Tired of screaming at your children and repeating yourself to no avail? Then channel your inner “Baby John Burgess” and turn everything you want them to do into a game show-style competition complete with timer and running commentary.
“Will William rise to the challenge of brushing his teeth and packing his school bag before the egg timer sounds or will Jess beat him to it?!”
Or: “James, I know you can’t seem to hear my repeated pleas to pick up your Lego or my piercing wails when I step on yet another piece, but let’s time how quickly you can pick them up!”
The motivation to record a “personal best”, beat a sibling or even an egg timer works wonders. Watch. Them. Go.
C’mon get crafty
Avoid the inevitable meltdown when your mini Picasso wants to re-create some random craft project after watching an episode of Mister Maker or Play School by keeping a box of items such as empty cling wrap rolls, bottle lids, cereal boxes, wrapping paper, used streamers, ribbons, sticky tape and the odd toilet roll. Re-using these craft staples is also environmentally friendly and kind to your hip pocket given art and craft supplies aren’t cheap – even at those so-called $2 shops.
Don’t wait until daylight savings to wind your clock forward. If you want your children in bed earlier, start turning that dial. Just fight that tempting urge to “instantly” time travel from 5pm to 8pm. Start with gradual increments of 15 minutes, close some blinds to block out the damning evidence of daylight, and perfect your fake yawns for some added authenticity.
The are plenty of fond memories for parent and child alike when it comes to that king of the playground – The Swing. But let’s be honest, those repeated pleas to “Push me! Again! Higher! Puuuuuush meeeeeee!!!” can certainly take their toll. So why not sit back in the comfort of your own home and gently pull a rope affixed to their swing from afar while you relax with a well-deserved coldie.
Get along shirt
Sibling rivalry out of control? They’ll have no choice but to work out their differences faster than you can say “Joined at the hip” when they collectively don this clever T-shirt popularised on talk show Ellen. And even if they still bicker, at least you can send them both to that Super Nanny-inspired “Naughty Step” together. Ahhh, the serenity.
Brush up on your acting skills and make a song and dance about letting your child help with the household chores. Seize on any interest they show in age-appropriate tasks such as vacuuming, cooking, dusting and setting the table, but make them feel it’s a special treat. “Well, I really shouldn’t let you do this, but OK, I guess I could let you have a go.”
Once they think you are doing them a favour, it’s time to sit back and enjoy. At least until the jig is up.
Ever heard of the expression “Idle hands are the Devil’s tools?” Forget biblical references, when you’ve got kids this translates to: “Make sure they’re holding something or they’re gonna destroy the joint.” Give them a toy, a bottle of bubble mixture, a packet of jelly – anything unbreakable – to keep their searching little hands busy during the weekly shop.
Better still, grab a ball from aisle three and let them bounce, kick and throw their way through the supermarket before you discreetly dump it at the checkout on your way out. It works a treat, unless the ball gets stuck under the shelves in aisle five. Then you’d better hightail it back to aisle three to replace that wayward ball.
A family that plays together, stays together, right? Well, how about you do all the playing of your favourite video games while your blissfully unaware kids battle away using their disconnected controllers. The icing on the cake – no one’s messing with your best score.
Keep those pesky bed-time phobias at bay with a strategic dose of Monster Spray. Don’t forget to spritz under the bed and inside the wardrobe.
Sense of entitlement
Bestow your tykes with a title if you want them to do something they won’t otherwise. How do you think teachers have them so well trained? There are library monitors, office messengers, class senators, lunch-order monitors, and so on.
If little Timmy is devoted to upholding the Dewey Decimal System as Library Monitor, surely he can pick the books up off the floor at home and put them back on the bookshelf – in any order – as the family’s esteemed Bookshelf Monitor. A title and position of responsibility inspires motivation, while also fuelling leadership ambitions. Win-Win.
Got any more helpful hints for dealing with the little ones? Let us know in the comments below.