Use humour to get cooperation from the child
Children do have a full day ahead of them. We need a lot of cooperation from them to keep up with daily commitments. Constantly reminding children to do what’s required of them leaves them feeling irritated and makes us frustrated and angry. In our groups, parents often recount the numerous squabbles they have with their children on this account.
Instead, what if we inject humour in day-to-day situations? Won’t this help getting the work done whilst building a strong connection with our children and creating a relaxed environment in our home?
So, when our child is reluctant to get out of bed in the morning, we could cheerfully say in a comic or robotic voice, “Wakey, wakey time! Good morning!” To guide children to put back their toys in the right place, how about singing a tune? “Your toys are tired...they want to sleep – put them back, put them back!”
A fun way to ask for help from our older child is to write a note or send an SMS, “SOS ...Calling my special rescue squad to set the table for dinner.”
Use humour to set limits and establish discipline
It can be tough when our child refuses to listen to us and indulges in unacceptable behaviour. Adding to the stress by losing our temper does not help. Humour reduces the power struggle between the parent and child diffusing a tense situation. It is more effective to set limits and communicate our expectations in a respectful manner rather than using punishment.
For example, when the little child is refusing to brush, we could say, “Your teeth are singing, ‘Brush me brush me… I am covered with germs! I don’t want cavities!’” This kind of playfulness could help a boring chore seem fun and enthuse a child to cooperate.
When the child is crying for a cookie before dinner we could set the limit by saying in a laughing tone, “Is it cookie time? You know it’s not cookie time.”
If our teenager uses a bad word, we could point out to them how hot our ears get hearing them or simply say in a dramatic Bollywood/Kollywood style, “Oh god.. I’m scandalised with the vocabulary used these days!”
As parents when we include being playful and using humour while raising our children, we are adding richness to their childhood. When our attitude towards their mistakes is not harsh, they are encouraged to take ownership of their actions and develop inner discipline. Our children are learning an important life skill when we role model the strength to deal with stress in a healthy way.
We have a choice... either we could react out of our conditioning or respond in a relaxed manner. Every joyful interaction of ours is building and strengthening our relationship with our children helping them become balanced individuals.
Wouldn’t it be beautiful for our homes to be filled with laughter and harmony?
The writer is a certified parent educator with Parenting Matters, an organisation which empowers parents to build deeper connection in families. To know more go to parentingmatters.in