Want to get your child to listen and follow directions without any power struggles?
Imagine it. No more morning madness trying to get out of the house. Goodbye to nighttime standoffs going to bed later and later. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if your child avoids melting down, enjoys going to museums, drinks liquids when sick, and even cooperates with chores?
I know, it sounds too good to be true. Usually, when your child fusses, misbehaves, and doesn’t cooperate, you want to clench your teeth and yell, “STOP IT! LISTEN TO ME!”
I get it. I’ve been there… many times.
But yelling is exhausting for the parents, stressful for the kids, and doesn’t create a positive family environment.
Even though my children are grown and living on their own, I distinctly recall those frustrating everyday moments. The arguments, power struggles, screams, and tears. You name it, it wasn’t fun for anyone.
Sometimes things got really chaotic before I remembered my parents’ playful trick of making parenting a game.
There’s hope for getting your kids to listen and follow directions.
The Trick to Getting a Child to Listen and Follow Directions
With a “can do!” spirit, my parents used their imagination and created games to deal with challenging moments. Goodbye nagging, yelling, and getting into power struggles.
Let me illustrate this with a quick example before I explain the simple 3-step process.
When I started first grade, my dad walked me to school. He wanted to combine his morning exercise with spending quality time with his little girl. What a great idea! So he thought, but I just dragged my feet and complained the entire mile. “Why can’t we drive like everyone else?” It wasn’t fun for either one of us. Most people would have given up, but not my father. Then one day, he bounced out the door like Tigger and spent the twenty minutes playfully quizzing me about state capitals and other trivia facts. That day, our daily morning walks became treasured daddy-daughter moments that lasted throughout my elementary school years.
As a mom, I learned firsthand how creating games improved frustrating situations. It was a lifesaver, especially as a stressed-out single parent.
It can help you too.
My article, Keeping Your Cool During Coronavirus Quarantine, is featured in a key parenting magazine. It shares playful tips for keeping sane and maintaining peace inside the house during this challenging time. I’ve adapted ideas from my entertaining, easy to read book, Parenting—Let’s Make a Game of It.
Ready to learn this simple and effective technique? You too will find parenting easier and more fun.
3-Step Process to Become a Playful Parent
In this circumstance, playful parenting doesn’t mean “play” in the traditional sense, like playing a board game, catching a ball, or doing some other activity with your child.
It means creating a playful approach to encourage cooperation.
I know, being playful seems counterintuitive when you’re annoyed. And doesn’t this take longer and require more effort? Maybe, but the reality is that your child is NOT helping and you’re in an unpleasant, stressful power struggle. Wouldn’t it be better to make this fun?
So, how do you go from Point A (ready to scream) to Point B (getting your child to listen and cooperate)?
The trick is applying the three C’s:
- “Can do!” attitude
- Clear understanding of the goal
- Creative problem-solving
1. “Can do!” Attitude
Sure, this situation stinks, but replace your frustration with optimistic thoughts.
I got this! It may take several attempts, but I’ll keep trying until I find something that works.
Remember that anything will be better and more effective than yelling.
2. Clear Understanding of the Goal
Before you can solve the problem, you first need to understand your goal. What are you trying to do?
For instance: I want help cleaning up the living room. It’s a mess with toys, books, cups, and clothes everywhere!
3. Creative Problem-Solving
Now you want to think-outside-the-box and brainstorm creative, playful solutions.
How can I make this fun?
Your child is more likely to listen and follow directions when the game is tied to something they enjoy.
Here are various ways to make cleaning up playful for toddlers through school-age children:
- If your child loves singing, sing while picking up items. “Tra la-laaaaa! Here are blue paaaants, a red sh-iiiiiiiirt, and dirtyyyyyyy s-oooooocks!” Or modify a popular tune like the “Farmer in the Dell.” “What should we put away? What should we put away? You get to choose three th-i-ings that we’ll put away.”
- Do they like playing games? Play their favorite music and race as you clean up the room. Or set a timer and count how many things you pick up. Or roll some dice and then everyone puts away that number of items before someone else takes a turn rolling the dice.
- Like to dance and move around? Wiggle, march, and dance as you pick up items. “Hop like Tigger when getting your clothes. Now skip or prance like a pony while you collect everything red.”
- Into superheroes? Pretend to be superheroes with different superpowers. “This time, let’s fly around and pick up all the toys like Superman!”
Sometimes it’s helpful to glance around the room for a spark of inspiration. If you’re stuck, you can even ask your kids for ideas and make this a team-building activity. Whatever you do, don’t give up. Adopting a playful approach will get easier.
And it nothing else, make a game of it!
Make Parenting Easier—and More Fun
Sounds good in theory, but how do you learn to employ playful parenting approaches?
Learn playful ways to stop struggling with your child with an entertaining, easy to read book, Parenting—Let’s Make a Game of It.
Written for busy parents, this creative approach is shared through amusing short stories with an encouraging down-to-earth tone. An Amazon #1 New Release in 7 parenting categories, this book shows how to put the fun in parenting.
Read the glowing 5-star reviews on Amazon.
Take a peek and look inside to read snippets and see the table of contents.
Free Printable Tips Sheet
Make sure to download a free printable playful parenting tips sheet with quick to implement ideas. Hang it on your fridge or carry it with you as a reference when you need some “you got this!” support.