Summer has come and gone and it is time to gear up for routines to keep up with academic loads and athletic schedules of our kids. This transitional time is exciting but also can be stressful and challenging as any change. Parents’ stress rises by constant demands of keeping things under control and prompting kids repeatedly to “Clear your room!” “Put the milk jug away!” “Finish your homework!” “Go to bed!” etc… The above demands, however, don’t seem to hurry kids up – quite the opposite, they promote resistance from our dearest offsprings.
Why do children disobey our orders and drive us insane in the process? Well, it is because they are humans and no human likes taking orders that are boring, mundane and no fun. Therefore, the only way to motivate kids or anyone else to do something with eagerness is to take on a playful tone. With a little bit of preparation and imagination, both parent and child can have fun while chores will be done! Another reason to be employing playful parenting techniques is that research shows that such parenting helps to raise kids that are happier and smarter. Here are examples of reframing boring requests and orders into a play.
1. Instead of: “Enough computer time!” Say: “Your poor computer and your poor eyes need to rest…:) ”
2. Instead of “Stop talking to me when I am on the phone!!” Say: “When I finish my conversation, I will have a surprise for you!!”
3. Instead of “C’mon! We have to go!!!” Say: “Ready, set, go…!” or “The space shuttle is taking off in 10, 9, 8…” (tested and works well on teenagers ;))
4. Instead of “Omg!!! Look at your room! It is a disaster!” Say: “I know you can become a magician and magically transform your room into a clean haven!! :))”
5. Instead of “Did you hear what I said!!” Say: “3352 alpha calling the tower… roger. take the trash out. over…”
6. Instead of “Time to go to bed!” Say: “Time to go see movies–your dreams…”
7. Instead of “You are driving me nuts!!!” Say: “I am a little tea pot short and stout and I am about to boil…and if I boil over…watch out…!”
8. Instead of “Get your home-work done!” Say: “While you do your homework, I will do mine (clean, organize, plan)…whoever finishes first, will get a treat!”
These techniques require a little imagination and preparation. But in the long-run your relationship with your kid is better when you take on a lighthearted tone. There is no age limit for these reframing techniques. In my experience, teenagers seem to be pretty responsive to them as well. The more playfulness there is in your interaction with your child, the easier it is for you to get them to cooperate and do as you say. It will also save you a ton of nerves. Each kid is different but most of them like fun and play. Happy back to school and fun disciplining!