Back to School

Help!

Okay, so I don’t ask for much in this relationship (you and me). In fact, nothing. Selfless, I know. However, that’s all about to change. Today it’s all about me. The only child. I need a little help from you parent(y), teacher(y), great-with-kids(y) types. Some advice. Thanks. No pressure but you better come up with something good. ;)

Or I’m breaking up with you.

I’m like that.

Once Upon a Time…

Tomorrow, the professional speaker is reading his new children’s book to a couple of hundred five to seven year-olds at St. Michael’s Grammar School here in the thriving metropolis of Melbourne. Hey, why am I speaking in the third person?

Yes, why is he?

Anyway, I’m a little nervous. Didn’t expect to be, but I am. Weird. Speaking to auditoriums full of grown-ups? Fine. Talking on the telly? Fine. Radio? Fine. Working in prisons? Fine. Working with elite athletes? Fine. Writing for a large audience? Fine. Reading “The Angry Ant” to a room full of kids who could get bored, disinterested or confused at any moment? Not fine.

Pathetic, I know.

So, tomorrow is the first public ‘test-drive’ for my debut not-for-grown-ups book. Ironically, it’s been read by a dozen (or so) grown-ups who claim to like it but then, you and I both know that grown-ups often fib when it comes to giving feedback.

“No Craig, it doesn’t suck at all.”

Not only am I not a parent (almost positive on that) but being an only-child, I didn’t grow up in a house with other kids. Obviously. And despite having presented to well over a thousand audiences, I’ve never once spoken to a room full of five to seven year-olds. My ‘L’ plates are firmly in place. Good grief.

Okay, it’s your turn to teach me something. No pressure.

Let’s hear the gold. :)

If you liked this article, subscribe to my blog and receive my FREE eBook. Click here: I want a FREE eBook. If you’re interested in having me work with your organisation you can contact me here.

{ 84 comments… read them below or add one }

Kim February 29, 2012 at 3:33 pm

Plain & simple – just be yourself – they are gonna love ya!

Reply

Kim February 29, 2012 at 3:34 pm

Did I also forget to add that maybe wearing a bright skivvy say purple might bring you luck!

Reply

Craig February 29, 2012 at 3:39 pm

Thanks KIm.

Do I need to watch a Wiggles DVD before I go?

Reply

Kim February 29, 2012 at 3:43 pm

As both you & The Wiggles have something in common – your love of belting out a tune – maybe you could start with a song! Am I wrong to say break a leg or am I mixing up the professions!

Reply

Ian February 29, 2012 at 4:13 pm

Craig

I have 4 teenagers between me and my wife and I teach kids Martial Arts.

The best I have for you is “involve them”. If you just read front to back they will get bored and distracted. (Although I’m sure the content is good.)

Pause during the reading (every 5-7 mins in a physical class, maybe less in a reading class) ask them to show you their best posture, their best happy face. Ask the questions..

And of course pause and say nothing and just look around the room.. Keeps them wondering!!!

Best of all find ways to involve them..

The other option is to get the teachers to give them a packet of red jelly babies 30 mins before you turn up then see what happens.

Ian

Reply

JB March 1, 2012 at 3:18 pm

Excellent advice Ian!

Reply

Sandy Fishwick February 29, 2012 at 4:24 pm

You are big kid yourself so it should not be a problem.

Reply

Pet March 1, 2012 at 1:00 pm

YEH!!!

Reply

chebbieanne February 29, 2012 at 4:31 pm

Given that you were a child once [probably] try to see yourself as they will see you.
Sit down and dont wander around the room.
Ask questions and then try to engage them before you start to read the story.
Remember kids will see through anything fake. Tell them why you wrote the story and tell them you want them to tell you what they think about it. Stop and ask how its going at intervals [depending on how long your story is].
Please get it all on video – should be great to watch.

Reply

Suu February 29, 2012 at 5:28 pm

I hope it’s got scary bits (the book that is). Kids love being scared and slowly brought through to a happy ending.
Or I may be talking about what grownups like.
All the best.

Reply

Anonymous February 29, 2012 at 5:45 pm

I know nothing about children and nothing about public speaking. But my advice would be – don’t swear. And why not use the experience to understand how people feel when you ask them to step out of their comfort zone? Apart from that I know nothing, sorry (that’s useless isn’t it?). But kids enjoy being entertained just like adults do, so I’m confident it will go well even if you’re not.

PS Chebbieanne is right – it would be a great idea to get it on video.

Reply

Hayley H February 29, 2012 at 6:18 pm

Be a little silly and tone down the swearing, you’ll be great!

Reply

Kate February 29, 2012 at 6:57 pm

yep be yourself, be honest and don’t try to be funny.
Just enjoy the whole moment, I used to work in childcare many moons ago and I really loved reading stories, I miss it.
Watch out too, they will try and tell you all about something totally unrelated to the moment, just keep bringing them back.
good luck and enjoy,
cheers Kate

Reply

callie February 29, 2012 at 7:00 pm

Kids have excellent bullsh*t detectors. They can spot a fake at 100 paces. Just be yourself and have fun.

Reply

Dragon February 29, 2012 at 8:31 pm

Other than being yourself…

Watch out for the class clown, red herrings, the easily distracted kids, the really clever one who wants to guess the ending for everyone, not too fast and not too slow, change the tone in your voice, be quiet and then loud, fast and slow, really build the anticipation and use lots of facial expressions….that’s it off the top of my head anyway.

Good luck, it will be a blast !

Reply

Nikki February 29, 2012 at 9:33 pm

Congratulations!! Exciting stuff. A couple of hundred 5 – 7 year olds!!! Be nervous. Very very nervous. Nah just kidding (scuse the pun) You’ll be fine Craig, your funny and they will love you. Kids that age are easy to please. Besides, the script will be there in your hot little hands. Just read with expression!! Bet the book is great.

Reply

Lisa February 29, 2012 at 10:55 pm

They are just regular people trapped in small bodies. Have fun :)

Reply

sarahsarah February 29, 2012 at 11:55 pm

Good luck Craig you’ll do great. Show no fear and bring great energy! If you’re excited and engaged they will be too. Go get em tiger!!!

Reply

Pip March 1, 2012 at 12:35 am

Haha Craig, you will be a scream! After the book, just dress up as a clown, turn on some music and get them to show you their best most energetic version of dancing! Firstly, give a demo, then give them a song to practice and move aroud to, then give them all 15 secs of individual stage time and make them clap eachother after each performance!

Reply

larry March 1, 2012 at 1:21 am

Kids understand honest and love fun. Involve them be honest and have fun with them.

Reply

Nic March 1, 2012 at 1:35 am

Add a bit of animation. Sounds, different voices, movement etc. I have no idea what the book is about but if you can get in a fart noise they’ll remember you for ever.

Most Under 10′s aren’t connoissors of dry humour but the honest humour you use to engage adults like “im so excited ive done a little bit of wee” would be well recieved. If you get a heckler just ignore them and if it all goes badly name drop some of the sports people you’ve worked with. Kids won’t be the slightest bit impressed with your proffessional speaking carreer, the gym and empire, the books or even the radio show – but if you once met a footballer :) ….

Good luck and enjoy

Reply

Karen March 1, 2012 at 1:37 am

Just bounce off their energy. Release your inner child. Use expressions and get animated…but…Callie is right. Keep it real or you’ll lose them. Good luck x

Reply

kristen March 1, 2012 at 1:53 am

Little children are awesome and dont usually bite. Have fun!

Reply

Deb March 1, 2012 at 2:14 am

Be genuine. Kids (like adults) have bull-shit meters. If you talk to them where they are at…in a way that they can relate to…you’ll have them. They will LOVE your directness and your humor! You will be awesome. What will you get in return? The same….they do not sugar coat anything for you. That’s what is so refreshing about them!

Reply

nancy March 1, 2012 at 3:03 am

Perhaps start out with a silly kid joke…like a knock knock joke. Or a bit of Q and A..kids love to talk, especially about themselves!

Reply

sweetpea March 1, 2012 at 3:43 am

Okay Mr. Harper,

Be afraid. Be very afraid! There is some great advice above, but be mindful this is not just a small group, or a small class of little people, this is several hundred. Your facial expressions will only carry so far…(like any audience)
1. If you are on a stage? Get off it…and get down on their level.
2. With sooo many kids the decibel level, the shuffling, the putting hands up, the wanting to fidget or go out a pee… is the constant reminder, that this is to be the academy winning performance…
Hope you can use a microphone. If the answer is yes…this is the place to engage.

Tell the story brother. Use your best voice modulations, funny voices, or change for different characters. Use your dynamics…loud and soft… louder if they are drifting…Pause, look up and look at them… facial expressions….larger than life…

You have mini Einsteins in the pack… be cool… they will let you know by way chatter how goes it….

Don’t read to fast….or you will die…. Don’t read to slow… or the chatter will begin… and within seconds will rise to roar….

Sell your words…. If the characters in your book are funny and engaging…don’t just sit there…start by sitting and reading, to get them settled, and then spring to your feet if your character is doing something dramatic..

Most little ones have the attention span of a very small gnat. No doubt the teachers will have told them prior to your arrival what good kids they are, and how they should be… no talking, behave, be polite…some will do this in their efforts to conform….and be good..others… especially the boys need extra larger than life performance… (the teeny heckler) ahhh no swearing….. and they will be looking furtively at their minders…

They love the drama, the pauses, mix it up… take it to them…in voice and body language…

Be yourself…..yeh…true….but not your adult self… bring out all the magic and wonder and awe of your childhood self and you will have the best time…. you will slip into this like a warm bath…

You will giggle and smile….from the pit of your gut….when you hear them laughing…and squealing (yes squealing with deligt) no sound like it on earth.

Make the grand and dramatic entrance…. improvise if you have to…(the best bit) and be as nerdy as you want… modulate modulate…the soft bits…if you can hear a pin drop… well those little cogs are working…

PS. If you can get there early… and meet a couple of the kids in the front row… remember them by name…and mention them in question time…. first…then prompt for names…. everyone little tacker in the room will want to know you…(in the hope they too will get their names called…they want to please you… Beware of over excited five year olds….however…. you will be drowned out….stay in control….your instinct will kick in…..

Have a great and goofy time. You will smile all day long …..

.

Reply

Natalie NZ March 1, 2012 at 4:40 am

As a parent I can only say, don’t read to or at them, read with them! Involve them in the story, ask questions about what they think is happening. In teacher speak, engage them.

You’ll be fine :-)

Reply

Suec March 1, 2012 at 5:20 am

Hi Craig,

I am a mother and a teacher (working just down the road from St Michael’s if you need someone to come along and hold your hand but somehow I don’t think you do!)
I agree with those who said ‘Be yourself and involve them.’
Tell them that you need their help.
Tell them that they are very special because they’re going to help you with something that makes you just a little bit scared.
Tell them that you’re asking their help because you know that kids do really brave stuff all the time like going on scary rides, going to swimmining lesson, starting Prep and eating broccoli!
Tell that this is the first book you’ve ever written for kids and that they are the first kids to ever hear it.
Tell them you want them to listen very carefully and to tell you what they think at the end.
Have some give aways for great listeners and for great thinkers.
Ask the teachers in the room to be watching for who is going to get those give aways.
Relax, breathe and read your story with the same love and heart that it took to write it!
Enjoy youself!
Please let us know how you go….oh and by the way, have fun!
Suec

Reply

Brian C March 1, 2012 at 5:34 am

Hi Craig

I became a dad at quite an advanced age so know how you feel.

Children are little adults. if you communicate with them in language that they understand they will enjoy your message. Their attention span is shorter than adults so break your message up into bite size chunks. Kids love attention so connect with them individually. Kids don’t have a lot of the baggage that adults cart around so their responses are spontaneous and reflexive. You can read their reactions easily by watching their faces. Good luck , when can we (big kids) read your book?

Reply

Vanessa March 1, 2012 at 7:04 am

My son and his friends all love the Commando on Biggest Loser, and my youngest loves Sportacus – can you show off some of your skills? And just involve them. Think back to your favourite teacher at primary school – I bet they didn’t talk down to you or put on any kind of “for the kids” personality.

Oh, and it is true, they can smell fear, and you don’t want to let them get control of the situation. The stereotype of the party clown being attacked – It really happens.

Reply

KarenB March 1, 2012 at 7:11 am

Don’t talk down to them, or try to dumb down your reading and/or speech. If you think of them as little adults you will be fine.
Be as natural as possible.
Try to involve them, stop in a couple of places and ask if they can guess what is going to happen next. Don’t wait for answers, say ‘Put up your hand if you think XXX will happen.’ ‘Put up your hand if you think YYY will happen.’
Fingers crossed for you.
KB

Reply

Sherryl March 1, 2012 at 7:23 am

Craig, I’ve done lots of school visits and I can tell you – be yourself. Don’t feel you have to be a standup comedian or sing or dance. Little kids LOVE being read to, so practice reading your book with plenty of expression, and make sure you sit close to them (don’t stand over them) and show them the pictures.
Let them ask lots of questions (they will be very obvious, like why do you have big muscles maybe, or do you have a cat!! – or maybe why did you write the story) and you can ask them some too – if you have time, and there are things you’d like their opinion on. But don’t bother asking them if they liked the story because they will always say yes (and the naughty ones who say no for the hell of it will put you off your stride).
Good luck!

Reply

TangerineDream March 1, 2012 at 7:41 am

Simple……5-7 year olds love to be involved….to start, introduce yourself and then ask all of the kids to tell you their name (at the same time)…then say back to them (at 100 miles an hour)…”I’m pleased to meet you Michael, Jenny, Ralph, Fred, Annie, Mary, Tom, Cecilia, Maryanne, Vicki, Jeff…..etc…etc” Get them giggling and you’ve got them….you can always ask them “who wants to come with me for a ride into the AntWorld!!!” Bet you’ll get lots of ‘me”s!!!!

Good luck!

Use lots of animated body language to start, make sure they can all see you, even if you have to stand up, and read with ‘too much’ expression till you find the expression that you are comfortable with and which keeps the children involved…use suspense a couple of times……..you’ll have a ball – and if you are enjoying yourself…they will come along with you for the ride…..

Reply

Lu March 1, 2012 at 7:57 am

It’s good that you’re going this morning. Most kids are better and more focussed in the mornings.
Make sure they all sit nicely and are not distracted.
Read slowly with lots of facial expression.
Make frequent eye contact.
Smile.
Enjoy yourself and they will too!
Finally, I like to sing with kids under grade 5/6 so if you have a song that comes from the theme of the book that helps.
YOu will enjoy it more than you think! All those wide eyes fixed on you is so special.

Reply

Tracey B March 1, 2012 at 8:03 am

Hi Craig, I worked in child are for over 10years and work in a secondary school now. Here’s my advice:
Don’t show your fear – easy said but they are like sharks and can smell it.
Smile appear friendly, use various voices – then funnier the better ( try to keep track of how your characters sound), try to involve the kids and maybe pick helpers to turn pages or something. Remember to smile and look like you are having fun. RELAX
Good luck
Tracey

Reply

Craig March 1, 2012 at 8:06 am

Now that’s what I call great coaching! Thanks everyone. I appreciate it. :) x

Reply

Mezba March 1, 2012 at 8:09 am

One thing is for sure – If they don’t like you they will tell you with such innocent truth that you will not let it effect you at all!! I hope that you do give them time to give you feedback because they are a very,very honest group of people. Enjoy!!!

Reply

Christopher March 1, 2012 at 8:20 am

Hi Craig
looks like there have been lots of great comments already. I would like to add that you should be aware that kids don’t sit still for long like adults do. They will fidget and wiggle about and stuff like that and may look like they are not paying attention, but they will be hearing everything you are saying. It is only by the feedback through getting them involved and asking questions that you will know if they like it. So don’t be afraid of asking them how they like the story.

Reply

Melissa March 1, 2012 at 8:35 am

There is some really good advice given to you already, however I thought that seeing I use your advice very often, I would take the time to share some with you…

Don’t show fear – particularly in your voice, they will pick up on it and you will loose them from the beginning.

Show that you are having fun – kids pick up on adults moods and generally feed off that themselves. If you look like you are having a great time, they will feel it and take on that feeling.

If at any point you are trying to gain control of the crowd – use a deeper voice to gain attention. Kids repond better to a voice that is deeper than one that is high pitched (or banchy like).

Don’t speak too fast & use different voices for the different characters in the book. Kids love silly voices and you can have them laughing so hard with little effort.

I haven’t read the comments above, so if i have re-gurgitated others advice, sorry.

Have a blast, kids are fun, enjoy the new experience :)

Melissa

Reply

Penny March 1, 2012 at 9:02 am

If it’s a grown up spending time with them on something that’s fun, then they’ll love it even if the book is crap. Kids just love getting adult attention and from my own experience, love being read to.
Sadly, some not so subtle toilet humour goes a long way……
Relax and have fun, and so will they.

Reply

Kathy65 March 1, 2012 at 9:04 am

Having witnessed a stadium full of primary aged kids at a magician show recently, I noticed something really funny. Most of them were bored – despite the quality act, stunning models, great music and amazing magic tricks. I think TV has made them immune to anything amazing because they see it all the time.

During the break, a comedian came on and started with a toilet joke – you know the ones – the whole audience was captured, they laughed, clappped, joined in and were mesmerized.

Afterwards, all my guys could talk about were the fart jokes. They remember nothing of the magician :)

So throw a bit of toilet humour in to start with to get their attention.

Reply

Kathy March 1, 2012 at 9:07 am

Hi Craig

My experience with kids is to be yourself be honest, kneel down to their size is good too …… they will love you ! your honesty and openness has inspired me
Have a fun day
Kathy

Reply

John March 1, 2012 at 9:07 am

Hey we were all kids once Craig ! Innocent, short attention span just like having fun is what I think I remember it was like ….so have fun with the kids…..grab their attention….if you love it they will !!!

Good Luck !!

John

Reply

Judy March 1, 2012 at 9:08 am

Welcome to the world of “teaching”.
As a high school teacher for 24 years I have learned that when you are reading to any age child it is important to read slowly and with a dynamic voice—add the sound effects, voice changes in pitch & tone and most of all—SMILE!

There is an amazing connection when storytelling with children; they can tell when you are authentic. They want to know what happens next, don’t all of us?

I envy you on your journey into this new world. And I look forward to seeing and reading your book.

All the way over in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA-

Judy

Reply

Lisa March 1, 2012 at 9:09 am

SMILE AT THEM! Make sure your body language is open – like a big group hug. Stop at the appropriate places, look them in the eyes and SMILE or laugh or make a goofy face…whatever makes sense at the moment. Just love ‘em and they’ll love you back!

P.S. I teach high school kids, and I’m an only child, too, but kids are kids….it’ll work!
Lisa

Reply

Sarah March 1, 2012 at 9:10 am

Ok, not much time to prepare…..
The most important thing is to be yourself. Relax……………. ommmmmm…………., think positive, this time with some kids will be so much fun, and it will be for you and them! I know you and enjoy your sessions, so why wouldn’t kids!
Make a joke about something that went wrong that morning, something simple like putting your undies on the wrong way around or you spilled your breakfast down your shirt laughing while reading the comics in the newspaper. Hope you dont have beetroot and other vege smoothies like me. Shows you are human like them.
When you are reading the book you could stratch your head, then turn the book to the kids and ask them what one of the bigger words is, they would love that. Some good reader in the audience would know what it is i’m sure.
After the book reading, see if you can sit in the next session with them, that could be a lot of fun too.
Best of all, ask the teacher what she thinks, I’m sure she will have other ideas!
Good luck! Love your emails!!!!

Reply

Alicia March 1, 2012 at 9:11 am

My suggestion would be to make eye contact with them, and make funny and different voices when reading: change your intonation accordingly and don’t be afraid to be a fool! Kids like people who are genuine and comfortable with themselves. Concentrate on having fun! And let us know how it goes,
Alicia the School Counselor :)

Reply

SHAD March 1, 2012 at 9:11 am

Kids love to sing, be loud, clap hands and be goofy
Don’t worry, it will be fun & you’ll smash it :)

Reply

Clare March 1, 2012 at 9:24 am

Everyone has given great feedback! I have met you before in a few different scenarios (PT training, keynote speaking and one on one) and I reckon you will be great at speaking to kids. I have 4 kids, 5 and under. They love honesty, animation and humour and you have all of those qualities :D

It would be great if you could record it and upload it to the site so we can all see *wink*

Good Luck!

Reply

M@ March 1, 2012 at 9:29 am

Craig,

as a professional kids entertainer, i concur with a lot of the good advice above. I have built my various shows over the years around two key principles:

1. IPM – the key to engaging kids – Interactions Per Minute. The higher the IPM, the better the engagement, and you will hold their attention stronger, and for longer. Interactions consist of any involvement by the audience in your performance (and storytelling IS a performance). It could be questions, movement, actions anything – something that makes them respond and partake in what’s going on.

2. The ‘Disney Factor’ – kids are not the only members of your audience. Parents are the ones who will fork out for whatever you are selling, so you need to engage with them too. Disney know this, and it was drilled into me years ago when I worked for them. Think of any Disney film, and you will see that the performance works on a number of levels with humour and learning that works across them all.

So: Keep the kids engaged by high IPM, and keep the adults engaged by ensuring they are involved as well.

Good luck – let us all know how it goes.

M@

Reply

Nycole March 1, 2012 at 9:29 am

Honey, show no fear!!!! Kids can smell it and will feed off it ;) oh, and have fun.

Reply

Sue (Jacksmum March 1, 2012 at 9:41 am

Don’t just read it – Act it!
Really get into the book and involve the kids as much as you can. Make it fun and entertaining with lots of silly voices and facial expressions. Use your hands, stand up – act the clown and enjoy the moment.

If you show you love the book, chances are they will too – enthusiasm is contagious :)

Good luck (not that you need it) Just let yourself shine Craig and all will be well. xxx

Reply

Natalie March 1, 2012 at 9:57 am

Just watch what Arnie did in Kindergarten Cop for a tip or two….Don’t show you are afraid or they will eat you alive.

Reply

Stephanie March 1, 2012 at 10:00 am

Kids are the best bullsh*t detectors. Don’t try too hard to impress them and try to win them over. Be yourself (the funny guy), because if you try to be someone you are not, they will not connect with you. Kids know when you are being authentic or not. They are also alot smarter than you generally give them credit for, so don’t patronise them…. Good luck!

Steph

Reply

Jenny March 1, 2012 at 10:19 am

Hi Craig,
Just be yourself, and don’t treat the kids like they are kids! Speak to them and treat them like the people they are. They hate being patronised. Although they do love a spectacle to keep them staring at you – lots of noise and colour! And of course, a little humour – with kids, toilet humour NEVER gets tired ….
Good luck.

Reply

Ken March 1, 2012 at 10:25 am

Hi Craig,

Show them you are rapt to be with them and DAG it up a bit. I have always found kids find great joy in adults who don’t take themselves too seriously! (AKA most of us with the mortgage, the job, the spouse etc).
I hope it is one of your great days!
Best wishes
Ken

Reply

Rob March 1, 2012 at 10:31 am

Kids are easy. There is nothing to worry about. They will judge you on who you are. Oh, and don’t worry about the reading, they most likely won’t listen to any of it.

Reply

Fe March 1, 2012 at 10:32 am

Melissa is right!!! And was to be my only words of advice. kids are like dogs. They can smell fear – especially in a group. And when they do – you’re stuffed!!! I went to one of your workshops once. Everyone was there milling about waiting, waiting….then there was this booming random OYYYYYY! from the back of the room. And it was you – it was cool – because it was unexpected. Do that. Although not too loud.

Reply

Soph E March 1, 2012 at 10:33 am

Pretty sure they will love u but if u hit an awkward moment slip in any of the following words: poo, fart, bum, stinky bum, wart face, wee wee head. U will love it once u get that first laugh. Oh and pick your nose… They will be.

Reply

Catherine March 1, 2012 at 10:59 am

Hi Craig,
Here is it from a mother of 4;
1. Wear something colourful and interesting ie. not a navy suit and tie. Weird hat, oversized glasses maybe.
2. Make sure you put plenty of animation into your reading – pull lots of faces, arm waving etc
3. If you can get them to laugh in the first 60 seconds you will have them in the palm of your hand. Mild toilet humour ie. stinking farts etc usually works well.
Good luck :-)

Reply

Lisa March 1, 2012 at 11:09 am

All great advice above Craig, as a mother, a teacher and a kids sporting coach for more than half my life, all I can say is that you just need to make any effort to not doing ANYTHING different to what you do every day. The reason we all love what you do and how you do it is because you say it like it is. For some adults that’s confronting and scary but for kids that’s all they know. They haven’t been corrupted by experience so they will love you just telling it like it is (and I agree with the previous suggestions of a burp or a fart joke if you can get away with it – to a 5 year old that’s gold!). Just give them yourself as you are and all the same enthusiasm and passion that you invested in writing your book and they’ll love you. Can’t wait to hear how it goes. Have a ball!!!

Reply

Kate M March 1, 2012 at 11:14 am

I think you’ve got every reason to be nervous! :) Toughest audience on earth. They won’t be polite and they have an intuitive ‘Bullshit Detector’. However, since you are always genuinely you (seems that way anyway), I think you’ll be well received. Good luck :)

Reply

amanda March 1, 2012 at 11:22 am

I like how all these people care about you Craig!!

I hope you have a wonderful time at the reading.

Amanda
p.s I’m looking forward to seeing the video also (no pressure)!!

Reply

Helen March 1, 2012 at 11:30 am

Loads of great advice here, and its repeated that kids pick up if you’re being fake.
So I “ditto” all of those that say: be yourself. Then only use the suggestions you feel comfortable with – which I’m sure you would anyway.
Not sure about the suggestion to dress up as a clown, lots of kids hate them!
Go well Craig

Reply

Kathleen March 1, 2012 at 11:33 am

Craig, all you have to do is be funny! Kids love humour. If you can get them to laugh then you’ll have them in the palms of your hands. A bit of slap-stick and a smidge (not smudge) of toilet humour will have their complete attention.

Reply

Erin of Alice March 1, 2012 at 11:34 am

Maybe depending on how many kids will be there, can you use a projector to show the page on the screen so they can all see it? If they are up the back of the class they may not be able to see the pages from there….

Reply

Anonymous March 1, 2012 at 11:40 am

Hi Craig,
Maybe this information may help you for you initiation. :) )
“Fortunately, the things in your world only have the meaning, power and influence that you allow them to have. Every day, you get to label your experiences (positively or negatively). You can get angry and frustrated or you can get educated and enlightened. You can overcome or you can be overcome. You can rationalise your self-pity or you can be the change. You can think more or do more. It’s all a choice.
In other words, you can make shit hard. Or not. ”
Gee, wonder who told us that!

Reply

Jc March 1, 2012 at 11:54 am

When I read stories to my kids, they like when I change my voice for the characters in the story.

Also, I believe that your tone of voice has alot to do with how they will like the story…

My two cents…

Reply

Craig March 1, 2012 at 12:05 pm

I can’t believe how many of you have told me to include a fart joke!

Too funny.

Thanks for your help everyone – there’s some great advice. :)

Reply

Stew March 1, 2012 at 12:19 pm

You need to paint a picture of the story through your reading. Make it fun. Read the story passionately. Use a prop, for example, if there is farting in the story use a whoopee cushion. Please let us know how you go. Good luck.

Reply

Stephen March 1, 2012 at 12:53 pm

Craig having dealt with kids in groups, if they sit on the floor sit on a chair that is fractionally higher than them, so you are looking at them and not down on them, look out for the sabator in the crowd, dont fake it or you wont make it give them some silly faces, fart jokes as mentioned, but most of enjoy, they have no preconcieved ideas about you but if you stuff up they are the best critics going, just remember when you were a kid things you did that mum didnt like but you could get away with, thats what kids love and they will love you for it

Reply

Garry March 1, 2012 at 1:06 pm

Congratulations CH, the book is going public. Well done.

With little people (kids) I find if you engage them strategically in the function of the moment they will reciprocate. Ask them a few “what do you like” type questions before you start; then you can set your tone and asides comments around ‘what they like’ even though it maybe moves away from the script of the book a little bit.
Most probably they don’t want to here someone read them another book (they get that all the time where they are), They want to be entertained; your story book might help that but, your asides and questions asked of them along the way will be more entertaining for little people.
I am a Granpa and have been at schools (not a teacher) and coaching little people for over 35 years; in your mind, be one of them, but in control.
We all want to hear how you go, Relax and GOOD LUCK!

Reply

Nicole March 1, 2012 at 2:46 pm

I have 4 kids and yep I am scared of talking to big bunches of kids. They move around and make noises that adults dont!!! Keep them engaged by asking questions that link in with your topic, Most 5-7 yr olds love soccer, Star Wars, Pokemon, maybe Ballet for the girls, they are not really sophisticated and in my view are still very young children, so speak at a pace they will follow and I would say keep it simple. And smile at them which I think you will!!! Yes sadly they will enjoy a fart joke. My 6 yr old would find that hilarious :-) You will be gorgeous!!

Reply

Anonymous March 1, 2012 at 2:54 pm

Well??? We are busting to find out how you went??

(and would love to see a video of your morning with the kids) :-D

Reply

RoxbyMum March 1, 2012 at 2:56 pm

Well?? how did you go?

We are busting to find out how to got on this morning?

(and it would be lovely to see a video of your morning, too)

:-D

Reply

Maylene March 1, 2012 at 3:50 pm

Craig,
Remember being a 5 – 7 year old yourself? Short attention span. Keep it snappy. Don’t talk down to them and be yourself. They can spot a fake miles off. Have fun.
Maylene.

Reply

Craig March 1, 2012 at 3:53 pm

Okay, so I’m done. Phew. :)

Thankyou, thankyou, thankyou.

Your advice was (genuinely) helpful. I survived and yes, they were all very cute and very kind to the big scary man with no hair. Kids are ace.

So, I spoke to two groups – grade ones and preppies (five year-olds) and I gave myself a 6 (out of 10) for the first effort with the grade ones and an 8 with the preppies. I think I loosened up a little as the morning rolled on.

Teachers are special people. I have a new found respect for you all.

I’ll post some cute photos next week. :)

Reply

Annie March 1, 2012 at 4:42 pm

Hi Craig,

Just at my emails now …………. fantastic advice and support from everyone. Glad all went well. I know and you know that I’m on a mission – I still would like to encourage you to address the adolescents – book, video, whatever you can create. I know I use bits and pieces with young people from your website – sometimes just a bit too difficult for them. I hope that the your experience with little ones gives you the boost to address the 10 -14 and 14 – 18. My kids always loved working with you.
Great work.

Annie

Reply

Sue (Jacksmum March 1, 2012 at 4:46 pm

So pleased the day went well :)

Reply

Cheryl March 1, 2012 at 5:12 pm

Craig I am so please all went well (there was never any doubt). You may not realise it but the child in you is often evident in your posts because you are real and honest and that is exactly what you were I am sure with the kids.
So exciting to be part of your journey. God continues to work in all of us and finding the child within is when we come full circle to the understanding and acceptance of all we were created to be.
Love and Blessings
Cheryl

Reply

Tracey Ph March 1, 2012 at 7:00 pm

Well done, armed with great support and advice you did it. Congratulate yourself, you deserve it. Now what are you planning next :) T

Reply

Mezba March 1, 2012 at 10:22 pm

Can’t wait to see how you went. Please report ASAP.

Reply

Scotty March 2, 2012 at 10:38 am

errm…ask for questions and input. Validate the response, move forward. Works with my kids. Keeps them engaged in whateva.

Scotty

Reply

himej_les March 5, 2012 at 10:54 am

Ok Craig, the cynic in me says, Here is a new opportunity to find out the base of my (Craig’s) readership?? As far as i know, the adult audience too can be a little daunting considering that we can all have preconceived ideas about motivational speakers!! LOL :)

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: