Nothing zaps away the joy of parenting for me like asking my kids to do something over and over again because they aren’t listening. I don’t like nagging or raising my voice anymore than they do. So what’s a mom to do?
Somewhere along the way, I started turning my requests into games. You’re probably rolling your eyes…the first time someone gave me this advice I rolled my eyes too. Yes, it does take a lot of energy and often seems ridiculous, but turning tasks into games gets my children’s attention and we end up laughing instead of butting heads.
Take getting ready for school in the morning, for example. With 7+ months of the school year under our belts, you’d think the morning routine would be wrinkle-free, yet my kids still get easily distracted and there are days that I have to ask them repeatedly to put their shoes on. When I turn it into a game, they jump into action. Some days, I give them a few Monopoly dollars and tell them to visit the “shoe store” (a.k.a our shoe shelf) and pick out a pair of shoes to buy. Or, I turn it into a race and see if they, as a team, can both get their shoes on before I do. While it takes some creativity on my part, it actually gets the task done faster—and more cheerfully—than nagging.
In the midst of the harried morning routine, I’ll also let my kids know, on a scale of 0 to 10, what my level of patience is (with zero meaning there’s none left and 10 meaning we’re ahead of schedule and I’m sufficiently caffeinated). If they are really pushing my buttons I might say, “I just want you both to know that I’m at a three right now.” This not only warns them that I’m close to losing my patience with them, but it also motivates them to move the “patience needle” back to a 10.
They say you catch more flies with honey, and the same can be said about parenting. A little creativity makes sure we not only get out the door on time, but with less stress and more smiles!