Parenting—Let’s Make a Game of It is an easy to read book that teaches you how to raise a child playfully. Written for busy parents, the amusing short chapters and down-to-earth tone leave you feeling encouraged.
Like most parents, the mom in this book faces everyday challenges during the toddler and school-age years. Her children are not listening, not cooperating, and having meltdowns.
When she changes her approach, things quickly improve. Soon her kids willingly listen. Tension turns to quality time. And life becomes more playful.
Table of Contents
There are 26 short chapters organized into five sections. Each chapter stands alone, so you can read them sequentially or in any order.
- Part I: Ugh, My Child Won’t Cooperate
- Part II: Oh No, My Child is Distressed
- Part III: Uh-Oh, My Child is Bored
- Part IV: Yeeks, Everything is Overwhelming
- Part V: Oh Yeah, Live Life to the Fullest
Part I: Ugh, My Child Won’t Cooperate
Chapter 1. Pumpkin, Pumpkin, Drink: Getting Kids to Drink When They’re Sick
Chapter 2. Proud Member of the Clean Plate Club: Eating with Manners (read the sneak peek)
Chapter 3. Do We Have to Visit a Dumb Art Museum? Making Museum Visits Fun
Chapter 4. Sixty Packets of Oatmeal: Using a Bar Graph to Incentivize Kids
Chapter 5. A Playful Let’s-Keep-The-House-Neat Unpacking Game: Using Music to Make Chores Fun
Chapter 6. Ooh, Where Do You Want to Go? Engaging Kids While Walking to the Airport Gate
Chapter 7. When You Wish Upon a Star: Assigning Chores with an Odd-Even Reward System
Part II: Oh No, My Child is Distressed
Chapter 8. Please, Just One Night of Sleep: Making a Child Feel Secure at Night
Chapter 9. Let’s Fly the Plane! Gaining Control to Tackle a Fear
Chapter 10. The Surprise Impromptu Dance Performance: Turning Fear into Fun
Chapter 11. The Secret Magical Breath: Teaching Stress Reduction with Mindful Breathing (read the sneak peek)
Chapter 12. Winning the Spider Game: Tackling Fear Through Desensitization
Chapter 13. Why-I-Love-Indian-Food-So-Much-That-It’s-The-Only-Thing-I-Want-To-Eat: Teaching Writing Skills
Chapter 14. The Day We Screamed Profanities While Driving to Synagogue: Tackling Fear by Challenging the Inner Voice
Part III: Uh-Oh, My Child is Bored
Chapter 15. One, Three, Five, Seven, Nine. Odd Numbers Are Mighty Fine: Gas Station Guessing Game
Chapter 16. The Eyebrows-Raised-Head-Nodding Signal: Getting a Server’s Attention
Chapter 17. How Long Before Our Turn? Making a Game of Waiting in Lines
Chapter 18. Are We There Yet? Keeping Kids Entertained in the Car
Chapter 19. Passing Time with the Alphabet Search Game: Keeping Kids Busy and Quiet
Part IV: Yeeks, Everything is Overwhelming
Chapter 20. Where Do You Live? Memorizing Things to a Song
Chapter 21. Avoiding the Morning Madness: Empowering Kids with a Morning List
Chapter 22. Avoiding the Nighttime Nonsense: Empowering Kids with a Nighttime List and Fun Incentive (read the sneak peek)
Chapter 23. The Clothespin School Folder Organizing Game: Managing All That School Info
Chapter 24. The Anything-But-Boring-Mommy-Daddy Calendar: Making Splitting Time Between Parents Easier for Kids
Chapter 25. The Spiffy Project Planning Calendar: Avoiding Procrastination
Part V: Oh Yeah, Live Life to the Fullest
Chapter 26. A Very Important Appointment: Taking Time to Cherish Life
Read the glowing 5-star reviews on Amazon.
Sneak Peek Chapters
Below is a sneak peek at three chapters.
Chapter 2. Proud Member of the Clean Plate Club: Eating with Manners
I feel like shouting “Justin, stop!” Instead, I cringe silently, watching my four-year-old son lift his tomato-smeared plate, open his mouth, and stick out his tongue.
Surely, he’ll stop.
But he doesn’t. His six-year-old sister, Emily, watches and giggles.
Are you kidding? No way!
“Aw, pisghetti,” Justin exclaims, smacking his lips as if in a post-eating, dreamy trance. His tongue darts around the plate, slurping and lapping up the leftover sauce.
“Young man! What are you doing?” I bang my fist on our kitchen table so hard that the silverware rattles.
And just like that, he snaps out of his hypnotic state and pokes his head from behind the plate. “But Mommy, it’s yummy.”
Before I can say anything else, Justin quickly runs his tongue over his lips, savoring whatever’s left of his favorite meal.
“Is that how you’d eat in a restaurant?” My eyes lock with his, and I’m so flabbergasted that it’s hard to speak….
Chapter 11. The Secret Magical Breath: Teaching Stress Reduction with Mindful Breathing
Not to be outdone by his sister, Justin shrieks at the top of his lungs, “I HATE SOCCER!”
My body shudders, not only from the loud noise but also because he kicked the seat in front of him, which happens to be right where I’m sitting. It felt like an earthquake tremor. Although he’s only five years old, he has one heck of a strong kick.
What a way to start the weekend.
I feel my stress level rise. Obviously, I have to do something because my daughter is hyperventilating and my son is shaking the car.
Thankfully, the school attendant is aware of the commotion and hasn’t asked me to drive away. Instead, she gives that sympathetic glance that connotes “I don’t envy you.” I smile back but really think, Argh, who wants this.
Slowly, I take a deep breath and then exhale, like the start of a meditation practice.
Yes, that’s what we’ll do….
Chapter 22. Avoiding the Nighttime Nonsense: Empowering Kids with a Nighttime List and Fun Incentive
“It’s time. Let’s go!” I stomp into the living room and stand in front of the TV, not looking forward to another nighttime battle.
“No fair. Not yet!” five-year-old Justin shouts, breaking his TV trance.
Emily springs off the couch and snatches the remote, trying to maintain control of the situation.
Excuse me! Who do they think is boss?
Not waiting another second, I lean over and push the on-off switch. The screen goes dark.
“HEY!” they scream in unison, and I’m not sure whose yell is louder.
“As I was saying, it’s time for bed.”
Ah, bedtime. One of my least favorite activities with its push-pull arguments. It always ends the same way with nagging and going to bed late.
Justin starts to yawn but clamps his mouth shut. Too late, I already noticed….
©2020 Karen Thurm Safran
A Playful Approach Works
- Avoids nagging and yelling
- Stops tears and meltdowns
- Reduces power struggles
- Makes parenting more fun
- Empowers children
- Connects families
Parenting—Let’s Make a Game of It is available on Amazon as a paperback or eBook.
“This book will help any family deal more effectively with their children. They will find it not only useful but fun as well.”
—Rabbi Dov Peretz Elkins, co-author of “Chicken Soup for the Jewish Soul”
“Through stories, parents will discover how to turn tears and conflict into joyful connection and positive change.”
—Dr. Cheryl B. Lamin, clinical psychologist
“The author gives you a ton of new strategies, and she writes in a fun way that keeps you turning pages, not the dull, academic style of many other parenting books. I cannot recommend this enough!”
–Tracey Price, parent
Learn more about me and why I wrote this book.