Not just going through the day, as you will with your own kids. But really asking and listening. Probably easiest if you have frequent access to kids throughout the day.
I love doing this. A person can learn amazing things by interaction with kids.
I give riding lessons to children so I have some wonderful time interacting with them doing something we both love.
The only problem is that my current project is aimed at children 5-8 and my students have been ages 9 and up.
I have done quite a bit of listening. I raised two of my own kids, but I also worked for ten years in an elementary school media center which is when I discovered that children's literature seemed to be my calling. During that time I spent a lot of time helping kids go through book shelves to find books that would interest them, and the conversations that come up during that time are very enlightening. I also worked with several classrooms on writing projects in which they wrote their own stories and "published" them for the classroom.
And now that I've been a published children's author for six years I spend a lot of time in schools doing author visits - and my absolute favorite part of the visits is Q & A time because kids ask the best questions.
Jeff, Interesting you just happened to bring this up....last week I was sitting in my morning coffee and Biscotti meditation...when I was given a lecture by my higher self...on Listening.... Really Listening. So often with kids and adults too...we listen but are ready to jump in with a solution to their problem or a lesson to teach them or an "I told you so" or a condemnation for some "stupid" or foolish" act. All of which interferes with an honest discourse between two people, kids or adults.
I just took on a project in my extended family to spend two straight hours listening to each child and each adult in the household about how they would like to improve family dynamics. All of them were just so happy to be listened to, to have their opinions respected no matter what their age and not be judged...it was a real eye opener!! I thought I was a good listener but this taught me how to be an even better one. I plan to do this on a much more regular basis...
Yes, I do know at least 2 kids really well, my grandchildren. And I know a half dozen teen agers I have as clients pretty well also.