Kids Love Tarot Cards: Here Are My Top Tips for Reading Tarot for Kids
A friend of mine did a tarot reading for kids yesterday. He is a very serious double Capricorn, exclusive Thoth deck user, over age fifty, with no kids. But he’s a professional reader, and when you’re a professional reader, parents bring their kids to your table for one reason or another. He bemoaned the fact that the two single-digit age children sat before him wide-eyed. They were not able to come up with questions for the cards, and since it takes a question to set a reading in motion, what was he to do? I told him I would share some suggestions, so here are five tips for reading tarot for kids.
1. Use a Kid-Safe Deck
My friend carries three decks with him. The three different sizes of the Thoth deck. Kids’ decks tend to feature magical, whimsical, fantasy art. My friend is not a witchy-fairy-unicorn type of guy. But here’s a tip for esoteric tarot readers: The Mystic Faerie deck reasonably faithfully follows the Golden Dawn symbolism while being totally kid-friendly! If you’d like some more suggestions, here’s my list of carefully vetted Kids’ Tarot Decks.
2. Let the Kids Take the Lead
Especially when working with single-digit aged kids, I won’t even try to do a reading. But I will encourage them to play with the cards. Spread the cards out face up on the table so they can see the images. Encourage the kids to pick a card, and then ask them to share what they see in it. This exercise is great even for young kids and can be insightful for the parent to hear. You can also ask the kid to place several cards in a row and tell a story about them (this is usually easier for kids than for adults). Another useful way to use cards with kids is to let them use the cards to communicate with you. Ask them to look carefully at the card images and pick a card that shows how school went today, or how they want to spend the weekend, or where they want to go for a field trip. Follow up questions can keep the kid talking through the pictures on the cards. You can play too. Try having a card-based dialogue with them! Talking allowed but optional.
3. Ask Kid-Sized Questions
Once the kids start to feel comfortable with the cards, they’ll want to ask questions, just like adults do with a new deck. Kids like to ask about their pets, their friends, their school, and their creative projects. Kids have asked me if they’ll get a treat for dinner (the answer was yes), what instrument they should choose for band (drum) and how to make friends better (find another person shy like you). Teens usually want to resolve conflicts with friends or teachers, get insight into dating (and frequently don’t want you to know the details), or figure out those overwhelming questions about college. They want to know what makes them special, but also how they fit in. Kids have zero interest in knowing what they’ll be when they grow up, how many kids they’ll have, if they’ll be successful, or even if they’ll be happy. Those are all questions adults want to know. Let kids be kids.
4. Teach the Kids to Read Rather Than Reading for Them
Disabuse yourself of the notion that the cards have meaning. This is the biggest stumbling block that prevents people from learning to read the cards. Kids are perfect blank slates with no preconceived ideas. They are totally ready to dive in and apply these images to their lives. If your kid is hesitating, consider that they are picking up on your own uncertainty. If you approach the cards with curiosity, they will too. Once they’ve asked their kid-sized question, let them pull cards from a face-down fan. Encourage them to apply the people, actions, and details in the image to their question to reveal a clear answer.
5. Take Every Question Seriously
Kids can also surprise us with deep questions about understanding themselves. They don’t need reassuring platitudes! As long as the kid is steering the reading, let the cards do the deep work they can do. The decks might be kid-friendly, but the answers can be as deep as the kid will let it be. And when they jump to a frothy question such as, “Would I like pistachio ice cream?” follow their flow.
Reading Tarot for Kids is Fun
Kids are captivated by the pictures on tarot cards. But reading for them requires a kid-centered approach. If you follow these five tips on reading tarot for kids, you’ll both have fun! And you’ll possibly spark a life-long interest in the colorful, storytelling cards of the tarot.
Joy Vernon is widely recognized by tarot professionals as an expert tarot teacher and respected community leader. With over twenty years’ experience teaching energetic and esoteric modalities, Joy brings expertise and practiced familiarity to her specialty of esoteric tarot, which layers astrological and qabalistic symbolism onto the traditional tarot structure. Under her leadership, the Denver Tarot Meetup has grown into one of the largest and most active tarot-specific meetups in the world. Joy works as a tarot reader, astrologer, and teacher at Isis Books. To learn more, please visit JoyVernon.com.