Every one of us has been a child. And as children, we all know there are two kinds of adults: There are those who get it, who know how to talk, play, imagine, and explore like a kid. And there are, well, the rest of them. The excruciatingly boring ones, the ones who terrify us into swearing, cross our hearts, that we’ll never turn into that kind of grown up. The kind that sent Peter Pan hightailing it for Neverland as fast as Tinkerbell could take him.
You may be an adult now, one who pays bills and takes vitamins and reads about the things politicians say, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have high-quality, meaningful interactions with the kids in your life, whether they’re your own or simply the kids next door. Here are three places to start:
Ask different questions
Dinner table or car ride conversation is often stunted. Kids are great at one word answers to typical daily questions like “How was your day? Did you learn anything cool in school today?”
And every kid gets the same two questions when they see adults who are not their parents. “How old are you now?” and “How’s school?”
So mix it up! Here are some great conversation starters to ask (and answer) when you’re hanging out with kids.
- If you were invisible for a day, what would you do?
- If you could, what type of animal would you be?
- If you could make up a brand new school subject, what would it be?
- If you could make up a new holiday, what would it be?
- If you could put frosting on any food in the world what would it be?
- If you could trade places with anyone for one day, who would it be?
- If someone wrote an article about you in your school’s newspaper, what would you want them to say?
We can use the word ‘exercise’ loosely here. The key is to move around, get the endorphins flowing, and have fun.
Play the kids your favorite dance song, and let them choose one, too. Race up and down the driveway a few times. Bust out some old-school jumping jacks or a jump rope. Even 5 minutes is enough to get the blood pumping and some giggles happening.
Massage each other
Massage does not have to be a big complex endeavor. It can be quick and easy, and you can do it just about anywhere. Watch this video together, and practice massaging each other and incorporating stoy telling.
Create your own stories to make it even more fun. This type of anywhere, anytime massage is especially great for kids with anxiety. Try it at bedtime, or in the morning before school, or even in the waiting room at the dentist.
There you have it! Three ways to be the cool adult in your favorite kid’s life!