02/28 2011

How to Talk to a Child

Talking to children can be intimidating and strange, like talking to a small little person who is kind of dumb. But this handy guide will show you how to successfully comport yourself if you suddenly find yourself mid-conversation with little Jimmy or young Sally.

  1. Approach the child. But be careful. Pay attention to factors such as whether you’re wearing a priest outfit or the child’s eyes are glowing blue like those kids in that movie.
  2. Make sure the child can understand speech. Newborns or freaks without ears aren’t worth the effort. Also, be careful with kids from other countries because they don’t always teach English in places like England.
  3. Talk to the child like an adult. Instead of freezing up because you are talking to a six-year-old, and you don’t know what six-year-olds are into these days, close your eyes and visualize yourself talking to a 68 year old businessman named Saul or your great Aunt Harriett. Use the same conversational gambits you would deploy when talking to boring old people. Say things like “Take a beating in the stock market lately, Jimmy?” or “Sally, how are you doing on the Boniva?” The young child you are talking to will respect you for treating him or her like an adult, and appreciate your interest in their opinions about high finance and/or osteoporosis treatment options.
  4. Tell the child how much cooler than their parents you are. Talk to Sally about how if only she was your little girl you would buy her a pony. Tell Jimmy that only nerds listen to their parents about wearing a helmet and pads when skateboarding.
  5. Give the child a quarter. Sometimes, children just have quarters hanging out of their ears. If so, give Sally or Jimmy one of those. They won’t know the difference.
  6. Tell the child goodbye. Don’t inform Jimmy or Sally of the favor they now owe you until he/she is a little older.

TIPS

  • If the conversational techniques listed above don’t seem to work, your only option is escape. Assume an expression of surprise, point behind the child and say something like “Hey, is that a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle?” All young children love teenage mutant ninja turtles. When the young child turns around to greet his or her ninja reptile buddy, walk quickly in the other direction. Do not run. Children can sense fear.
  • Whatever you do, do not invite the child into your van. People frown on this practice for some unknown reason.
  • No matter how juvenile he or she may seem, a 36-year-old is not a child.