How to survive hanging out with 6th graders

The now senior class (23) from back when they were 6th graders.

photo provided by Cade Nelson

The now senior class (’23) from back when they were 6th graders.

When you try to interact with people either older or younger than you, you are always bound to run into issues. Whether it’s the fact that you don’t understand your senior’s jokes or try to unravel an elementary schooler’s brain to understand the reference that they just made, it can be hard to have true, honest conversations. So if you ever find yourself in a room full of 6th graders, here are some tips to help you seem cool. You can use these tricks on your little siblings, kids you babysit, or wherever you find kids in the wild.

1. Try to talk to them about things that they care about. This trick is hard if you don’t actually know the kid, so you can always start with asking them what their favorite color is, favorite food, or video game. Sometimes they will just tell you with one word, so try to ask engaging questions in which they will have to give you a long answer. 


2. Listen to what they have to say, especially if they are excited about something. Whether it be a new cool toy or something that is happening in their lives, always take the time to listen to them. The best conversations are ones in which both people get to talk for extended amounts of time. Try your best to listen and ask questions along the way to truly get to know your little friend. 


3. If they are younger, they are very impressionable, so you can tell them silly things that they are bound to believe or they try to explain to you why it isn’t true. Whether it be telling them that a whale lives in the lake, named Fred of course, or that you saw a unicorn this morning when walking to school or work, this one works the best for large groups of kids as they can agree amongst themselves whether they believe you are lying or not. Either way, it gets them talking and interacting with you and their peers as they try to explain to you that, Idaho, is in fact, a real state. 


As you may have found out by now, these tips can help you have nice conversations with people of every age, not just kids younger than you. Try to listen the best you can, ask questions to show them that you are listening, and try to engage them with things that you like or that you both have in common. If you do this, you will find that you will start to have better conversations with everyone around you. From the kid down the street, to maybe even your mom or grandparents, these are some great ways to have intriguing conversations.