My husband and I said we'd turn a movie on for an hour as a special movie night. Our two boys were saying “Yes!” and excitedly giving me big hugs. They were connected after a good day of Special Time and playing.But when the timer rang , to tell us it was time to turn off the movie, the boys were very reluctant.
They were cross and disconnected. I turned off the movie anyway and they were even more cross.
Now that it was time for them to start brushing teeth and go to bed, they were really not in the mood.
Some Fun With Brushing Teeth
So I used my index finger and started brushing their bodies, here and there, over their clothes playfully. “Let's brush teeth! Oh, this is not your mouth, let me see, brush brush, oh, this wasn't your teeth again!”
The kids started protesting at first, then they started laughing. We played whole body brushing for a while and not only did they brush their teeth soon after, their bedtime went very smooth. They were relaxed and reconnected.
From The Hand in Hand Toolbox:
Unlike a telling off that causes more tension, play and laughter diffuses bad feeling. Playing games around a tricky subject, like brushing teeth, helps children get over bad feelings with the action or how they are feeling about you in that moment. Playful games like this can be adapted and help with other daily challenges, from fussy eating to sleeping alone.
—Keiko Sato-Perry is a Certified Hand in Hand Instructor based in Palo Alto, CA. Read her other post about brushing teeth here.
Get 10 tips for more Playful Parenting here and why it's so important for your kids.
There's hundreds more anecdotes like Keiko's in the book Listen, by Hand in Hand founder Patty Wipfler. Read a chapter here.
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