How to Effectively Communicate with Children

Notice I did not say, “How to Effectively Communicate to Children.”  My wife often gives me a hard time (justifiably) for having monologues with myself and calling them conversations with her.  She (again, understandably) wants a two-way conversation.

Kids are no different.  This includes one-on-one conversation as well as communicating with large groups of children.  When I started speaking to (see, I do it too) kids years ago, I learned VERY quickly that you will lose the crowd of kids in about 3 seconds flat if you just stand up front and speak to them like a college professor lecturing students (who, by the way, aren’t paying attention to their professor either).

Kids (and college students) want interaction.  They want exchange of thoughts, ideas, and information.  They want to participate.  If I stand in front of a crowd of adults and ask for a volunteer for one of my tricks.  You know what they do?  They all quietly stare into the sky, trying with all their might not to make eye contact with me.  When I ask a group of children, “Who wants to be my volunteer?”, no less than 90 percent of the children will frantically wave both hands in the air (while jumping and shouting) for a chance to be a volunteer.  In fact, some of the kids get upset at the end of the show if they’re not picked!

Think about that and how it can change the way you interact with children.  Next time you’re connecting with a child or a group of children, find every way possible to involve them, have an equal exchange of ideas, and let them participate.

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Dr. Jesse Joyner travels nationwide as a speaker and entertainer. His primary role is that of a performing juggler spreading joy and the love of learning to family and kids events. H earned his PhD in Educational Studies at Trinity International University (Deerfield, IL). He enjoys playing the piano, bird watching, and old houses. He lives in Richmond, VA with his wife, Sarah, and their three kids - the perfect number for juggling children.