“Play is our brain’s favorite way of learning.” -Diane Ackerman
In this Parents S.H.A.R.E. post, our positive parenting community is sharing how they have used play as a parenting tool when faced with a variety of challenges during the morning and evening routines, from races to singing silly songs here are many fun ideas!!
Make it a RACE!
One of my favorites is racing to see who gets dressed first, my daughter or Tiger. We have no argument about getting dressed. –Amanda D
My three girls like to race and see who will be the first to have everything done for bed first. The oldest sometimes even slows down and lets her sisters be winners too. -Darci
We make a race to get down to the bus stop every morning and sometimes we make it a funny race like skipping, jumping on one foot or walking backwards! -Melissa
High Five the Routine Chart
Each time a task is done on the routine chart, my little one goes and gives the chart a high five. He thinks it’s great fun and feels in charge of his routine of getting dressed, putting clothes in the laundry, brushing teeth and combing his hair. He is only 27 months and this playful way makes it stress free for both of us! -Daniela M.
Sing Silly Songs
I like to sing songs for my 3 year old daughter when we are brushing teeth and combing hair this way she knows when we will be done and we don’t fight about it anymore. I make the song silly and say her name a lot, that makes her smile so much. -J.S.
Spin, Crawl & Fly
My 5 year old likes [when we] say to walk backward, crawl, or spin to move around the house. When she was smaller I’d pick her up & make her “fly” like an airplane/butterfly. -Andrada B. S.
When my boys are ready to get out of the bath in the evening, I count to ten and whatever number they get out on we do something silly like for number six we all jump, for number 8 everyone crawls to the bedroom and so on. We make it fun so they want to get out of the bath now. -Anna
It can be challenging getting our son to stop playing and go upstairs to get ready for bed. We decided to turn it into a game. I’ll ask him: “Do you want to go upstairs like a wolf or a penguin?” (We’ll switch up the animals depending on which ones he is currently interested in.) Then we go upstairs together moving and sounding like the selected animal. Now our son is much more willing to start the bedtime routine, and it’s more fun for his parents too! -Sheila W.
If my daughter doesn’t want to move along to get ready in the morning I ask her if she wants to jump like a frog or walk like an elephant or whatever other animal I think of. She is only two so she thinks its really fun to do it. -J.M.
Beat the Timer
We set a timer and have the kids race to see if they can get into pajamas before the timer rings. There is no reward or anything doing it, but they sure have gotten faster and more motivated about bed time, I think because it’s just great fun. -Mary
Spy the Stickers
Hair washing used to be really challenging here, so I placed many cute stickers high up on the wall of the bath tub. When it’s time to wash hair, I ask my children to look up at the stickers and find a certain sticker or describe their favorite one. Because the stickers are placed in a way that to see them they have their head tipped just right for the water not to get into their eyes and they love talking about the stickers and hair washing has become something they (almost) look forward to! -Ariadne
Teddy Bear Stories
After my second was born I had a hard time juggling bed time for my toddler and baby at the same time. I gave him a teddy bear and some books and asked him if he could tell some stories to the bear while he waited for me to get baby ready for bed. He used to stay in his bed with teddy looking at books and I could take care of the baby. Later I used to pretend to talk to the teddy bear and the Teddy would tell me how much he liked the stories. -Heather
First Me – Then You
My son didn’t want me to brush his teeth so I let him brush mine first and then I brush his. He thinks it’s fun and sometimes I pretend to be an alligator that wants to eat the tooth brush which really makes him giggle. -Lucy
I’m so tired at the end of the day, I need something to help me laugh so I use a puppet to tell my two kids what to do. Sometimes I talk in funny ways, other times I give directions that are wrong like saying pants are for arms, and shirt go on legs and they correct me. I play dumb and say “oh, can you show me what you mean?” and then they get themselves into pajamas right away and with a smile. -N.B.
I like to use a sock to make a puppet and bark crazy orders at the kids. I mean this in a playful way. The children laugh so much, we get everything done fast but pretty organized otherwise the sock has more orders to bark! -Steve
“The playing adult steps sideward into another reality; the playing child advances forward to new stages of mastery.” -Erik H. Erikson
Do you use play to overcome parenting challenges – how so? Share in comments, we’d love to hear from you!
Peace & Be Well,