How do you carry on a conversation with a kid?

Uh huh… HMMmmm! You don’t say! Neato. mmm hmmm. Uh huh. that’s nice. Wow, good girl!
Nice job! Really! Oh good.

My granddaughter is four, that’s about all you can fit in once she starts rolling. And as the link another poster shared above suggests, you don’t want to argue with them. Besides she’s the kind of kid that doesn’t really care, as long as it’s all about her, or even if you’re agreeing with her, she likes to be a little lawyer and disagree or be bossy about EVERYTHING anyone else says. :slight_smile: (yes, we’re working on that).

I don’t really.

I ask how they’ve been, how school is going, if any thing exciting has happended, their opinion on the most recent big news story - well, nothing like Tuscon or Domododevo …

Most of the time they wander away. Sometimes they adore me.

No kidding. A child describes Winnie the Pooh. There is nothing in the world that I feel as passionate about as that little girl feels about Winnie. I couldn’t muster that much enthusiasm telling you about the time I had sex with Starbuck in the back of an F1 car racing around the moon.

I try to talk to children of all ages like I do adults. I never make personal remarks, just (age-appropriate) small talk and jokes, usually they open up a lot after a little of that because another adult isn’t interrogating them or treating them like they’re stupid, and then we can talk about the things they are interested in, or play games and joke around.

Kids usually seem to like me.

My SO’s two little (adopted late in life) sisters are 8 and 13. The 8 year old likes showing me her Wii games and really likes playing with me too; I’m another adult she can school.

Also, can I just say that this game (only like $10 at Target) might be the best invention since the wheel and the telephone. They’re the perfect age, too - and will adore it. The 8 year old loves it and even the 13 year old likes it well enough. If nothing else, get this game and play it with them. Have a few drinks (and have your BIL and SIL have a few too) and it’ll be even more hilarious for you.

Kids like being taken places. Most trips involve going to doctor’s appointments, school, sports practices, Target and the grocery store. Take them somewhere fun, like the museum or laser tag or bowling (laser tag especially for inactive kids). Take them to the library if they don’t get to go often; check out books and DVD’s. Go to the YMCA and swim around all day. I think these things naturally create conversations (also, the parents would probably enjoy some alone time for…you know. Things. And they’d appreciate a phone call just before you pull into the driveway on your return).

I think kids see adults family members as very cool people because 1) they’re safe, they’re family members 2) they can take you places 3) they will probably take you places and do things with you that your parents don’t do.

ETA: not a parent, just a person who interned at a Children’s museum a few years back and who hangs out one weekend night with the 8 and 13 year old.

Just be honest. Children have a much stronger bullshit detector than adults. If you are showing fake interest, they’ll know.

Making small chat with kids is generally easier than with adults: they advertise their interests. With the toddlers, you don’t even need to be verbal… exaggerated expressions (not scary ones, just being more expressive than you normally would, same as they are), facial gestures, looking at them and then “hiding” after the back of the seat in front of yours. I’ve had “conversations” with toddlers with whom I didn’t have a single word in common :slight_smile:

With older kids, they’re likely to wear items related to a favorite character or series, or you get information from them or their parents about school, after-school activities or hobbies. Bandaids are also a source of conversations: my 5yo nephew seems to have one somewhere every time I see him. The last time, I gained several points’ worth on account of trimming the ungainly one on the tip of his finger to a length which was still protective without being in the way. “Do you like pink?” or “I’m not familiar with that animal on your T-shirt, what is it?” are phenomenal leading questions for the younger crowd.

The biggest point is, I think, respecting them, and that implies listening to what they have to say, asking for clarification when there is something you don’t understand (what? grownups don’t know everything!), being willing to answer their questions (up to and including the dreaded “huh, I don’t know that either”) - and letting them not-talk if they don’t want to. One of my pet peeves as a kid was grown-ups who tried to pass as if they knew everything when they absolutely did not… it shows, but IME the kids with the tons of questions prefer “I don’t know” to “because it is so.” The ones who don’t have a ton of questions are likely to be even easier: they love talking, so you just have to ahum at the right spots (just like my mother, so I have tons of practice there).

Talking with verbal kids and adolescents is easy. Just treat them like short adults. Seriously, they will actually respond by talking “Up” to you and are super fun to interact with. Imagine that one crazy artist guy you know? Yeah they are like that but on steroids. Kids are cool.

I just want to thank you for sharing this, because it has started my day off with a huge smile.

Talking to kids is easy. I usually join in an activity with them, or ask them about what they’re doing, and let them talk. Usually they’ll go on and on. Older kids are harder sometimes because they have decided grownups are lame. I ask about school, about activities, and usually it’s more about playing with them than talking to them.

Star Wars according to a 3-year old.

All these are awesome. I’m totally taking notes for my nephews. lindsaybluth, that game looks like a blast to play with kids, and even better, with kids of differing ages.

And this:

is going to be worth its weight in gold when we’re on the plane with our 1-year-old.

Let us know how Headbandz and the whole visit goes! :slight_smile:

This. It sounds like OP is talking about adolescents. They’re self consumed (unlike us adults :dubious: ). I’m thinking of one of my favorite aunts when I was a teenager. Always with a big smile, she’d just say “really? Cool!”

In retrospect, she hadn’t the fuckdest idea what I was talking about… but it was nice of her. And, in later years, she became a source of wisdom… or at least perspective.

Agreed. Works with adults, too.

I’ll talk to kids about whatever they want to talk about.

When I was a kid, it was always “Children are to be seen and not heard.”

They like it when you tell them to pull your finger.

Legos. Cars. Mario. Sponge Bob. Diego.

Those are the 5 topics that a 6 year old and an 8 year old talked about nonstop for 3 hours. Those kids love me.

Heh, my 5 year old son came home from grandma’s, sat me down, and acted out the entire plot to “how to train your dragon” over a period of about two hours - complete with interpretive dances at the most exciting places.

It made no sense whatsoever, but it was sure interesting to hear (and see).

A good rule for starting conversations (with adults as well as kids) is, “Ask questions that require more than a one-word answer.” For example, “How’s school?” “Fine.” Conversation’s dead. So instead, go with, “What are you learning about in school?” and follow that up with more questions about whatever the answer is.

I find it truly difficult talking to my 4-year-old nephew. If I talk to him like I would an adult, he cries.