. While your intentions are good, it’s important that the child feels heard and understood, and not like an item on a to-do list.<sup id=\"_ref-9\" class=\"reference\" aria-label=\"Link to Reference 9\"><a target=\"_blank\" href=\"#_note-9\">[9]</a></sup><br />\n<div class=\"mwimg largeimage floatcenter \" style=\"max-width:728px\"><a target=\"_blank\" href=\"https://www.wikihow.com/Image:Talk-to-Children-Step-9-Version-2.jpg\" class=\"image\"><img alt=\"Talk to Children Step 9 Version 2.jpg\" src=\"https://www.wikihow.com/images/thumb/2/2d/Talk-to-Children-Step-9-Version-2.jpg/aid1334483-v4-728px-Talk-to-Children-Step-9-Version-2.jpg\" decoding=\"async\" width=\"728\" height=\"546\" class=\"whcdn\" /></a></div>\n</li>\n</ol>\n<h3><span class=\"mw-editsection\"><span class=\"mw-editsection-bracket\">[</span><a target=\"_blank\" href=\"https://www.wikihow.com/index.php?title=Talk-to-Children&amp;action=edit&amp;section=11\" title=\"Edit section: Call your child by their name.\">Edit</a><span class=\"mw-editsection-bracket\">]</span></span><span class=\"mw-headline\" id=\"Call-your-child-by-their-name.\">Call your child by their name.</span></h3>\n<ol>\n<li>This is a great way to get your child’s attention. Little kids can’t focus on too many things at once. Saying your child’s name helps them focus on you and your voice, instead of what’s going on around them. Instead of saying “hey” or “hey you,” try calling their name instead—you might notice a difference!<sup id=\"_ref-10\" class=\"reference\" aria-label=\"Link to Reference 10\"><a target=\"_blank\" href=\"#_note-10\">[10]</a></sup><br />\n<div class=\"mwimg largeimage floatcenter \" style=\"max-width:728px\"><a target=\"_blank\" href=\"https://www.wikihow.com/Image:Talk-to-Children-Step-10-Version-2.jpg\" class=\"image\"><img alt=\"Talk to Children Step 10 Version 2.jpg\" src=\"https://www.wikihow.com/images/thumb/7/78/Talk-to-Children-Step-10-Version-2.jpg/aid1334483-v4-728px-Talk-to-Children-Step-10-Version-2.jpg\" decoding=\"async\" width=\"728\" height=\"546\" class=\"whcdn\" /></a></div>\n<ul>\n<li>You might say, “Luke, please pick up your toys before lunch” or “Jamie, grab your sweater before we head outside.”</li>\n<li>If the child is distracted, say their name until they’re focused on you. Then, say what’s on your mind.</li>\n</ul>\n</li>\n</ol>\n<h3><span class=\"mw-editsection\"><span class=\"mw-editsection-bracket\">[</span><a target=\"_blank\" href=\"https://www.wikihow.com/index.php?title=Talk-to-Children&amp;action=edit&amp;section=12\" title=\"Edit section: Speak in a serious tone.\">Edit</a><span class=\"mw-editsection-bracket\">]</span></span><span class=\"mw-headline\" id=\"Speak-in-a-serious-tone.\">Speak in a serious tone.</span></h3>\n<ol>\n<li>A wishy-washy tone leads to a wishy-washy conversation. Kids hear more than just your words—they also hear <i>how</i> you say things. If you don’t sound serious, you probably won’t be taken seriously. Instead, strike a balance between gentleness and firmness, so the child understands that you aren’t angry, but also aren’t a pushover.<sup id=\"_ref-11\" class=\"reference\" aria-label=\"Link to Reference 11\"><a target=\"_blank\" href=\"#_note-11\">[11]</a></sup><br />\n<div class=\"mwimg largeimage floatcenter \" style=\"max-width:728px\"><a target=\"_blank\" href=\"https://www.wikihow.com/Image:Talk-to-Children-Step-11-Version-2.jpg\" class=\"image\"><img alt=\"Talk to Children Step 11 Version 2.jpg\" src=\"https://www.wikihow.com/images/thumb/0/0d/Talk-to-Children-Step-11-Version-2.jpg/aid1334483-v4-728px-Talk-to-Children-Step-11-Version-2.jpg\" decoding=\"async\" width=\"728\" height=\"546\" class=\"whcdn\" /></a></div>\n<ul>\n<li>“Could you please put away your clothes before dinner?” is a lot firmer and direct than “Would you mind putting your clothes away sometime today?”</li>\n</ul>\n</li>\n</ol>\n<h3><span class=\"mw-editsection\"><span class=\"mw-editsection-bracket\">[</span><a target=\"_blank\" href=\"https://www.wikihow.com/index.php?title=Talk-to-Children&amp;action=edit&amp;section=13\" title=\"Edit section: Talk at a normal volume when you discipline your child.\">Edit</a><span class=\"mw-editsection-bracket\">]</span></span><span class=\"mw-headline\" id=\"Talk-at-a-normal-volume-when-you-discipline-your-child.\">Talk at a normal volume when you discipline your child.</span></h3>\n<ol>\n<li>Yelling doesn’t achieve very much, even if the child is yelling as well. The more you shout, the more the child will learn to tune out your voice. Instead, speak calmly and respectfully in front of the child, so they understand that you’re serious.<sup id=\"_ref-12\" class=\"reference\" aria-label=\"Link to Reference 12\"><a target=\"_blank\" href=\"#_note-12\">[12]</a></sup><br />\n<div class=\"mwimg largeimage floatcenter \" style=\"max-width:728px\"><a target=\"_blank\" href=\"https://www.wikihow.com/Image:Talk-to-Children-Step-12-Version-2.jpg\" class=\"image\"><img alt=\"Talk to Children Step 12 Version 2.jpg\" src=\"https://www.wikihow.com/images/thumb/b/b7/Talk-to-Children-Step-12-Version-2.jpg/aid1334483-v4-728px-Talk-to-Children-Step-12-Version-2.jpg\" decoding=\"async\" width=\"728\" height=\"546\" class=\"whcdn\" /></a></div>\n<ul>\n<li>For instance, instead of yelling “Get dressed for school!” from the kitchen, you might knock on your child’s bedroom door and say, “The bus will be here in less than an hour. Could you start getting dressed for school?”</li>\n</ul>\n</li>\n</ol>\n<h3><span class=\"mw-editsection\"><span class=\"mw-editsection-bracket\">[</span><a target=\"_blank\" href=\"https://www.wikihow.com/index.php?title=Talk-to-Children&amp;action=edit&amp;section=14\" title=\"Edit section: Choose positive words when speaking to your child.\">Edit</a><span class=\"mw-editsection-bracket\">]</span></span><span class=\"mw-headline\" id=\"Choose-positive-words-when-speaking-to-your-child.\">Choose positive words when speaking to your child.</span></h3>\n<ol>\n<li>Negative language won’t resonate well with your child. Instead of saying what <i>not</i> to do, focus on what your child <i>should</i> be doing instead. Positive, encouraging language helps foster self-confidence, and will inspire kids to build better habits in the future.<sup id=\"_ref-13\" class=\"reference\" aria-label=\"Link to Reference 13\"><a target=\"_blank\" href=\"#_note-13\">[13]</a></sup><br />\n<div class=\"mwimg largeimage floatcenter \" style=\"max-width:728px\"><a target=\"_blank\" href=\"https://www.wikihow.com/Image:Talk-to-Children-Step-13-Version-2.jpg\" class=\"image\"><img alt=\"Talk to Children Step 13 Version 2.jpg\" src=\"https://www.wikihow.com/images/thumb/e/ed/Talk-to-Children-Step-13-Version-2.jpg/aid1334483-v4-728px-Talk-to-Children-Step-13-Version-2.jpg\" decoding=\"async\" width=\"728\" height=\"546\" class=\"whcdn\" /></a></div>\n<ul>\n<li>Instead of saying “No playing in the kitchen,” you might say, “Go play in the living room where all your toys are.”</li>\n<li>“I’m proud of you for sharing your toys” is much more positive and encouraging than “You shouldn’t be selfish.”</li>\n</ul>\n</li>\n</ol>\n<h3><span class=\"mw-editsection\"><span class=\"mw-editsection-bracket\">[</span><a target=\"_blank\" href=\"https://www.wikihow.com/index.php?title=Talk-to-Children&amp;action=edit&amp;section=15\" title=\"Edit section: Simplify the lectures you give your children.\">Edit</a><span class=\"mw-editsection-bracket\">]</span></span><span class=\"mw-headline\" id=\"Simplify-the-lectures-you-give-your-children.\">Simplify the lectures you give your children.</span></h3>\n<ol>\n<li>Long lectures don’t accomplish much in the long run. Instead of nagging and complaining about a certain task or chore, try simplifying your request to a single word. Your child will get the message without feeling belittled or patronized in the process.<sup id=\"_ref-14\" class=\"reference\" aria-label=\"Link to Reference 14\"><a target=\"_blank\" href=\"#_note-14\">[14]</a></sup><br />\n<div class=\"mwimg largeimage floatcenter \" style=\"max-width:728px\"><a target=\"_blank\" href=\"https://www.wikihow.com/Image:Talk-to-Children-Step-14.jpg\" class=\"image\"><img alt=\"Talk to Children Step 14.jpg\" src=\"https://www.wikihow.com/images/thumb/0/02/Talk-to-Children-Step-14.jpg/aid1334483-v4-728px-Talk-to-Children-Step-14.jpg\" decoding=\"async\" width=\"728\" height=\"546\" class=\"whcdn\" /></a></div>\n<ul>\n<li>You might say, “Clara, the cat!” instead of saying “You were supposed to clean the litter box yesterday, and it’s still not done.”</li>\n<li>You could say, “Kids, backpacks!” instead of saying, “I told you to pack your bags 5 minutes ago.”</li>\n</ul>\n</li>\n</ol>\n<h3><span class=\"mw-editsection\"><span class=\"mw-editsection-bracket\">[</span><a target=\"_blank\" href=\"https://www.wikihow.com/index.php?title=Talk-to-Children&amp;action=edit&amp;section=16\" title=\"Edit section: Offer lots of options to appease your child.\">Edit</a><span class=\"mw-editsection-bracket\">]</span></span><span class=\"mw-headline\" id=\"Offer-lots-of-options-to-appease-your-child.\">Offer lots of options to appease your child.</span></h3>\n<ol>\n<li>Some kids don’t respond well to orders. Instead, break a task or command into a fun “this or that” scenario. Your child will be happier to play along when they feel in control of their decisions and routine.<sup id=\"_ref-15\" class=\"reference\" aria-label=\"Link to Reference 15\"><a target=\"_blank\" href=\"#_note-15\">[15]</a></sup><br />\n<div class=\"mwimg largeimage floatcenter \" style=\"max-width:728px\"><a target=\"_blank\" href=\"https://www.wikihow.com/Image:Talk-to-Children-Step-15.jpg\" class=\"image\"><img alt=\"Talk to Children Step 15.jpg\" src=\"https://www.wikihow.com/images/thumb/d/d6/Talk-to-Children-Step-15.jpg/aid1334483-v4-728px-Talk-to-Children-Step-15.jpg\" decoding=\"async\" width=\"728\" height=\"546\" class=\"whcdn\" /></a></div>\n<ul>\n<li>Instead of telling your child to pack their lunch, ask if they’d like a PB&amp;J or a ham cheese.</li>\n<li>Instead of asking your child to get dressed, give them different outfit options for the day.</li>\n<li>Sometimes, there might not be any viable options to offer. That’s okay! Just offer alternatives when you can.</li>\n</ul>\n</li>\n</ol>\n<p>\n</p>\n<h2><span class=\"mw-editsection\"><span class=\"mw-editsection-bracket\">[</span><a target=\"_blank\" href=\"https://www.wikihow.com/index.php?title=Talk-to-Children&amp;action=edit&amp;section=17\" title=\"Edit section: Tips\">Edit</a><span class=\"mw-editsection-bracket\">]</span></span><span class=\"mw-headline\" id=\"Tips\">Tips</span></h2>\n<ul>\n<li>Try setting aside some time for conversation each day, especially if you have a child at home. This is a great way to bond and connect with your young one, and gives them a healthy place to share their thoughts and feelings.<sup id=\"_ref-16\" class=\"reference\" aria-label=\"Link to Reference 16\"><a target=\"_blank\" href=\"#_note-16\">[16]</a></sup></li>\n</ul>\n<p>\n</p>\n<h2><span class=\"mw-editsection\"><span class=\"mw-editsection-bracket\">[</span><a target=\"_blank\" href=\"https://www.wikihow.com/index.php?title=Talk-to-Children&amp;action=edit&amp;section=18\" title=\"Edit section: References\">Edit</a><span class=\"mw-editsection-bracket\">]</span></span><span class=\"mw-headline\" id=\"References\">References</span></h2>\n<div class=\"mw-references-wrap mw-references-columns\">\n<ol class=\"references\">\n<li id=\"_note-1\"><a target=\"_blank\" href=\"#_ref-1\">↑</a> <span class=\"reference-text\"><a target=\"_blank\" rel=\"nofollow noreferrer noopener\" class=\"external free\" href=\"https://www.edutopia.org/article/how-talk-children\">https://www.edutopia.org/article/how-talk-children</a></span>\n</li>\n<li id=\"_note-2\"><a target=\"_blank\" href=\"#_ref-2\">↑</a> <span class=\"reference-text\"><a target=\"_blank\" rel=\"nofollow noreferrer noopener\" class=\"external free\" href=\"https://www.edutopia.org/article/how-talk-children\">https://www.edutopia.org/article/how-talk-children</a></span>\n</li>\n<li id=\"_note-3\"><a target=\"_blank\" href=\"#_ref-3\">↑</a> <span class=\"reference-text\"><a target=\"_blank\" rel=\"nofollow noreferrer noopener\" class=\"external free\" href=\"https://www.edutopia.org/article/how-talk-children\">https://www.edutopia.org/article/how-talk-children</a></span>\n</li>\n<li id=\"_note-4\"><a target=\"_blank\" href=\"#_ref-4\">↑</a> <span class=\"reference-text\"><a target=\"_blank\" rel=\"nofollow noreferrer noopener\" class=\"external free\" href=\"https://www.edutopia.org/article/how-talk-children\">https://www.edutopia.org/article/how-talk-children</a></span>\n</li>\n<li id=\"_note-5\"><a target=\"_blank\" href=\"#_ref-5\">↑</a> <span class=\"reference-text\"><a target=\"_blank\" rel=\"nofollow noreferrer noopener\" class=\"external free\" href=\"https://childdevelopmentinfo.com/how-to-be-a-parent/communication/talk-to-kids-listen/#gs.z5vfp1\">https://childdevelopmentinfo.com/how-to-be-a-parent/communication/talk-to-kids-listen/#gs.z5vfp1</a></span>\n</li>\n<li id=\"_note-6\"><a target=\"_blank\" href=\"#_ref-6\">↑</a> <span class=\"reference-text\"><a target=\"_blank\" rel=\"nofollow noreferrer noopener\" class=\"external free\" href=\"https://raisingchildren.net.au/toddlers/connecting-communicating/communicating/communicating-well-with-children\">https://raisingchildren.net.au/toddlers/connecting-communicating/communicating/communicating-well-with-children</a></span>\n</li>\n<li id=\"_note-7\"><a target=\"_blank\" href=\"#_ref-7\">↑</a> <span class=\"reference-text\"><a target=\"_blank\" rel=\"nofollow noreferrer noopener\" class=\"external free\" href=\"https://raisingchildren.net.au/toddlers/connecting-communicating/communicating/communicating-well-with-children\">https://raisingchildren.net.au/toddlers/connecting-communicating/communicating/communicating-well-with-children</a></span>\n</li>\n<li id=\"_note-8\"><a target=\"_blank\" href=\"#_ref-8\">↑</a> <span class=\"reference-text\"><a target=\"_blank\" rel=\"nofollow noreferrer noopener\" class=\"external free\" href=\"https://raisingchildren.net.au/toddlers/connecting-communicating/communicating/communicating-well-with-children\">https://raisingchildren.net.au/toddlers/connecting-communicating/communicating/communicating-well-with-children</a></span>\n</li>\n<li id=\"_note-9\"><a target=\"_blank\" href=\"#_ref-9\">↑</a> <span class=\"reference-text\"><a target=\"_blank\" rel=\"nofollow noreferrer noopener\" class=\"external free\" href=\"https://raisingchildren.net.au/toddlers/connecting-communicating/communicating/communicating-well-with-children\">https://raisingchildren.net.au/toddlers/connecting-communicating/communicating/communicating-well-with-children</a></span>\n</li>\n<li id=\"_note-10\"><a target=\"_blank\" href=\"#_ref-10\">↑</a> <span class=\"reference-text\"><a target=\"_blank\" rel=\"nofollow noreferrer noopener\" class=\"external free\" href=\"https://childdevelopmentinfo.com/how-to-be-a-parent/communication/talk-to-kids-listen/#gs.z5vfp1\">https://childdevelopmentinfo.com/how-to-be-a-parent/communication/talk-to-kids-listen/#gs.z5vfp1</a></span>\n</li>\n<li id=\"_note-11\"><a target=\"_blank\" href=\"#_ref-11\">↑</a> <span class=\"reference-text\"><a target=\"_blank\" rel=\"nofollow noreferrer noopener\" class=\"external free\" href=\"https://childdevelopmentinfo.com/how-to-be-a-parent/communication/talk-to-kids-listen/#gs.z5vfp1\">https://childdevelopmentinfo.com/how-to-be-a-parent/communication/talk-to-kids-listen/#gs.z5vfp1</a></span>\n</li>\n<li id=\"_note-12\"><a target=\"_blank\" href=\"#_ref-12\">↑</a> <span class=\"reference-text\"><a target=\"_blank\" rel=\"nofollow noreferrer noopener\" class=\"external free\" href=\"https://childdevelopmentinfo.com/how-to-be-a-parent/communication/talk-to-kids-listen/#gs.z5vfp1\">https://childdevelopmentinfo.com/how-to-be-a-parent/communication/talk-to-kids-listen/#gs.z5vfp1</a></span>\n</li>\n<li id=\"_note-13\"><a target=\"_blank\" href=\"#_ref-13\">↑</a> <span class=\"reference-text\"><a target=\"_blank\" rel=\"nofollow noreferrer noopener\" class=\"external free\" href=\"https://childdevelopmentinfo.com/how-to-be-a-parent/communication/talk-to-kids-listen/#gs.z5vfp1\">https://childdevelopmentinfo.com/how-to-be-a-parent/communication/talk-to-kids-listen/#gs.z5vfp1</a></span>\n</li>\n<li id=\"_note-14\"><a target=\"_blank\" href=\"#_ref-14\">↑</a> <span class=\"reference-text\"><a target=\"_blank\" rel=\"nofollow noreferrer noopener\" class=\"external free\" href=\"https://www.tbcs.org/uploaded/Resources/Presentations/Tools_for_Success_16/How_to_Talk_So_Kids_Will_Listen.pdf\">https://www.tbcs.org/uploaded/Resources/Presentations/Tools_for_Success_16/How_to_Talk_So_Kids_Will_Listen.pdf</a></span>\n</li>\n<li id=\"_note-15\"><a target=\"_blank\" href=\"#_ref-15\">↑</a> <span class=\"reference-text\"><a target=\"_blank\" rel=\"nofollow noreferrer noopener\" class=\"external free\" href=\"https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/parenting/wp/2017/02/15/how-to-talk-so-little-kids-will-listen-a-qa-with-the-author/\">https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/parenting/wp/2017/02/15/how-to-talk-so-little-kids-will-listen-a-qa-with-the-author/</a></span>\n</li>\n<li id=\"_note-16\"><a target=\"_blank\" href=\"#_ref-16\">↑</a> <span class=\"reference-text\"><a target=\"_blank\" rel=\"nofollow noreferrer noopener\" class=\"external free\" href=\"https://raisingchildren.net.au/toddlers/connecting-communicating/communicating/communicating-well-with-children\">https://raisingchildren.net.au/toddlers/connecting-communicating/communicating/communicating-well-with-children</a></span>\n</li>\n</ol>\n</div>\n</div>\n', created = 1632317654, expire = 1632404054, headers = '', serialized = 0 WHERE cid = '2:1cb011a704ea8fdce263af8ede901329' in /var/www/vhosts/tipsformom.com/httpdocs/includes/cache.inc on line 108.

At times, talking to kids can feel like learning a foreign language. Unfortunately, there’s no handy phrasebook or translation app that can make you sound friendly, encouraging, and firm all at the same time. Don’t worry. We’ve put together plenty of conversational tips, tricks, and ideas, so you can have an open and honest chat with any kids in your life.

[Edit]Steps

[Edit]Sit or kneel at their level.

  1. Lowering yourself makes you a lot more approachable. Even if you’re keeping things light and friendly, a child might feel intimidated if you’re towering over them. Instead, grab a seat or take a knee near the child, so they don’t have to look up at you. This can help take the edge off your conversation.[1]
    Talk to Children Step 1 Version 3.jpg

[Edit]Chat about relatable topics.

  1. Kids love talking about their interests and preferences. As far as conversations go, asking about favorites is a pretty safe go-to topic. You might ask about their favorite singer, or what TV shows they like to watch. You could even ask about their favorite animal, or compare favorite colors.[2]
    Talk to Children Step 2 Version 3.jpg
    • Pets are another safe, easy topic. You could ask if they have a dog or cat at home, and what its name is.

[Edit]Ask for help or advice.

  1. Children love to solve “adult” problems. Share a light-hearted, not-too-serious problem you’ve run into during your daily routine. Maybe you have trouble heading to bed at a good time, or you can never find your car keys before heading to work. The child will love a chance to figure out a solution to your problem, whether it’s big or small.[3]
    Talk to Children Step 3 Version 3.jpg
    • You might say, “I don’t know what to get my friend for his birthday. Can you help me pick out a gift?” or “I was going to watch a movie this weekend, but I’m so indecisive. What do you think I should watch?”

[Edit]Offer genuine, encouraging compliments.

  1. Focus on a child’s effort and character, not something superficial. Superficial compliments, like “Your hair looks so cute” or “I love your shirt” are nice, but they aren’t very long-lasting. Instead, focus on something the child is actively doing. Specific compliments make a much bigger impact and will help you connect more easily with kids.[4]
    Talk to Children Step 4 Version 3.jpg
    • For instance, compliments like “I love the way you draw horses” “You’re looking really strong on those roller skates” and “That was so kind of you to share your snack with your brother” are a lot more genuine than “Your eyes are such a pretty color!” or “Your family is so huge.”

[Edit]Ask open-ended questions.

  1. Yes or no questions won’t get you super far in a conversation. Instead, invite the child to go into lots of detail about what they’re thinking and feeling. Before asking a question, play it over in your head first—if the child could answer it in 1 or 2 words, try restructuring the question instead.[5]
    Talk to Children Step 5 Version 3.jpg
    • “What was your favorite part of school today?” is a much better question than “Did you have a good day at school?”

[Edit]Express lots of interest.

  1. Small, encouraging comments let a child know that you’re listening. As the kid shares their story, look engaged and interested throughout the conversation. Phrases like “That’s so interesting” or “Please go on” let the child know that their time is valued and that you care about what they have to say.[6]
    Talk to Children Step 6 Version 3.jpg
    • “Tell me more about that” or “No way. I don’t believe it!” are great ways to express interest.

[Edit]Pay attention to body language.

  1. A kid might claim to be “fine,” while their body language tells a different story. Instead of being cheerful and relaxed, they might mask emotions with their body language, like crossing their arms or hunching their shoulders. Factor in both their words and movements, so you have a more well-rounded view of what the child is trying to say.[7]
    Talk to Children Step 7 Version 3.jpg
    • For example, if a child says they had a good day at school but refuses to make eye contact, you might assume that something went wrong.

[Edit]Let the child speak without interrupting.

  1. Interrupting will only shut down your conversation. Think of it this way—if you were sharing a really exciting story with a friend, would you want them to interrupt and talk over you? The same principle applies to kids, too. Give children plenty of time to share what’s on their mind, even if they’re having some trouble coming up with the right words. Once they’ve finished sharing, feel free to reply and comment on whatever they shared.[8]
    Talk to Children Step 8 Version 2.jpg

[Edit]Listen instead of offering solutions.

  1. Sometimes, kids just want a listening ear. If a child is venting about their day, let them finish their story instead of rushing to solve their problem. While your intentions are good, it’s important that the child feels heard and understood, and not like an item on a to-do list.[9]
    Talk to Children Step 9 Version 2.jpg

[Edit]Call your child by their name.

  1. This is a great way to get your child’s attention. Little kids can’t focus on too many things at once. Saying your child’s name helps them focus on you and your voice, instead of what’s going on around them. Instead of saying “hey” or “hey you,” try calling their name instead—you might notice a difference![10]
    Talk to Children Step 10 Version 2.jpg
    • You might say, “Luke, please pick up your toys before lunch” or “Jamie, grab your sweater before we head outside.”
    • If the child is distracted, say their name until they’re focused on you. Then, say what’s on your mind.

[Edit]Speak in a serious tone.

  1. A wishy-washy tone leads to a wishy-washy conversation. Kids hear more than just your words—they also hear how you say things. If you don’t sound serious, you probably won’t be taken seriously. Instead, strike a balance between gentleness and firmness, so the child understands that you aren’t angry, but also aren’t a pushover.[11]
    Talk to Children Step 11 Version 2.jpg
    • “Could you please put away your clothes before dinner?” is a lot firmer and direct than “Would you mind putting your clothes away sometime today?”

[Edit]Talk at a normal volume when you discipline your child.

  1. Yelling doesn’t achieve very much, even if the child is yelling as well. The more you shout, the more the child will learn to tune out your voice. Instead, speak calmly and respectfully in front of the child, so they understand that you’re serious.[12]
    Talk to Children Step 12 Version 2.jpg
    • For instance, instead of yelling “Get dressed for school!” from the kitchen, you might knock on your child’s bedroom door and say, “The bus will be here in less than an hour. Could you start getting dressed for school?”

[Edit]Choose positive words when speaking to your child.

  1. Negative language won’t resonate well with your child. Instead of saying what not to do, focus on what your child should be doing instead. Positive, encouraging language helps foster self-confidence, and will inspire kids to build better habits in the future.[13]
    Talk to Children Step 13 Version 2.jpg
    • Instead of saying “No playing in the kitchen,” you might say, “Go play in the living room where all your toys are.”
    • “I’m proud of you for sharing your toys” is much more positive and encouraging than “You shouldn’t be selfish.”

[Edit]Simplify the lectures you give your children.

  1. Long lectures don’t accomplish much in the long run. Instead of nagging and complaining about a certain task or chore, try simplifying your request to a single word. Your child will get the message without feeling belittled or patronized in the process.[14]
    Talk to Children Step 14.jpg
    • You might say, “Clara, the cat!” instead of saying “You were supposed to clean the litter box yesterday, and it’s still not done.”
    • You could say, “Kids, backpacks!” instead of saying, “I told you to pack your bags 5 minutes ago.”

[Edit]Offer lots of options to appease your child.

  1. Some kids don’t respond well to orders. Instead, break a task or command into a fun “this or that” scenario. Your child will be happier to play along when they feel in control of their decisions and routine.[15]
    Talk to Children Step 15.jpg
    • Instead of telling your child to pack their lunch, ask if they’d like a PB&J or a ham cheese.
    • Instead of asking your child to get dressed, give them different outfit options for the day.
    • Sometimes, there might not be any viable options to offer. That’s okay! Just offer alternatives when you can.

[Edit]Tips

  • Try setting aside some time for conversation each day, especially if you have a child at home. This is a great way to bond and connect with your young one, and gives them a healthy place to share their thoughts and feelings.[16]

[Edit]References

  1. https://www.edutopia.org/article/how-talk-children
  2. https://www.edutopia.org/article/how-talk-children
  3. https://www.edutopia.org/article/how-talk-children
  4. https://www.edutopia.org/article/how-talk-children
  5. https://childdevelopmentinfo.com/how-to-be-a-parent/communication/talk-to-kids-listen/#gs.z5vfp1
  6. https://raisingchildren.net.au/toddlers/connecting-communicating/communicating/communicating-well-with-children
  7. https://raisingchildren.net.au/toddlers/connecting-communicating/communicating/communicating-well-with-children
  8. https://raisingchildren.net.au/toddlers/connecting-communicating/communicating/communicating-well-with-children
  9. https://raisingchildren.net.au/toddlers/connecting-communicating/communicating/communicating-well-with-children
  10. https://childdevelopmentinfo.com/how-to-be-a-parent/communication/talk-to-kids-listen/#gs.z5vfp1
  11. https://childdevelopmentinfo.com/how-to-be-a-parent/communication/talk-to-kids-listen/#gs.z5vfp1
  12. https://childdevelopmentinfo.com/how-to-be-a-parent/communication/talk-to-kids-listen/#gs.z5vfp1
  13. https://childdevelopmentinfo.com/how-to-be-a-parent/communication/talk-to-kids-listen/#gs.z5vfp1
  14. https://www.tbcs.org/uploaded/Resources/Presentations/Tools_for_Success_16/How_to_Talk_So_Kids_Will_Listen.pdf
  15. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/parenting/wp/2017/02/15/how-to-talk-so-little-kids-will-listen-a-qa-with-the-author/
  16. https://raisingchildren.net.au/toddlers/connecting-communicating/communicating/communicating-well-with-children

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