Considering I’m a children’s book author, I thought I was a pretty kid-friendly person. I may not feel comfortable taking care of kids, but surely I’m capable of interacting with them, right? But the more I interact with kids, the more I learn. If you’re a writer who’s conscious about being kid-friendly but aren’t around kids regularly, maybe my musings here can be of use. On the other hand, if you’re a parent, teacher, or otherwise interact with kids often, feel free to add your own insights in the comments! I appreciate all the help I can get. 😉
- Do not put yourself down in front of kids, such as calling yourself stupid. Sometimes I don’t feel on top of the world, either, but these negative thoughts and emotions are better shared with trusted adults. The little ones in your life might look up to you more than you know and dream about someday attaining your level of coolness. If you beat yourself up in front of them, you may inadvertently discourage them from their own dreams.
- That said, do be real with them. Haul out that binder bursting with rejection letters and let them see how many you got before your first publication. I think some people (not just kids) like the idea of being a writer more than actually writing. The path to producing good work isn’t always easy, but it’s also part of growing up.
- Even if kids think you’re incredibly cool and see you as a role model, they might not articulate how they feel. Don’t let this discourage you. While some kids might react to you in fangirl or fanboy mode, others might feel intimidated and/or become shy around you. Others may simply express themselves in a way that you are not expecting.
- Be considerate to parents, too! If a seller calls out to kids and gets them interested in an item for an inexpensive price, the parent might look like a bad guy for not buying the item for the kids. If kids wander up to your table at a signing or a convention, be friendly and interact, but when parents are present, pitch to the parents and respect their decisions.