How to talk to children (even if you don’t have any)

Don’t ask her what she did at school: that’s like asking an adult what they did in 2014. Here’s some conversational advice for the child-free and child-fearing

I’ll level with you. Kids used to scare the bejesus out of me. (As a rule, I’m wary of anything that’s smaller and faster than me; see also woodlice.) I don’t have children, but most of my pals have gone down the parenthood route, and I’m a stupidly proud auntie. With busy friends, kids soon became part of the package when we made social plans – and the size/age of friends’ offspring became a gauge of how much time had passed since we saw each other.

But I can’t say I enjoyed talking to kids, or felt particularly good at it. It didn’t come naturally. I’d find myself morphing into an unrecognisable weirdo, swinging between Victorian school ma’am and simpering desperado. When I did speak, I had a voice that was three octaves higher and not even my accent. I wanted to be Uncle Buck; the reality was more Nanny McPhee.

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Family | The Guardian

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