You may have noticed that when children say “I’m tired,” they may not always mean it. Sometimes, “I’m tired” actually means “I’m starting to feel some uncomfortable feelings, and I can’t think of any other way to tell you.”
If you suspect your child is trying to communicate this the next time you are walking, try this game. Chances our their energy will reappear in a flash, and you’ll both go on your way laughing.
On our way back from the park recently my daughter was complaining she was tired. I said, in a playfully tired voice, “Yeah, I’m tired too, so, so so tired. Oh no! Hang on! I’m not tired, I’m full of energy!”
Then I started running a little, and then said, “Oh, I can win now! I’m going to win the most energetic race! I hope no-one overtakes me!”
This cue was just what my daughter needed to run ahead to try and be the most energetic. I stretched my arms out wide to playfully make it more hard to pass and we kept running together. As I made it more challenging for her to get by the giggles really started flowing, and then I let her win.
We repeated the game all the way home. Each time I would let her win (after a bit of a resistance) so that she could feel her own stress and power – and of course laugh at me!
Why it Works:
This is the perfect game to release feelings that are blocking your child feeling their natural vitality. Walking with grown-ups can be hard for children. Issues may arise that we easily overlook or perhaps discredit. They may suddenly become aware of how small their legs are, or how out of control they feel when being told where to walk or to hurry up.
Adding in playful ‘giggle parenting’ is the perfect way to empower your child and build their confidence. This ‘running competition’ can also help release real feelings of competitiveness and sibling rivalry.
Play is a fantastic way to build resistance and grit. Hand in Hand uses a tool called “Playlistening,” that lets your child become the boss of his play while his adults follow his lead. Find out more about playful parenting in these articles, Playlistening with a Picky Eater, Playlistening To Get Me Through The Morning Rush and A Playful Response to Sharing. Or download our booklet on Playlistening.
Kate Orson is a Hand in Hand Parenting Instructor, and mother to a 4-year-old daughter. Originally from the UK she now lives in Basel, Switzerland. She is the author of Tears Heal, How To Listen To Our Children. Connect with Kate on Facebook and through her blog KateOrson.Com