As an early 30-something male in Singapore, I am now in the age group where all my friends/family are starting have kids.
As a somewhat awkward techie, being around kids can be a slightly stressful event. My very first “proper exposure” to kids was when I visited my cousin during my spring break. He has 2 boys. One aged around 3, the other was still in the crawling stage.
It was pretty standoffish at first but I slowly warmed to them (and they to me!). Since then, I’ve had quite a few years to figure this little conundrum out: How do you get kids to like you? While it’s not paramount that every kid I meet must like me, it does help to know how to behave around them. And I think I’ve figured it out.
Admittedly, it doesn’t always work.
It takes a while to read their moods and know when silly works. But the more times you do it, and come in contact with said baby/child, the easier it is to get along with them.
And that’s all there is to it! In fact, the sillier you are, the better. The best thing about kids is that they are totally un-bias and non-judgemental. So, there is no need to feel embarrassed or shameful or as we like to say in Singapore, paiseh when interacting with kids.
Here are some things that I do that breaks the ice and establishes rapport:
- Fist bump/high-5
- Ask to borrow their toys and talk about their toys
- Balance stuff on your head
- Make funny voices when talking to your friend (the parent of the child) and go back to a serious “normal” voice when talking to them (or vice versa)
- Destroy things around you. They love this one!
As someone who is generally very laid back, I wonder if being around kids, brings out my own inner child too.