8 Top Tips for Working with Kids

Dr. Lisa Hinkelman, author of GIRLS WITHOUT LIMITS

Whether they’re children under ten or teenagers who think they’re already adults, kids are difficult to deal with on a day to day basis. A range of jobs, from teacher to doctor, deal with society’s little darlings, and whilst Mum and Dad often present a multitude of problems, it’s controlling the kids when you’re on your own that can be really testing.

Here are 8 of our top tips to help you in working with kids, ensuring that both yourself and the children (or teens) in question get the most out of your interactions. You can even turn working with kids into a career. There are plenty of online courses that can help you make money and pursue your passion.

1) Project confidence

Confidence in your own abilities is incredibly important when working with children. Unless you project an aura of confidence and steely ability, there is no way you will command the attention of the children.

Stand up straight, act as though you’re a pro (even with things you’ve never done before) and you’ll sail through your time in charge. Your confidence may even give shy children the courage to step forward and take some responsibility, as they learn by example.

2) Don’t show weakness

If you give them an inch, anyone under 20 (and some adults will too!) will take a mile.

Make sure that you don’t give the children you’re working with any reason to discredit you as a figure of authority, and don’t let them see that they’re able to make you properly annoyed or upset.

3) Explain things

The phrase ‘because I said so’ is unlikely to get you very far. Children are often more switched on that we give them credit for, and if you give them a sensible or logical reason as to why you want them to do something, they’re much more likely to comply with your wishes.

4) Keep it fun

This is especially relevant if you’re not running a serious class or having to instil a sombre, important lesson into the children’s minds.

If you’re excited and lighthearted about an activity or concept, it’s far more likely that the kids will be excited about it too. Likewise, if you’re tired and grumpy, this is likely to rub off on those in your care.

5) Be prepared

Particularly if you’re running a class or workshop, come prepared with all the materials you need at the start of the class. If you’re constantly having to pop out to fetch various things during the class, don’t expect to be able to hold the attention of your pupils for a prolonged period of time.

6)  Don’t expect them to be prepared

If you’re planning on relying on materials and prepared work the children have done or brought themselves for a session, stop and think again. It’s a 50/50 chance whether they’ll have this work with them, so always have a backup plan to hand.

7) Positivity rubs off

Even if the kids are moody and negative, keep your spirits up and aim to project as much positive energy as you can. This will pay off in the long run, and however forced your happiness feels at first, the general mood of the group will soar upwards with your efforts.

8) Talk to them

When working with kids try not to view it as a chore, and take the time to actually talk to the children and hear what they have to say. Often their ruminations and ambitions will surprise you and could challenge you to think in ways you don’t usually.

Working With Kids: You Both Learn!

So there you have it – 8 ways to improve and enrich your experiences working with children (and learn from them!).

Stay positive, buoy them up and try to talk to them and treat them as adults where possible.  Remember to maintain your level of authority, and keep a professional distance at all times whilst working with children in your professional capacity.

Alexandra Jane writes for Inspiring Interns, which specialises in sourcing candidates for graduate jobs, including digital jobs.

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