If you’re going to be with a child you haven’t seen in a while, a little preparation can help lay the groundwork for a good conversation. Before the visit, ask the parents about what’s going on in their child’s life. That way you aren’t starting with “What are you learning in school?” when the kid is, say, having a difficult year. Instead, you can engage her on a specific topic—soccer, for example, or horses or lacrosse. Knowing a few tidbits in advance might lead you to say, “I heard you saw a great movie last weekend. Can you tell me about it?” The same strategy may work for your own kids if they are young or tend to be shy, or if you’re going to visit someone they haven’t seen in a while. I’ll say, “Oh, Aunt Caitlin is going to want to hear about your gymnastics—and, by the way, you may want to ask her about her vacation.” —Christiana Mills, licensed clinical social worker and the coordinator of Yale Child Study Center’s outpatient clinic in New Haven, Connecticut.