You'll probably be around kids who aren't your kids some time this busy season. Here are four essential emotions you should evoke in them and how to do it.
You'd better know a few hand tricks, like sticking your thumb through your ear or separating your thumb in two.
Give any kid a big smile and then pull a quarter out of her ear; learn to do this and you'll make friends with the little people everywhere. Get them to ask you "How" anything works and you've done your job.
You should absolutely instill fear into the children around you. Not terror, you savage. Fear.
Make them climb higher in the tree, dunk them in water (trust me, they'll hold their breath naturally), act like a big scary monster and chase them. Kids NEED to experience emotions in a safe environment, but it shouldn't always feel safe for them.
They'll do this naturally, but you can and should heighten it where possible. ALWAYS challenge a child to a contest. Could be holding your breath, could be racing to a tree, could be walking on your hands. Crush them the first time, then let 'em win one.
They need to know what winning and losing is like; they'll get plenty of both when you're not around.
This is essential for children. They are constantly coddled & swaddled by their parents, so YOU need to be the one who makes 'em hold a half squat for 30 seconds.
Make sure YOU count the time, and make it go for 3 minutes. Tell 'em how long they actually went when it's over. Get them in cold water, or walking barefoot on gravel, or holding a dead fish.
Anything they shrink from should be exploited.
The final triplet of advice:
1. Ignore their parents when possible. Most parents have no idea how capable their child is.
2. Always take away their stupid electronic devices. A plugged in kid is a mindless grub, good for nothing and no help to the world.
3. When they get scared, remain honest but unbending about completing a task. Talk 'em through it.
Nik "The Professional Uncle" Hawks
p.s. Don't be afraid to tell them they did a good job, but only if they did, and only when you're leaving.
Too much reading...
How about dessert?