How familiar is this scene in your household: Child watching TV, playing video games, on the computer, talking on the phone, etc., and you’re wanting their attention to alert them to something like, “time for dinner,” “pick up your clothes,” etc.
Often times the child is fully engaged in their activity of choice and don’t/can’t hear a parent’s call. Logic says if a child can’t hear us, we should just speak louder or yell. Eventually a child breaks their focus to the yelling of a parent who may or may not be fuming at this point. The child may be very confused why mom or dad is “buggin’ out,” and may also react to this negative tone by yelling back or being disrespectful.
Recently, I’ve had much success with a more playful interaction. Instead of getting frustrated with what seems to be like I’m talking to no one(Bueller. . .Bueller. . .Bueller?) or yelling at a small child, I would use a silly, deep, playful voice(think of nicer version of the man behind the curtain from Wizard of Oz). In this playful voice, I would just have to say the name of my child once, and there would be a response full of giggles and a “who is that(with eye contact).”
Would you prefer to have a negative or positive interaction with your child?
Most parents aspire to be loving parents, and most are, there’s certainly a time for limit setting and authority, but there’s certainly room for play as well within parenting. How many parents enjoyed the playful moments with their infants and toddlers, was this a result of the parenting book du jour that encouraged play, or was it something organic and natural?
Children were born to play, its their natural way of interacting with others, manage their feelings, and make sense of the world. Somewhere after toddler-hood the idea and use of play goes out the window by adults. What would it be like if there could still be moments of imaginative play, or creative play, or silliness between parents and children?
Sometimes our adult logic doesn’t translate well with children, but play rarely needs to be translated for children. It’s this combination of playfulness, love, and logic that often amounts to positive interactions between parents and children. Relax and play along with your kids!
Feel free to contact me if you would like to know more about the language of play, and how to incorporate it into your interactions with your child.
Photo Credit: home-school-coach