How 10 minutes Play Turned Thanksgiving Around

from the hand in hand blog(1)

By Kirsten Nottleson

family-thanksgiving-boyOn Thanksgiving morning, my husband and I were both feeling a stressed trying to get the turkey, pie, cranberry relish, and salad ready to pack in the car. We were off to grandma's house for “the big meal.”

“Please, Please, Play”

We have two boys, aged 4 and 10, and my four-year-old asked me to play with him repeatedly. He'd already heard enough “In a few minutes” to last a week, and it was only 11:30 in the morning.

My husband was trying in vain to get him to take a bath, but he was NOT going for it. He was digging his heels in and was not going to budge. I could tell he needed a good cry, but I could also tell my husband and me didn't feel we had the time or good attention to listen to him.

You be the Turkey!

I suddenly had an idea. He had been watching me focus most of my attention on this silly bird for the last 24+ hours. (Don't ask! I did a brining process that takes a whole day. It seemed like it would be simple – until I got into it.) So, I asked him, “Will you be my little turkey? Can I wash you in the sink to get you ready for cooking?”

He loved the idea.

boy-in-towelHe climbed up in the kitchen sink and I poured water all over him using measuring cups, stirred the water around, and ‘basted him' with the clean baster brush, with lots of talk about what a sweet little turkey he was and what spicing I was putting on him, and which parts of him might be the tastiest.

He giggled and giggled while he soaked up all that good attention and the tension in both of us dissolved.

We were both more relaxed afterwards as I gathered my clean boy into the ‘oven' (towel) to dry off before heading to grandma's.

Such a good reminder to me that just ten minutes of play can change the whole day.


Read more about how play can help parenting challenges in Listen Launch Post: What is Playlistening?

Even 10 minutes of one-on-one time can help dissolve tension. Find out how to make the most of special time with this checklist.

Playlistening and Special Time are two of Hand in Hand's five revolutionary parenting tools. Find out how they can transform your parenting


Kirsten Nottleson-Join Certified Instructor Kirsten Nottleson in her next online parenting class, Building Emotional Understanding.

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