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Young kids. How to bond with laughs 2011/12/16 09:30
Hello Ladies & Gentlemen.

I'm off to see my Japanese girlfriend's family for the first time, and yes.... I'm nervous! Which most ''serious relationship'' should be, because we all care how it might, or could affect our partner's relationship if you don't get on with her family.

I'm sure everything would be fine, and I know it will be. However, I like to give a good impression. The problem is not just meeting her parents, but her older siblings who all already married with kids.

The problem I have here is.... I never have much, or should I say experience to look after kids, or had a chance to bond with kids (between 2-5 years of age). Not to mention I don't speak Japanese, therefore much it's rely on body language, which is fine, cause that's how very young kids respond to by feelings, movement, visuals.

I have been with my own country's friends kids before (hour or two, rarely,...hmm... hardly at all), and I observe how they treat their own kids,..... to be honest.... most will listen to their child and give what they want, in a spoiled way, but not real fun and laughs. Oh dear.... I will get in trouble if they knew what I was thinking, of course.... that's my own deeper opinions, and not my business to judge or say anything. Since I'm not a father or anything. Apologies if I offended.

There aren't many questions been asked in Japan Guide in this form, so I like to hear your opinion.... ''how to entertain a child or a group of kids''.

I know a couple of finger hand tricks that might make them laugh or curious.

But what can I do to have more fun with them?

A smile and a cute stare competition?

Sit at their eye level to make them feel more comfortable?

I need suggestions!!!

Any parents out there know a few tricks?

thank you for reading!

P.S. This will be in Japan. I wonder if it's ok to do potato prints in the parent's house.... oh.... no..no..no... bit messy! XD
by Daigoro_Ogami (guest)  

Re: Young kids. How to bond with laughs 2011/12/16 22:08
You're over thinking and attempting to over plan this whole experience.

All you have to do is be yourself.

Unless your natural self is a scary and unfriendly individual, in which case, pretend to be someone else.

Whatever you do, you will be the funny gaijin. Play along with it - let them giggle at your funny face and touch the hair on your arms.

Ask them to show you their kancho skills. That's sure to make you popular!
by Sarumo Kikara (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Young kids. How to bond with laughs 2011/12/17 01:30

Are you gonna bring along snacks or toys as gifts from home? Then no problem.
by Uco (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Young kids. How to bond with laughs 2011/12/17 02:43
Food items and toys will normally do it, but don't go overboard with expensive things because gift-giving in Japan sets up a vicious cycle of expectations regarding obligatory gifts in return. Seriously, you do not want to start this.

Also, be prepared for the possibility that some of the kids might be afraid of you. Just remember that this is not about you and if they don't want to bond with you, you should respect their privacy and stay out of their face. A lot of adults aren't that great with children and there is no need for you to try to be something you aren't. How well you relate to the adults is a lot more important.
by Uma (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Young kids. How to bond with laughs 2011/12/17 06:55
@ Sarumo Kikara

Cheers for the advice, although I'm not really planning to be anyone but myself.
And that is where the problem lies, I feel most of the time I'm a very shy person, even though the outside people don't realise. Having not such skills playing with kids, I just wanted to hear opinions.

I think myself has always been 100% honest, and not faking smiles, or anything, therefore maybe I am naturally hard to approach! Of course, I'm smiling and try to blend in a natural way, but I'm just not a "crowd" pleaser. However... I'm not scary, I am friendly and do anything to help. It just takes a bit more time to know me, and you have a real friend! ;'P

Btw, I'm also Asian, and not "exactly hairy on my arm", but thanks for the kancho suggestion, i don't think it's a good idea. cheers!


@ Uco

Hey Uco!
Yes, I was thinking to get some toys, although I decided not to, since it's the first time meeting them, and I only brought my own country's special tea and biscuits for parents, and her sister's families. Buying toys I feel it could be a bit too much, and I want to enjoy my experience with them without toys. However I have thought of buying artistic children's sets. not sure.......


@ Uma

Hello Uma!
Thanks for your advice! I also think normal gifts is ok, and not too expensive. Just food would be ok!

i also agree with your advice, I won't try too hard to be friendly with the kids. I do feel when a child is ready to approach a person they're not familiar, they will do so in an unexpected way, but if they don't, I respect that too.

As for relating to adults is more "important" I also agree, although not speaking a word of Japanese, and vice versa for them, I will rely heavily in body language. Yes, I don't want my GF to translate everything, it's not fair for her.
by Daigoro_Ogami (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Young kids. How to bond with laughs 2011/12/17 16:28
Wait a minute, the "biscuits" can be shared among the kids too, right? I mean, if you bring food for the parents and nothing for the kids, the kids are sure to think you're mean. Like others say, just treat them as you would treat others. You don't have to spoil them, but you don't have to let them be stoic either :)
by Uco (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Young kids. How to bond with laughs 2011/12/18 07:44
@ Uco

Yes, the biscuits (a few of them) can be shared amongst everyone, and the tin is an attractive super-deformed character(s), therefore the tin will be liked by adults and kids. Although now I'm thinking about it, I should buy the kids some sweets. However, I don't want to ruin their health by giving them sweeties. So I'm still deciding if I should give them a cute mini hand warmers (small knitted, and different in each design).

It's winter, so it might be a nice gift. Useful and not ruining their teeth. no sweeties!! yes!! I'm mean!! :P
by Daigoro_Ogami (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Young kids. How to bond with laughs 2011/12/18 22:38
Thinking about it, I don't think getting Hand Warmers is a good idea for children. Maybe it's not a suitable gift after all, considering they're very young, and I'm wondering if it's dangerous to do so (don't want them to start squeezing and biting it).
by Daigoro_Ogami (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Young kids. How to bond with laughs 2011/12/18 22:41
I guess, SONGS and music is best.
by 36madcooky rate this post as useful

Re: Young kids. How to bond with laughs 2011/12/20 11:38

Frankly, they might not expect you to be taking care of the kids... they might even be reluctant at first because they don't know you. Some kids might be very shy or even scared because they've never seen a foreign looking person before. I think you should definitively bring something fun for the kids, as it will make your relationship with them easier from the start... I don't think bringing art stuff is a good idea, because it is potentially messy... and you don't want to be responsible for ruining a carpet or the walls... ;)

You mentioned about your friend's child-rearing techniques being too lenient... well, from what I've seen in Japan, parents also indulge their kids a lot, even more so when they are very young. From a western point of you, it might even border on over-indulgence and in some cases, carelessness (young kids not restrained in cars, playing with stuff western parents would judge as dangerous or unhygienic, etc.), so don't be surprised if things are very different from your expectations...

As for activities, older kids will probably bring some of their favorite toys, so playing with them should not be a problem... they will probably be overjoyed to play with a grown-up... 2 years old love to run everywhere, so it should not be hard to have fun with them... you might tire before them though...

One thing that should work with all the kids is making a flapping crane... it is different from the traditional Japanese origami crane and the kids were always amazed when I made it... older kids can learn how to make them and younger ones will have fun just looking and playing with them...


Anyway, don't over-stress it... usually, if you can develop a good relationship with the kids, your relationship with the rest of the family should improve... and kids are always a good conversation topic.
by Lizzy (guest) rate this post as useful

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